Drums are the main instrument you’ll experience in a drumming circle. Here are just a few types of drums you may see. Go ahead and try to say some of the names out loud-they are as fun to say as they are to play!


DjembeOriginating from West Africa, the djembe is an hourglass-shaped drum typically used by a master drummer as a medicine drum. It is thought that the deep, resonant bass tone, the vibrant open tone, and the resounding crack of the slap tone have the power to invoke spirits and heal the ailing. The three basic tones are:

  • Bass (Gun / Dun)
  • Tone or Open (Go / Do)
  • Slap (Pa / Ta)

Djun Djun

Djun DjunThe djun djun is a West African bass drum. Oftentimes played three at a time, each with its own rhythm, the djun djun acts as the foundation for the ensemble. We use djun djuns using the same empty-hand techniques as the djembe in our circles. However, we also have some mallets available.

Frame Drum

Frame DrumThe frame drum is one of the oldest and most versatile instruments. They are very simple in construction (a simple shallow wood frame with a skin stretched across it), and while typically they are round, many times you can find them rectangular or even octagonal. They use two basic tones:

  • Bass (Doum)
  • Slap (Tek)


TambourineTake your frame drum, add some jingles, and now you have an instrument that is both a drum and a shaker. These are very popular in our drum circles for sure, and they have a legacy dating back into Biblical times!

Sound Shapes

Remo Sound ShapesA new take on frame drums, Remo Sound Shapes are very thin, very durable frame drums that you can play with your hand or with a small beater. They are definitely one of the favorites at any of our drumming circles!