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The Drummers Of Burundi


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The Royal Drummers of Burundi is a percussion ensemble from Burundi. Their performances are a part of ceremonies such as births, funerals, and coronations of mwami (Kings). Drums (called karyenda) are sacred in Burundi, and represent the mwami, fertility and regeneration. The Royal Drummers use drums made from hollowed tree trunks covered with animal skins. In addition to the central drum, called Inkiranya, there are Amashako drums which provide a continuous beat, and Ibishikiso drums, which follow the rhythm established by the Inkiranya.

The performance of the Royal Drummers has been the same for centuries, and their techniques and traditions are passed down from father to son. The members of the ensemble take turns playing the Inkiranya, dancing, resting, and playing the other drums, rotating throughout the show without interruptions. At the start of their performance, the drummers enter balancing the heavy drums on their heads and singing and playing. There are some extra members who carry ornamental spears and shields and lead the procession with their dance. They then perform a series of rhythms, some accompanied by song, and exit the stage the same way, carrying the drums on their heads and playing.

Beginning in the 1960s, the Drummers have toured the world. They have recorded three albums - Batimbo (Musiques Et Chants) in 1991, Live at Real World in 1993 and The Master Drummers of Burundi in 1994.


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  • BJBooth

    20, count them, 20 drummers. Wow. Try sleeping thru this number....

    5 Oct 2012 Reply
  • sparklecrunch

    Oh yeah and YAY!!!!! this is just wonderful - total active meditation and such joy and energy ;0

    4 May 2010 Reply

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