We were delighted to welcome Fanuel to our assembly this morning.  He explained that he was from Zimbabwe and that he had brought djembe drums.  The djembe is one of Africa’s best known instruments.  We learnt that it can create a low sound (boom) and a high sound (cha). These sounds are created by striking different areas of the djembe skin with the hands: boom in the centre and cha on the rim.

We then celebrated our birthday’s by dancing along to this catchy tune.  We saw some superb moves!

Year 4 and Year 5 were lucky enough to have a follow-up workshop after the assembly.  We learnt about this goblet-shaped drum which is traditionally carved from a single piece of African hardwood and topped with an animal skin (our were goat) as a drumhead. We learnt why people traditionally play djembe drums and how they are an important part of African culture and heritage.  We also learnt that it is important to be clear about our geographical language: Zimbabwe is in the south of the continent of Africa – it is not in South Africa!

Before we embarked on our djembe playing, we learnt about the mbira (or thumb piano) which is used by the Shona people of Zimbabwe, and consists of 22 to 28 metal keys.  Although the metal keys were originally smelted directly from rock containing iron ore, now they are made of steel from bed springs, bicycle spokes, car seat springs, and other recycled or new steel materials.

We played three different rhythms on our djembe’s and finished with a challenging rhythm, memory and reaction game!


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