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Talking Drum

MO 63.1883
Talking Drum
Maker unknown
20th century
Tanganyika, Africa
Leather, wood
18" x 9"
Leather and wood drum in hourglass shape with a handle attached to the side. The talking drum (also called dondo, adondo, atumpan, or gan gan) is a variable pitch pressure drum. The drum heads at either end of the drum's wooden body are made from hide or fish-skin which is wrapped around a wooden hoop. Usually, leather cords or thongs run the length of the drum's body and are wrapped around both hoops; when you these cords are squeezed under the arm, the drum heads tighten, changing the instrument's pitch. One of the unique features of the drum is its ability to closely imitate the rhythms and intonations of spoken language.
Tanganyika was an East African republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, named after Lake Tanganyika, which formed its western border. In 1946 it became a trust territory of the United Nations, still governed by the United Kingdom, finally gaining independence on December 9, 1961. The "Republic of Tanganyika" was established a year later, June 9, 1962. In 1964, it united with the island of Zanzibar to form Tanzania.
Simon Magawa, Wogogo Tribal Council, Dodoma
National Archives and Records Administration. Office of Presidential Libraries. John F. Kennedy Library. (04/01/1985- )
Donated to the United States
JFKSG-MO-1963-1883