A Drummer's Testament:   chapter outlines and links

Volume I Part 2:  Drummers and Drumming in Dagbon   

I-10:  The Work of Drumming

Alhaji Ibrahim's family lines in drumming

1.    introduction to Alhaji Ibrahim's life as a drummer
2.    drumming is from family; Alhaji Ibrahim's drumming from both father (drummer) and father's mother (Palo-Naa line)
3.    Alhaji Ibrahim's father's mother's line:  Bizuŋ through Palo-Naa Dariʒɛɣu
4.    Palo moved from Namɔɣu to Savelugu under Savelugu-Naa Mahami, son of Naa Garba
5.    Palo-Naas:  Dariʒɛɣu, Kosaɣim, Ziŋnaa, Wumbie, Kpɛmahim
6.    story of Palo-Naa Wumbie and Palo-Naa Kpɛmahim
7.    the line of Palo-Naa Wumbie
8.    Alhaji Ibrahim's father's mother's line from Palo-Naa Wumbie
9.    Alhaji Ibrahim's father's father's line from Naa Luro through Boggolana Mahama to Abdulai

Alhaji Ibrahim’s parents

10.    how Alhaji Ibrahim's father Abdulai was caught to become a drummer
11.    Abdulai follows Bukari Kantampara to Voggo and remains there
12.    Alhaji Ibrahim's mother Kaasuwa's line from Naa Luro to her father Sulemana through the chieftaincies of Zoggo, Singa, and Dalun
13.    Alhaji Ibrahim's mother's mother's link to blacksmiths
14.    how family lines mix
15.    how Abdulai got Alhaji Ibrahim's mother as a wife
16.    Sulemana follows Savelugu-Naa Mahami to war; gunpowder in a mortar: "worms die together"

Alhaji Ibrahim’s youth

17.    the children of Abdulai and Kaasuwa; four survived
18.    all are drummers; drumming catches one of Alhaji Ibrahim sister's children
19.    Alhaji Ibrahim grows up in Voggo, helps Alhaji Mumuni look after Abdulai
20.    after Abdulai dies, Alhaji Ibrahim goes to Nanton to live with Nanton Lun-Naa Iddrisu
20.    Alhaji Mumuni in Voggo, left for the South when British conscripted soldiers for World War II; Lun-Zoo-Naa Abukari in Abdulai's house
21.    Abdul-Rahaman leaves Voggo and does not learn drumming well
22.    drummers who do not learn drumming well; "a dry fish cannot be bent"
23.    Alhaji Mumuni's high standard in drumming; his experience in the South
24.    Alhaji Mumuni in Voggo and Savelugu, refused five drumming chieftaincies
25.    Alhaji Ibrahim's early lessons from Nanton Lun-Naa Iddrissu
26.    drumming talks have difference; some are not taught

Senior drummers and drumming in Tamale

27.    Alhaji Ibrahim moves to Tamale and stays with Alhassan Lumbila, Mangulana, and Sheni; Mangulana's name
28.    the friendship between Alhaji Mumuni and Alhaji Adam Mangulana
29.    the friendship between Alhaji Mumuni and Sheni
30.    Alhassan Lumbila, Mangulana, and Sheni's line from Tolon
31.    Alhaji Ibrahim in Tamale:  singing, beating guŋgɔŋ and luŋa
32.    Tamale has many people, more drumming events

Traveling to the South

33.    Alhaji Ibrahim stays in Kintampo; traveling and learning; Gonja and Wangara dances
34.    Alhaji Ibrahim stays in Kumasi; many tribes; learns to beat the dances of Zambarimas, Chembas, Dandawas, Yorubas, Gurumas
35.    drumming for Ashanti women and princes
36.    Alhaji Ibrahim stays in Accra; Mossi dances
37.    Alhaji Ibrahim stays in Takoradi; Wala dances

Patience and learning drumming

38.    Alhaji Ibrahim returns to Tamale; teaching; beating with knowledge
39.    patience and learning wisdom from Nanton Lun-Naa Idrissu and Sheni
40.    Alhaji Ibrahim's reputation for learnedness
41.    in order to learn, make yourself blind and a fool

