The ancient folks used the skins of killed animals, usually the domesticated ones to make drums, sometimes the skin of wild animals can be used to make drums but the best skins were those of domestic animals especially the cows, goats and ship. Drum making was a very hectic process and it required several weeks if not months of preparation. After an animal is killed, let’s say a cow. The skin is soaked in water for several days then removed, after being allowed to dry for a few minutes, the hairy hairs are scraped off so that only a smooth skin is left behind, the skin is then soaked in water for a few more days before it is removed again to dry, in the meantime, a huge tree trunk is chopped off from a tree then hollowed out to look like a barrel, once done, skilled artisans then carefully sow the skin of the cow onto the hollowed out tree trunk the put out in the sun to dry, it can be smeared with animal oils or whatever the oils that the artisans see fit. This is such that there are not cracks anywhere on the trunk, once done the drum is ready to entertain the community.
Different communities have different rhythms to which they beat their drums. So, it’s this difference in the style, size and pattern of drum beatings that different kinds of communication is passed on to the other members of the community. There are different shapes and sizes of drums that are made, short & wide drums make loud base sounds while long and narrow ones make high pitch sounds. Different styles of drum beatings are used for different occasions, like the
- Planting Seasons
- Harvest Seasons
- welcoming newborns
- wedding ceremony,
- Death and Funeral Ceremonies,
- Warning to your neighbors
- War and strife.
Apart from just the usual roles of providing entertainment to the communities, drums have ended up serving a more useful and wider ranges of purposes in the everyday life of the ancients. And whenever you heard a drumbeat, there was always some kind of news around the corner, be it good or bad, people appreciated the importance of Drums.