Bands of latticed chip-carving beautifully adorn this djembe drum by Ernestina Oppong Assante. The djembe originates from West Africa - where it is used during voodoo rituals - but it has now been incorporated into the music of neighboring countries.
Oppong combines a passion for carving with music, resulting in traditional instruments with contemporary flair. Tweneboa, a kind of hardwood, provides the body for the drum, its golden tone highlighting the engaging designs. Oppong applies shoe and mansion polish to enhance the wood's smooth, radiant appearance. Iron rod rings are attached to the mouth of the drum and wrapped with cotton to prevent rusting. Through these rings synthetic nylon ropes are double-woven, securely fastening the African pygmy goat skin to the wood.
To play, sit on the edge of a chair with your ankles crossed, the top of the drum fitting neatly between your knees as the base of the drum rests behind your heels. This way the drum is angled away from you. Sitting up straight with your hands resting on the drum's playing surface, your wrists should become flat and you will be in position to create the standard djembe sounds. Djembes produce three basic sounds: bass, tone, and slap.
BASS: With the hand flat and fingers together, place the hand at the dimension of two fists above the center of the playing surface. Allow the hand to strike and bounce back to the original position above the center.
TONE: This is the high-pitched sound produced by striking the top surface nearest the edge with firmly placed fingers.
SLAP: Strike the playing surface's edge first with the heel of your hand, and then allow your fingers to naturally bounce down towards the drum's center.
Ernestina supports and provides for her grandchildren's education.
Ernestina Oppong Asante has received 9 microcredit loans with 0% interest from Kiva and Novica, the first for $1600 and the most recent for $800. Proceeds were used to invest in the purchase of wood and paints, as well as leather for the drums.
This artist uses traditional techniques handed down through the generations and/or creates culturally significant items, helping keep these traditions alive.
The Women's Empowerment badge is awarded to female artisans or artisan groups that are led by women.
Every purchase from this artist has a profound impact on their livelihood and income.