The role of the drummer in Akan society


  • J.H. Nketia University College of the Gold Coast, Achimota



Drum -- Performance -- Gold Coast, Akan (African people) -- Music -- History and criticism, Drum language, Talking drum -- Gold Coast, Drum -- Performance -- History and criticism


Drumming is widely enjoyed in all Akan communities of the Gold Coast, but unlike singing, the performers are fewer than might be expected, for the art of drumming requires skill and perfection which only a few attain. Moreover opportunities of drumming and learning to drum are not open to all. In social life all the important forms of drumming are carried on by individuals or groups of individuals selected from the male section of various Akan communities. Women do not drum as a rule, first because drumming is strenuous, and second because in the past it was thought that a woman might defile the drums, particularly those of the state, since some of the important drums, like other things, were not to be touched by a woman in her monthly period. The only drums that women were allowed to play and still do play are the donna drums which are used during the celebration of puberty rites for girls.

Author Biography

J.H. Nketia, University College of the Gold Coast, Achimota

Lecturer in the Department of Sociology,




How to Cite

Nketia, J.H. 1954. “The Role of the Drummer in Akan Society”. African Music : Journal of the International Library of African Music 1 (1):34-43.