Alhaji Ibrahim as a young drummer in Tamale; the story of Baakobli

42.    Alhaji Ibrahim's drumming as a young man; following elders to events; guŋgɔŋ and singing; market-day drumming
43.    story of following Baakobli to market
44.    beating praises and beating for horses to dance;
45.    Alhaji Ibrahim is injured by a dancing horse
46.    Baakobli gives gifts and money to Alhaji Ibrahim
47.    Alhaji Ibrahim annoyed about having to share the money; Sheni's advice about patience
48.    Alhaji Ibrahim seeing the benefits of patience
49.    Alhaji Ibrahim's respect and leadership

Differences among Dagbamba drummers; differences between Dagbamba and other drumming

50.    many different types of drumming in Dagbon
51.    differences in knowledge; women drummers' children: "I-don't-want-to-die" drummers
52.    different standards of learnedness in drumming
53.    learning is in the heart (interest)
54.    without the heart, will not learn; with heart can learn even without teaching
55.    Alhaji Ibrahim learned the dances of the tribes because of heart
56.    no tribe beats Dagbamba dances, but Dagbamba drummers beat other tribes' dances
57.    beating luŋa is different from other drums

Alhaji Ibrahim’s learnedness and respect

58.    learning like building a house, needs a strong foundation
59.    Alhaji Ibrahim's path to knowledge from learning and traveling
60.    Alhaji Ibrahim's leadership of drummers in Tamale
61.    Alhaji Ibrahim's craftsmanship in making drums
62.    Alhaji Ibrahim's leadership and respect because of knowledge
63.    example of Wangara funeral at Savelugu
64.    how Alhaji Ibrahim listens and learns
65.    importance of trying to do something well
66.    fast drumming compared to clear drumming
67.    Alhaji Ibrahim's group of drummers the leading Dagbamba drummmers

Differences between guŋgɔŋ and luŋa

68.    importance of luŋa to lead drumming
69.    Alhaji Ibrahim has reached the highest respect among drummers
70.    Alhaji Ibrahim leaves guŋgɔŋ to beat luŋa
71.    differences of guŋgɔn beating; Sheni's son Mohamadu's beating is interesting because he lived in the South
72.    using the left hand in beating guŋgɔŋ to increase the sound; example of Mohamadu's shyness beating guŋgɔn in front of Alhaji Ibrahim
73.    Mangulana's son Fuseini Jɛblin's guŋgɔŋ beating
74.    difference in guŋgɔŋ beating between Alhaji Ibrahim's youth and Jɛblin's time; Taachi drumming
75.    Jɛblin's extent in drumming

Differences between drummers in Dagbon and in the South

76.    drummers learn drumming to different extents
77.    drummers in the South do not know some drumming of Dagbon, like Punyiɣsili
78.    drummers in the South do not know as much about drumming for chiefs
79.    how chiefs dance compared to commoners; changing dances and changing styles
80.    drummers in North know more than drummers in the South; no one knows all of drumming
81.    importance of roaming to learn more
82.    conclusion

I-11:  The Respect of Drumming and How Drumming Started in Dagbon

Respect of drumming begins with learning

1.      introduction to the respect of drumming; drummers closeness to chiefs
2.      Alhaji Ibrahim’s respect is from his learnedness in drumming; learning with seriousness
3.      towns where Alhaji Ibrahim learned drumming:  Voggo, Nanton, Tamale, Kintampo, Kumasi, Accra, Takoradi, Yendi
4.      any work you do, you need to know the work well
5.      to learn drumming, have to learn about the nature of the work of drumming in tradition

Ways drummers show a person’s respect

6.      drummers show a commoner’s relationship to chieftaincy
7.      people want to hear about their grandfathers; drummers know the lines of a person’s family
8.      someone who doesn’t know his grandfathers can be abused as a slave; educated Dagbamba don’t know Dagbon as drummers do
9.      drummers know more about chiefs’ families than chiefs themselves
10.    people can learn about their families from their elders; drummers also know praise-names
11.    drummers show a person his or her respect by showing the family
12.    people can be surprised by drummers’ knowledge
13.    chiefs depend on drummers for their respect
14.    chiefs without drummers are not chiefs
15.    drummers’ knowledge is passed from generation to generation

