Friday, March 8, 2013

African Drum Project

Cameroonian Dance and Music

Music and dancing are very important parts of the religion and culture of the people of Cameroon.  There are over 200 traditional dances.  They are very choreographed and usually separate the men from the women and sometimes even separate people by social class.  Costumes and masks or other props are sometimes used to add to the drama.  Dance is used as a way of communicating to the spirits and also as a celebration of life, death, birth, adulthood, etc., etc.  I found a few YouTube videos that were fun.  The first shows traditional music and dance and the second was two women dancing who looked like they were really having a good time!   The music is fast and mostly seems to be a combination of rattles, drums and wooden xylophones, called balafons.  It really gets the dancers moving!

We needed a fun art project so we decided to make an African drum.  In Cameroon they would be made from wood and have a leather top.  They might be carved or beaded or painted.  Here at our house they are made out of recycled plastic cups and tape :)

African Drums
For the project you will need:
  • 2 plastic cups per drum
  • masking tape
  • brown shoe polish (optional)
  • markers
1. Glue or tape the two cups together bottom to bottom.
2. Cover open ends of cups with strips of tape and then cover the rest of the "drum" with bits of tape.

3. If you want your drum to look more authentic, rub a small amount of brown shoe polish over the masking tape and let it dry.  This will make it look like wood or leather.  We were too impatient to do this step!!

4. Use the markers to decorate with geometric patterns or other designs.

Have fun playing with your new drum!!

A whole group playing on them would sound great!!

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