How the West African ‘talking drum’ mimics speech patterns of the Yoruba language
The hourglass-shaped dùndún, known by some as the “talking drum,” has been a part of West African music for hundreds of years. Among the Yorùbá people, dùndún drumming is an oral tradition. A study by a musicologist has found that the dùndún replicates tones and patterns of the Yorùbá language and that in certain instances, the instrument is used as a form of language. Marco Werman speaks with Cecilia Durojaye, a musicologist who made these connections. She studies the music of unknown and underrepresented cultures.