Origins of drummers:  Bizuŋ and Naa Nyaɣsi

16.    Naa Nyaɣsi’s war against the tindanas; the towns were without chiefs during the time of Nimbu, Naa Gbewaa, and Naa Shitɔbu; Dagbamba at Yɔɣu and Yiwɔɣu
17.    Naa Nyaɣsi’s son, Bizuŋ, the grandfather of all Dagbamba drummers; Bizuŋ’s sadness
18.    Alhaji Ibrahim’s knowledge of these matters from Nanton Lun-Naa Iddrisu, Palo-Naa and Namo-Naa; Nanton Lun-Naa’s seniority; one should learn from someone who has eldership
19.    Nanton Lun-Naa:  Naa Nyaɣsi the father of Bizuŋ from a Guruma woman who died; Bizuŋ learned drumming from his Guruma grandfather, who gave him a broken calabash to lessen his sadness
20.    Bizuŋ beat broken calabash to beg for food
21.    some of Bizuŋ’s brothers and sisters insulted him and some were helping him; his Guruma grandfather made him a giŋgaɣinyɔɣu, a small drum like luŋa
22.    Naa Nyaɣsi gave Bizuŋ to Guruma man to train him in drumming; Bizuŋ said he did not want chieftaincy but would beat and repair family and friendship
23.    sense comes from worries

Origins of Namɔɣu:  Bizuŋ and Naa Zulandi

24.    Naa Nyaɣsi’s son Naa Zulandi becomes Yaa-Naa; Bizuŋ’s older brother eats Zugu; Zugulana Bim biɛ ka wuni gets praise as Dancing Chief (Waa-Naa)
25.    Naa Zulandi gives Namɔɣu to Bizuŋ (Namo-Naa); the meaning of Namɔɣu, sucking the breast of Yaa-Naa
26.    chieftaincy history as stories, proverbs, and names; basis of Samban’ luŋa
27.    how Bizuŋ was given chieftaincy, resembling Yaa-Naa; why Zugulana wears alichɛbba and does not go to Yaa-Naa for cola
28.    Namɔɣu first location at Yɔɣu, near Diari
29.    Bizuŋ’s popularity; wives and children; Bizuŋ teaches his children and grandchildren
30.    first-born of Bizuŋ is Lunʒɛɣu; meaning of Lunʒɛɣu as “red drummer”; elder drummers gave John the name
31.    Bizuŋ’s children and line are the drummers of Dagbon; Namo-Naa called Bizuŋ zuu; Lelbaa, Banchiri, Ashaɣu; Ashaɣu’s line the beginning of Palo in Savelugu: Dariʒɛɣu and Kosaɣim
32.    old drumming talks are in darkness; some drummers fear talking, and others say anything and lie; when such lies are written
33.    summary:  because of Naa Nyaɣsi and Bizuŋ, drummers and chiefs follow one another

Origins of drumming:  the tindanas; guŋgɔŋ and flute

34.    before Naa Nyaɣsi, no lunsi drums; drummers followed tindanas with guŋgɔŋ, yua, and luɣ’ nyini
35.    Nanton Lun-Naa:  seniority of guŋgɔŋ and yua; Namo-Naa’s version
36.    luɣ’ nyini also called luɣ’ yilgu; different from Kambonsi horn and Hausa alijɛɛta; origin of alijɛɛta in Karaga; luɣ’ nyini at Gushegu
37.    yua:  typical flute of northern Ghana; still played by Baamaaya and Jɛra groups, but in some places replaced by white man’s flute
38.    guŋgɔŋ the oldest; bataandana the name of ancient guŋgɔŋ and its drummers; beat and followed tindanas
39.    Alhaji Ibrahim saw bataandana with Nanton Lun-Naa at Damba Festival in Savelugu
40.    description of bataandana guŋgɔŋ at Savelugu; how it was beaten
41.    modern guŋgɔŋ from Hausas and bataandana; bataandana at Yendi and Savelugu; now at Tolon only, maybe
42.    wooden luŋa and gourd drum compared
43.    origin of carved wooden drum from Gurumas and Hausas
44.    seniority of guŋgɔŋ, yua, and luɣ’ nyini; why luŋa is their elder
45.    tindanas and chiefs; guŋgɔŋ for tindanas; no talks between drummers and tindanas

