Anthropomorphic Drum

   Drum by the Zaramo people in Tanzania
  Carved wood and animal hide drum by the Zaramo people in Tanzania, East Africa

If you can imagine hearing the first beats of music manufactured by humankind, you would find yourself in Africa, the cradle of civilization. There, the very first musician took it upon him or herself to start drumming rhythmically on some hollow surface. Neither formal musical instruments nor adoring audiences were part of the landscape. Instead, there was the palm of someone’s hand – or perhaps a stick – wielded by a person with an irrepressible urge to communicate via rhythm and sound. In the countless millennia that have passed since then, has anything really changed?

African anthropomorphic drum  
Anthropomorphic drum carved to resemble the female form  

This week’s New Arrival features a unique drum crafted by the Zaramo People in Tanzania, East Africa, perhaps the very place where music began. The Zaramo, along with their neighboring tribes, have a long history of drumming. They use the instrument to make music, but also to communicate from village to village with a sort of tribal Morse code. Whack, tap, thump; it might have been man’s first language. It is also the language spoken by this drum. What does its female form have to say when it speaks? Perhaps it’s a reminder that the need to communicate has never really disappeared.  

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Part of a much larger collection of Part of a much larger collection of authenitc African art