Analysis Of A Guide to the Jembe Article: [Essay Example], 913 words GradesFixer

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Analysis Of A Guide to the Jembe Article

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The rise in the use of the musical instruments dates back many years ago in the world of art with contributions of different cultures playing a significant role in the development of the instruments. One of the cultures that have played a significant role in the development of musical art and musical instruments in the modern world is the African culture. Development of musical instruments dates back many years ago in African society during the pre-colonial periods when the societies were ruled by kings. Integration of cultures has continually led to the integration of the cultural instruments played by different communities. In this context, some of the instruments developed in some societies are widely being used in the modern world of music. For instance, the guitars, pianos, and xylophone have distinct places of origin but are part of the current world of music. This paper analyzes the input of the African musical art and musical instruments in the modern world of music while still analyzing the Jembe instrument that originated from West Africa as noted by Eric Charry in his essay “A Guide to the Jembe ”.


The article, “A Guide to the Jembe,” discusses how the use of a musical instrument by the name Jembe is continuously becoming part of the modern music in the world. Jembe started as a musical instrument used by a small number of musicians in African music and has developed to be recognized by a wide number of people in the world. From the 1980s, the use of the instrument has taken unprecedented interest internationally with even music CD recordings being produced using the instrument. The international community became drawn to the musical instrument after the death of the Guinean President Sekou Toure, whose patronage of the community’s arts alienated the international community from accessing the arts of the society. Analysis of the use and origin of the musical instrument have helped in the integration of different communities in the world of cultures. Traditional ethnic groups of Maninka, Susu, and Bamana originally used Jembe .

Movements of people in West Africa led to the explosion of the multicultural use of musical instruments such as Jembe that was only available in Guinea and Mali societies. Changes in settlements and adoption of the musical instruments by other people speaking different languages have led to change of names of the instruments such as from Jembe in Maninka to Djembe in French. Dances and music rhythms that accompany the use of Jembe originate from different cultures making the musical instrument an international art. Charry notes that the use of Jembe musical instrument requires much practice, indicating how the traditional African music helped develop exotic musical instruments. Video performance of Les Ballets Africains in 1991 is an example of how jembe continues to be used in modern music art. The highlights indicate just how traditional African art makes building blocks of contemporary world music art and musical instruments2.


Music and musical instruments have been part of the life of the African people for centuries and America may be referred to as the only spectator. Nick Nesbit in his writing, “African Music, Ideology, and Utopia,” described the African art music as a conscious and highly elaborate form about its influence on the Europe’s music. The complicated forms that the musical instruments from the Western music are much different from the traditional African music. In this context, the elaborate and conscious African instruments form a large basis of musical art in the modern world. Musicians who are unable to use the complex Western musical instruments borrow on the traditional African instruments such as the jembe. The traditional changes in the political and historic Africa music and musical instruments helped change the society. To a large extent, the use of musical instruments in the traditional African societies have rapidly been influenced by integration with other cultures.

Use of drums and other traditional African instruments is becoming part of the modern music world practice given the rising interests of the musicians in the world. Lawrence-McIntyre notes that traditional ceremonies were usually celebrated using music making music one of the major sources of entertainment and rituals in the African societies . Colonization of Africa could have affected the influence of music in the ceremonies because of changes in the society, but the integration has led to an expansive internationalization of the musical art of the Africans. As Eric Charry notes that the movement and migration of different communities in the societies led to increased and expansion of the music art of jembe to the world levels, many other instruments originally used by the Africans are now used in modern music .


Music will continue to change over the next few years as more musicians continue to appreciate the role of the traditional instruments and art in the world. Further, the role of the traditional musical art in the modern world cannot be underestimated. Although the origins of many musical instruments in Africa were out of cultural practices and political system of the people, the integration of other societies that continue to make changes in the use of the instruments. Jembe is an example of the many instruments that originates from traditional African societies. This paper has shown the input of the African musical art and musical instruments in the modern world of music while still analyzing the Jembe instrument that originated from West Africa as noted by Eric Charry in his essay “A Guide to the Jembe.”

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