Music of the tindanas and chiefs:   Ʒɛm

46.    Ʒɛm the drumming for tindanas; guŋgɔŋ and yua; Tamale a tindana town
47.    Ʒɛm the first dance of Dagbamba dances; chiefs collected Ʒɛm from tindanas
48.    Ʒɛm beaten for installation of Yaa-Naa; also any chief’s installation or death
49.    how Alhaji Ibrahim learned about Ʒɛm and Baŋgumaŋa from Namo-Naa; the process of greeting and learning
50.    the drum language of Ʒɛm; the dancing of Ʒɛm
51.    guŋgɔŋ and yua in time of tindanas; no drumming names for tindanas or early chiefs
52.    the talks of Ʒɛm and Baŋgumaŋa are important and guarded; Alhaji Ibrahim could be blamed for showing it
53.    drummers in the time of Naa Nyaɣsi and Bizuŋ; at Kambaŋ' Dunoli near Diari and Yiwɔɣu

Relations of respect between drummers and chiefs

54.    Naa Nyaɣsi the grandfather of both chiefs and drummers; chiefs call drummers “my grandfather”; chiefs and drummers are one
55.    a drummer as an old person; an old person does not die; knowledge moves from old person to child
56.    unity of chiefs and drummers
57.    a quarrel between Yaa-Naa and Namo-Naa is a big thing
58.    how Yaa-Naa will beg Namo-Naa if they quarrel
59.    the strength of drummers and the house of Namɔɣu; drummers start beating with “Namɔɣ’ yili mal’ kpiɔŋ kpam!”
60.    formerly drummers did not farm; chiefs gave drummers food
61.    drummers were not sold as slaves
62.    drummers enter a chief’s needing an elder to accompany them; even princes do not do that
63.    respect of drumming; drummers enter everywhere; no chieftaincy without drummers
64.    drummers and respect:  give respect or reduce someone's respect; chiefs and princes have to be on good terms with drummers
65.    the strength of chiefs comes from drummers

The respect of drummers in Dagbon

66.    drummers are respected along with chiefs; everywhere people like drummers, even white people
67.    John has respect in Dagbon because of drumming
68.    respect is an exchange; a person gets respect who respects himself and gives respect to others; drumming is about giving respect

Respect and learning drumming

69.    need for respect to learn drumming and gets respect from it; Alhaji Ibrahim “M’ba Luŋa”
70.    people want drummers to see them and praise them; drummers show their respect
71.    importance of learning from someone who respects drumming; need for patience when learning
72.    drumming was by grandfathers for future generations; drumming a type of work that does not die; a learned person does not die
73.    at Samban’ luŋa, start drumming by praising God and beating proverbs; drummers thank God for old people

I-12:  Drummers and Other Musicians of Dagbon


1.      other musicians of Dagbon; Baaŋa:  anyone who beats
2.      everyone has his or her own position or work in Dagbon

The names of drummers

3.      “noise-makers”:  baaŋa; Monday and Friday:  Punyiɣsili, Biɛɣunaayo, Naa-Nyɛbu
4.      Punyiɣsili:   young drummers overcome shyness and learn singing
5.      Monday and Friday greetings to the chief
6.      Friday (Zumma) dancing at some chiefs’ houses
7.      “people who cause quarrels”; can abuse chief
8.      example:  war; drummer will insult chief or provoke war

