How West African drummers use their instruments to speak

Listen Now
9min 48sec

Photo: CBAFThousands of different languages and dialects, each distinct to its locality, exist in Africa. The continent’s indigenous music reflects the linguistic diversity.

Stephan Griffin, music director of the Umoja Dance Company, a drum and dance collective in Denver, says the tonal qualities of the drums his group plays reflect the region's many ways of speaking.

The ensemble uses two sets of drums native to West Africa -- the djembe and djun djun -- to cultivate this musical speech.