Names Of Percussion Instruments In Africa 

In Africa, the names of percussion instruments are often identical with a corresponding rhythm and dance. Below you'll find a reference list with links to more information.

Some of these drums and percussion instruments are closely related, but have different names and features depending on the region and tribe they come from:

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  • abang mbre (Nigerian musical pot --> see udu drums)
  • agboba (bass barrel drum of the Ewe --> see Ewe drums)
  • agyegyewa (Ghanaian drum of the Ashanti)
  • akogo (Uganda thumb piano)
  • amadinda (Uganda xylophone)
  • animgbo (Ghanaian thumb piano of the Dagomba)
  • apentemma (Ghanaian drum of the Ashanti)
  • apitua (bell)
  • asafotwene (drum)
  • ashiko 
  • atoke (Ghanaian banana bell)
  • atsimevu (long master drum of the Ewe --> see Ewe drums)
  • atumpan (Ghanaian talking drums of the Ashanti)
  • axatse (Ghanaian gourd rattle of the Ewe)


  • balafon (African xylophone of the Mande people)
  • bata (Nigerian drums of the Yoruba)
  • boma (drum)
  • bougarabou (Senegalese drum)
  • brekete (Ghanaian drum of the Dagomba)


  • castenets
  • caxixi (woven rattle)
  • chirimba (Tanzanian thumb pianos)


  • djabara (Guinean maracas)
  • djembe
  • dun dun (also: dunun, doun doun, djun djun etc.)
  • dondo (Akan talking drum)
  • donno (Dagbani/Gurunsi talking drum)
  • doundounba (largest drum of the dun dun bass drum set)


  • Ewe set (barrel drums of the Ewe tribe in Ghana and Togo)


  • fedoundoun (malinke water drum)
  • fontomfrom (Ghanaian drum)
  • frikwya (Ghanaian bell of the Ewe)


  • gangan (Yoruba talking drum)
  • gankogui (Ghanaian double bell)
  • gita (Guinean calabash shaker)
  • gome (Ghanaian foot drum)
  • gongoma (Guinean thumb piano)
  • grello (castenet)
  • gyil (African xylophone from Ghana)
  • gyilgo (Ghanaian thumb piano of the Gonja people)


  • hosho (shakers of the Shona in Zimbabwe)


  • ikembe (thumb piano from Rwanda and Burundi)
  • ilimba (Tanzanian thumb piano)


  • jembe, jenbe, djembe
  • juju shakers


  • kadongo (thumb pianos from Uganda)
  • kaganu (drum of the Ewe tribe --> see Ewe drums)
  • kalangu (Hausa talking drum)
  • kalimba (modern version of the African thumb piano)
  • kenkeni (the smallest drum of the dun dun bass drum set)
  • kese kese (Guinean woven rattle)
  • kidi (drum of the Ewe tribe --> see Ewe drums)
  • kim kim (NIgerian musical pot --> see udu drums)
  • kono (Ghanaian thumb piano of the Kassena people)
  • kosikas, kashakas, (rattle)
  • kpanlogo (Ghanaian drum of the Ga people)
  • krin (Guinean message drum)
  • kroboto (Ghanaian drum of the Ewe --> see Ewe drums)
  • ksink ksink (djembe shakers)
  • kutiro (Mandinka set of three drums)


  • likembe (African thumb piano from Congo)
  • lunna (Ghanaian talking drum of the Dagbani/Gurunsi)


  • maracas, shekere
  • mbira (thumb piano of Zimbabwe)
  • mpebi & nkrawiri (Ghanaian tribunal twin drums of the Akan)
  • mpintin (drum)


  • ngoma (Central/Southern African type of drum)
  • nkrawiri & mpebi (Ghanaian tribunal twin drums of the Akan)


  • odondo (Gomua talking drum)
  • odumpo (castenet)
  • ogyamma
  • operenten (Ghanaian peg drum)


  • paso (drum)
  • prempremsuah (Ghanaian thumb piano of the Akan people)


  • rattle


  • sabar (SeneGambian drum of the Wolof and Serer tribes)
  • sangban (medium drum of the dun dun bass drum set)
  • sanza (thumb piano)
  • shekere, maracash
  • sikko (Guinean frame drum)
  • sogo (Ghanaian drum of the Ewe tribe --> see Ewe drums)
  • sosso bala (Guinean xylophone)


  • tabla (SeneGambian drum of the Wolof tribe)
  • talking drum
  • tama, tamma (talking drum)
  • tamalin (Ghanaian frame drum)
  • tamanin (talking drum)
  • tigali (bell)
  • timbila (xylophone of Mozambique)
  • tototzi (drum of the Ewe tribe --> see Ewe drums)
  • tabla


  • udu drums (Nigerian musical pot of the Ibo tribe)


  • valimba (traditional xylophone from Mozambique)


  • wassakhoumba (Guinean shakers of the Soussou)
  • water drum



  • yedoundoun (Sosso water drum)