Drummers as women

9.      “women”:  follow a chief from town to town
10.    “chief’s wives”:  call chief “my husband”; chief calls “my wife”
11.    Namo-Naa and Yaa-Naa quarrel:  like husband and wife
12.    how Namo-Naa begs Yaa-Naa, accompanied by the chief’s wives
13.    kneel and beat Tiŋ’ kurli
14.    chief’s gifts to Namo-Naa
15.    “Nabalima”:  beg the chief; drummers are forgiven for every offense


16.    Baaŋa a general name for those who beat and sing

Timpana, Akarima, and dalgu

17.    Akarima and timpana; origin from Ashantis and Naa Ziblim Bandamda; not in all towns
18.    drumming story:  origin of Akarima from Naa Bimbiɛɣu
19.    how old talks are; anachronisms in historical stories; example:  Akarima in Naa Luro’s talks
20.    dalgu drum, dal’ ŋmɛra:  Naa Daaturli, also called Naa Dalgu
21.    confusion in drumming talks:  anachronistic use of names and joining of names
22.    joining names is the way drumming is done; not a mistake or fault
23.    Akarima and Naa Luro; comparison of positions of Akarima and dal’ ŋmɛra
24.    use the name of Akarima to describe dalgu

Names in Dagbon

25.    the difficulty of drumming talks; how talks change; new things used to talk about old things
26.    summary of discussion of names
27.    confusion from names:  Naa Dalgu and Naa Daturli are same person
28.    types of Dagbamba names:  Muslim and non-Muslim
29.    proverbs as names, signs as names:  Naa Nyaɣsi’s name
30.    examples of names with meaning:  Bizuŋ, Lelbaa, Naa Tutuɣri, Naa Zokuli, Naa Zaɣli
31.    have to ask to know the reason or meaning of someone’s name; different from proverbs
32.    Naa Niŋmitooni:  story of Naa Zɔlgu, Naapaɣ’ Gaasinaba, and Naa Niŋmitooni
33.    Naa Siɣli’s name:  story of Naa Zaɣli and Naapaɣ’ Golgulana Ziŋnaa
34.    Naa Siɣli’s story:  Golgulana gives birth
35.    Naa Siɣli’s story:  Naa Zaɣli gives him the name “siɣli”; also Andani:  Andaan’ Siɣli
36.    summary of dalgu:  dal’ nyaŋ and dal’ laa


37.    goonji:  fiddle; how it is made; recent popularity; cannot be compared to traditional work from family
38.    goonji started from Naa Ziblim Kulunku; drummers have more respect
39.    comparison of drummers and goonjis
40.    goonji playing not from family; no family door; anyone can become a goonji; zaabia rattle
41.    origin of goonji as strangers from Guruma to Mamprusi to Dagbon during Naa Kulunku’s time
42.    example of drummers’ seniority:  how drummers and goonjis play at chief’s house


43.    jɛnjili:  not inside custom; the trees used to make it
44.    jɛnjili played in the house
45.    comparing the position of jɛnjili in recent times and in tradition
46.    jɛnjili in recent times:  Ramadan and harvesting
47.    jɛnjili not included in talks of custom; examples
48.    jɛnjili songs; compared to drumming work

Mɔɣlo and kuntunji

49.    mɔɣlo and kuntunji:  description of how they are made
50.    Alhaji Mumuni played kuntunji, mɔɣlo, and jɛnjili when young
51.    moɣlo:  an instrument for princes
52.    a drummer who plays mɔɣlo:  Ziong Lun-Naa Issahaku
53.    mɔɣlo:  also included in talks of custom

The greater respect and importance of drumming

54.    Alhaji Ibrahim’s happiness about being a drummer
55.    the respect and work of Dagbamba drummers cannot be compared to other musicians
56.    Dagbamba drummers for Ashanti chief at Adae festivals:  Gingaani, Bandamda; praise from Asantehene
57.    drumming is more important and more respected than other music
58.    drumming is about strength and respect
59.    transition:  next talk about how drums are made

