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Talking Drums

Iya-Ilu - (7" x 17") or (8" x 18")This drum hails from the southern part of Nigeria and is the mother of the talking drums. It is the largest drum in the ensemble and produces the deepest, most bass oriented sound of all the Talking Drums. This drum is most commonly used in Yoruba marriage ceremonies. The chairman of the occasion will sing songs during the introductory ceremony while being accompanied by the Iya drummer. It is also played in combination with other instruments and other Talking drums. Sometimes Iya drums are played in a king's palace in the morning to please and great the king with praises.

 Talking drums are also used in burial ceremonies and social gatherings. Sometimes at parties, guests will sing along with the Talking drums. The Iya-Ilu player will "talk" with his drum and the guests will sing whatever the drum says.

Adama - (5 1/2" x 12")  This is drum is the middle sized drum in the Talking drum ensemble. This drum is easier to master than the Iya-Ilu. It is often found in church choirs and is played during leisure time. Though the Iya-Ilu is traditionally used as the lead drum, the Adama is sometimes used in this role as well.

Omele - (4" x 9") This drum is the smallest of the Talking drums and is used to back up the Adama and Iya-Ilu as a sort of timekeeper. It is the easiest of the Talking drums to play and is sometimes played by small children (as a toy), or used as a decoration in the home.

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Last modified: Sunday, July 09, 2006
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