Instruments

Wolof Tabala Khine Sabar M’bung M’bung Sabar N’der Sabar N’der Lambe Talmbat Tama

Embark on a rhythmic journey through Senegal’s rich musical tapestry, where each beat of the Tabala and Sabar drums resonates with centuries of tradition and spiritual significance.

Wolof Tabala

From its origins in Baghdad in the early 12th century to its development in Senegal in the 18th century, devotees have played Tabala drums and chanted beans to their rhythms to evoke the presence of God. Senegal has incorporated converts of traditional Wolof rhythms from the Wolof people into Qadiriya worship, to satisfy their tastes and convey Qadiriya messages in the Wolof language. Tabala Wolof is still a common ritual drum, played in continuous rhythms and tuned to inspire ecstatic chants during blessings or ceremonial events.

On the left, seven of our percussionists play traditional Tabala drums. Originally existing tables claim to be the drum that welcomed you to the Prophet Muhammad’s home. Tabala is still used in Senegalese culture as a ceremonial drum, employed in various rituals to celebrate the Prophet. Although there are only four types/variations of Tabala, ten have been created for the show’s choreography.

Khine and Sabar

Khine: Khine stands as the pinnacle of spiritual resonance among Senegalese Sabar drums, its significance deeply rooted in tradition. Originally serving as a vital communication tool between villages, Khine distinguishes itself with its shorter stature yet wider circumference, symbolizing unity within diversity.

Sabar: The Sabar ensemble, a testament to Senegal’s musical heritage, comprises seven distinct drums, including the illustrious Khine. Crafted from shaved goat skin and a blend of three woods, these drums resonate with a melodic precision, each beat echoing centuries of cultural significance. Played with Galan, a slender stick, they once served as the lifeblood of communication among Senegal’s mountainous villages, and even found themselves echoing tunes for dignitaries like U.S. President George W. Bush during his visit in 2006.

M’bung M’bung

M’bung M’bung is the main drum for playing the basic sabarrymer. It is the first drum for percussionists to learn as it sets the defining rhythm for all Sabar drums.

Tama

Often regarded as the “talking” drum of the ensemble, the small hourglass-shaped Tama resembles larger talking drums from many West African countries and is typically used to play the group’s more complex melodic rhythms.

“These instruments create a bad omen and are offensive to Muslims, a belief not shared by Laye Ananas and the group, as there is no law in the Quran stating that this should be offensive. The instruments are played together during the show to enrich their choreography.”

Sabar N’der,Lambé, Talmbat and Gorong Yeguel

Sabar N’der is often regarded as the main drum, the leader of the ensemble, as the drum that sets the frame rhythm and sound for the other drums. It is the highest drum; slim and open at the bottom, and usually the first solo drum.

Lambe (sometimes spelled Lamba) is a heavy, closed-bottom, wide-circumference, barrel-shaped bass drum. It is often called Thiol. It is the lowest pitch and is considered the grandfather of all Sabar drums in Senegal.

Talbat resembles Lambe, albeit with a narrower barrel shape. It is considered a tenor drum. Sometimes, Talmbat is referred to as Gorong Talmbat. It has its rhythms as well.

The newest addition to the Sabar Ensemble, Gorong Yeguel is aesthetically similar to Lambe with a closed bottom. It functions similarly to Sabar N’der, with an equally high piercing sound.

Uncover the vibrant heritage of Lions of Africa. Explore the cultural richness of Senegal through captivating performances and unique artistic expressions. Be inspired by our cultural odyssey.

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