I-13:  How We Make Our Drums and Gungons


1.    hard work to make luŋa and guŋgɔŋ

Luŋa in Dagbon and Asante

2.    Dagbamba drum superior in quality to Ashanti drum (donno)
3.    formerly Ashantis got lunsi from Yaa-Naa; also binda (Mossi calabash drum) and dalgu; gyamadudu, donno
4.    Asantehene gave cola to Yaa-Naa for the drums; no charge
5.    in olden days, no charge; you would go to drum carver and farm for him while he made the drum
6.    after Asantehene’s drums were carved, Yaa-Naa would get skins from chief of butchers and send to Namo-Naa to sew the drums
7.    how Yaa-Naa’s prince would accompany drums to Asantehene; thirty to forty days walk; how Asantehene would receive the drums and give cola
8.    in modern times, Asantehene buys drums; how Alhaji Ibrahim’s brother Sumaani made drums for Asantehene
9.    Alhaji Ibrahim the one selling drums in Dagbon; Ashantis and others from South come to Tamale to buy drums from him. 

Dangers of carving drums

10.    few people carve drums because cutting trees can make people sick; example of Tampion drum carver who became mad
11.    different types of bad trees in Dagbon
12.    karga medicine to protect someone who cuts trees; obtained from kasiɣirba, people who bathe dead bodies; other uses of karga
13.    people who carve drums do not prosper

Cutting trees and carving drums

14.    three trees:  taaŋa (shea), sacrifice of milk; kpalga (violet tree), sacrifice of cowries; siɣirli (cedar mahogany), sacrifice of hen and then carve the wood in bush
15.    nowadays no sacrifices; reason behind the problems
16.    drum from a bad tree can kill a drummer who uses it; drum makers don’t live long; only three in Dagbon, at Tampion
17.    siɣirli the best, very hard, not common; siɣirli drums last long; John’s small drum more than hundred years old
18.    drum-making is hard work; four tools:  axe to cut tree, adze to make hole, cutlass to trim, korgu (curved knife) to carve and scrape; two days to make

Preparing the wood

19.    knife to scrape and smooth the outside and stone to smooth the  mouth
20.    repair holes in wood; formerly used bee’s wax, now use glue and wood dust; shea butter on the wood

Preparing the skin

21.    buy skins from butcher; goat skin is better than sheep; female goat has lighter skin, better sound
22.    skins sometimes difficult to get
23.    use water to soften skins, inside pot until early evening
24.    use korgu to scrape and clean skin, removing any meat; put back into water
25.    soften the skin with ashes and seeds from type of melon (yɔɣli) inside pot until next day; remove skin from pot and remove hair and wash any scent away

Sewing the skin

26.    split and trim reeds from mat; get type of long grass (kpari), in market and also in Dagbon near rivers
27.    make lun’ kuɣra, a ring to seat the head on the drum, by wrapping kpari around the cut reeds
28.    fit skin to ring; lundi’ sherga, the sewing string, how it is made; how the skin is sown; final cleaning

Lacing the heads

29.    the lundihi, the strings that hold the heads; use skin of calf, also bush antelopes (gbɛɣu, walga, kparbua, bambua, saŋkpaliŋ, kɔɣu); some are harder than others
30.    strings from bush animal last long; can use tanned goat skins (red) but are not strong, will dry out and break, not preferred
31.    making the strings:  clean and remove hair, dry, cut thin strip,  soak and roll it; dry it and soften it by rubbing on stone or ceramic; not necessary for goat skin, already soft
32.    finishing the drum:  smooth the mouth, fit the heads, and lace with the strings; tie with leather to seat the heads well; dry overnight

Variations among drums

33.    different skins affect the sound of different drums; from the tree and the wood, also from the carving; male or female, white or black; drum maker has to observe to know which type of skin for any individual drum; sometimes need to search for appropriate skin
34.    differences also from length of drum, length or width of neck between the two bowls, from carving, from the bowl; head is more important; some drums do not sound well
35.    differences from skins; light and thin usually better, but break easily; during dry season, skins become thin and break often; drums sound different in South because the air is not as dry
36.    lundihi affect the drum; spacing of the strings; also can dry out, cannot squeeze the drum; also affected by cold; different sound in different places
37.    olden days drums better craftsmanship than modern drums; drummers prefer older drums; the neck and inside are smoother and wider; sound better
38.    new drums change as wood dries; weak wood warps; if tree is mature, the wood will not shrink; main factor in the sound
39.    skins affect the sound; when drum is beaten for some time, the sound changes; drummer may not hear the sound well; spectator will hear it differently

