The Ngoma is the traditional musical rhythm
of East Africa. It has a long and fascinating history and
over centuries was the source of communication between a king
and his people.
The BUDAP drum is a handcrafted instrument.
It is made from a hollow wooden frame with cow skin placed
on the top and bottom of the drum and tightened to ensure
the best quality sound.
To see how the drums are made you can take
a virtual tour
of our workshop.
Before Tanzanian independance, the Buhaya
region consisted of 8 kingdoms: Kiamtwara, Bugabo, Kiziba,
Missenyi, Karagwe, Ihangiro, Kianja and Bukara. Each king
would receive a spear and a ngoma given to him by his people
which symbolized the power of the king. The king would use
this ngoma to talk with his people. The different sounds of
the ngoma communicated different meanings: war, diseases,
bad weather, attacks from surrounding kings, preparing the
farms for a new season, hunting or when somebody died. To
ensure the safety of his people in the rural area of the kingdom,
the king would send his son with a little ngoma to send a
message to his people. This ngoma represented the kings power
would be protected in a secret place by a special guard. During
the rein of the king, if the drum was stolen by another kingdom,
the king would loss his power and be forced to join another
The ngoma is used for celebrations, dance
and official cermonies. During a wedding, for example, the
ngoma marks the start of the celebration. The brother of the
bride strikes the ngoma at the bridegroomís home to mark his
sisterís acceptance to get married. Returning to his home
he also strikes the ngoma to mark the start of the celebrations.
Different sizes of the Ngoma drum
are used to produce different sounds or tones like the bass,
the open sound which is a loud sharp sound and the slap sound
which is a dead but sharp sound too. The ngoma is sounded
by striking with sticks or hands. When you play the drum you
need to relax your hands and fingers. Then hold your fingers
close together and strike the top of the drum. You must
not hit the drum too hard. Once you have hit the drum you
must let your hands bounce off the top of the drum head and
allow the drum to resonate.