The drumstick

40.    making lundoli, different trees:  puhiga (tamarind), dazuli (gardenia), kuliŋbinli, nim
41.    use short-handle axe (lehu) to carve sticks; make head first then carve neck
42.    to bend stick, put into boiling water; tie neck with rope and bend and tie
43.    untie rope the next day; carve handle; finish and smooth; make hole to tie leather string from neck to handle
44.    many sticks break when bending; younger trees are better for bending
45.    puhiga best; kuliŋbinli next, but too light; dazuli easy to bend, strong and heavy; nim tree frequently breaks

Sewing guŋgɔŋ

46.    introduction to making guŋgɔŋ; use trunk of tree
47.    needs somewhat thick skin:  male goat, saŋkpalin, gbɛɣu, bambua; kɔɣu too thick; use type of rope (gabga) to seat the skin
48.    two people to sew guŋgɔŋ; skin with hair outward over mouths; secure with rope
49.    guŋgɔŋ strings (gbandaa) made from bush animals or cows; thick
50.    turn skin over rope and use awl to punch holes; as sew the two mouths, you pull the gbandaa strings along rope to seat the skin; gbankuɣra or guŋgɔŋ kuɣra
51.    gbanchirga:  pieces of skin to close the sewing hole and prevent tearing
52.    second person on other side of guŋgɔŋ; sew from one side to another
53.    sew around guŋgɔŋ, then trim excess skin; make hole for string to secure cloth to hang guŋgɔŋ
54.    dry the guŋgɔŋ; scrape or shave the hair; tie chahirga, the small string across mouth that vibrates
55.    gbandarigara:  strips of leather to tie to gbandaa and tighten the mouths
56.    have to tighten guŋgɔŋ before beating it; if it loosens from beating, tighten it again
57.    guŋgɔŋ voora:  pulling the guŋgɔŋ;  if the gbandaa stretch over time, have to go around the guŋgɔŋ and pull them to tighten the skin of the mouth again


58.    transition to how a drum is beaten

I-14:  How a Drum Is Beaten

Basic techniques:  left and right hands

1.    drummers have different ways of holding a drum
2.    using the left arm on the strings
3.    right hand must be quick, but left hand also has to work; on guŋgɔŋ, the left hand must press lightly to work the chahara
4.    the left wrist talks for the heart
5.    the left hand:  differences among drummers in how clearly they can be understood; cool the heart and cool the arm
6.    right hand must be flexible; zambaŋa (cat) medicine
7.    beating too fast is not good; start slowly
8.    right hand (stick) should be a bit fast and left hand slow; help to change the sound

Training:  continuity from teacher to student

9.    drummers have different hands (ways of beating)
10.    someone’s beating resembles the one who taught him
11.    need patience to progress far and correctly in drumming; contrast two guŋgɔŋ beaters:  Alhassan Ibrahim and Abdulai (Seidu) the Boxer
12.    need patience both to teach properly and to learn

Foundation:  take a gradual approach to teaching

13.    teaching should be gradual, step by step
14.    John’s beating; John should use experience or learning to overcome lack of flexibility in his wrist
15.    John trying to learn many dances too quickly; Alhaji Ibrahim would have wanted to teach only three dances as a foundation
16.    drumming compared to reading; use the basic foundation to learn other dances quickly
17.    after learning, the increase in styles (variations) comes from experience

Adding to experience by listening and watching

18.    learning drumming comes with time, if the drummer wants to learn
19.    learn, listen to others, learn their style
20.    to learn, join lumbɔbli (supporting drums) and listen to the lead drum or the guŋgɔŋ
21.    cannot join other drummers if don’t know what to beat
22.    therefore, join the lumbɔbli and listen to hear styles
23.    when you start learning, your drumming seems weak because you don’t know much; need to add knowledge; John should continue his practices

Using a good drum to learn

24.    one can know a good drummer from the sound of the drum
25.    use a good drum to teach; help in learning; if use a bad drum, one cannot hear the sound well

Variations and styles

26.    styles and ways of beating can make one dance seem to be different dances
27.    comparing Alhaji Ibrahim’s beating to Adam Iddi (Adambila); Adam can beat fast to make the dance hot, but Alhaji is better
28.    Adam has not traveled or learned many styles; his drumming is one-sided
29.    if know many types of dance-drumming and praise-drumming, can change to play differently; Adam plays fast and hard, only good for some times

Training:  correcting a student

30.    one beats the way one has learned
31.    only a senior drummer will correct a drummer who makes mistakes
32.    some drummers accept correction; others do not

Training:  teacher needs respect

33.    one needs a good teacher; example:  Arts Council and schools don’t pay well and cannot get good teachers
34.    the schools are not serious that the students learn properly

Comparing the drumming of young people and older people

35.    students beat and dance too fast and too roughly
36.    old people who know how to dance do it smoothly
37.    drummers beat and follow the feet of the dancer
38.    young people overdo the dance and rush

Drumming should follow the dance and the dancer

39.    drumming has different ways; have to follow the dancers
40.    different drumming styles come from different dancers; villagers, men, women; townspeople have more changes
41.    differences between townsperson and villager; village drummers beat better for village dancers
42.    town drummers are better because they beat more often; more events; helps for remembering
43.    at a gathering, everyone dances, even those who don't know how; one can see the ones who dance better

Changes in drumming to follow dancers:  coolness and “showing oneself”

44.    drumming styles:  some are talking and some are according to the specific dance; older drummers change styles slowly, "curve" the dance
45.    social gathering:  individual dances (like Naɣbiɛɣu or Naanigoo); drummers follow personal choices
46.    drummer should not change too much or mix dances; have to beat according to the dancer
47.    changing from one dance to another is different from changing styles in one dance
48.    dancers shouldn't dance too many dances
49.    different styles inside one dance; addition, or increase
50.    adding style by showing oneself; add personal expression; example:  Nantoo Nimdi
51.    sometimes need to beat hard to make the drumming strong for the dancers
52.    sometimes need to beat coolly
53.    whether cool or strong, drumming has to follow the dancing; beating with sense; older drummers are better because of experience
54.    differences:  villagers don't change much, students try to change too much; changes should be clear
55.    young drummers are not cool

Example:  Takai

56.    Takai should be danced coolly, slowly, and smoothly
57.    Takai:  play without changing until dancers make full circle and knock the iron rods
58.    drummers wait to change; follow the dancers' sticks
59.    the changes of styles have to follow one another and match the dancers' movements

Following the dancers

60.    drummers know individual dancers and can drum to fit his or her dance
61.    with new dancer, change drumming until find styles that fit; drumming compared to having sex

Changing styles:  listening, continuity and resemblance

62.    best drumming:  follows dancers and curves the beating; changes should follow clearly
63.    successive styles should resemble and follow one another
64.    advice to John:  to improve, listen to the current style to get ideas for changing
65.    how some styles from different dances resemble each other; have to know differences; example:  Takai and Kondalia
66.    adding proverbs or names to fit the beating of the dance; how to introduce the styles clearly
67.    respect the drumming; if a current style sounds nice, can continue to beat it

Knowledge and patience in drumming

68.    people respect John's drumming because he doesn't make mistakes
69.    experience:  clear sound, beat correctly, use patience with styles, avoid fatigue with knowledge
70.    changing:  don't think to choose from repertoire of knowledge instead should listen and find resemblance
71.    changing:  don't change too quickly
72.    drumming proverbs that serve as advice to John
73.    health and patience are key to anyone's achievements
74.    example:  cleaning the drum strings (lundihi); importance of patience
75.    better to travel and actually learn something
76.    Alhaji Ibrahim has seen John's patience