Tama (Serere, Wolof, Mandinka, Bambara) gangan, dumdum (Yoruba) kalangu (Hausa, Songhai) odondo (Akan), lunna (Dagomba) karangou or kalangou, also called the “talking drum” is an Instrument percussion family membranophones native to West Africa. Similar instruments exist in India (Huruk) and Japan (ōtsuzumi).
In the history of Senegal and Gambia, Tama was one of the musical instruments used in Serere tradition “woong” (“dance of future circumcised,” also called “xaat” in Serere, where he . in the religious connotations xaat tradition, tama consists of a set of four drums : Perngel, Lamb, Qiin and Tama.
From the historical point of view, the tama (as Serere junjung), was beaten by griots Senegambian kings in particular circumstances, for example when the rulers wanted to meet their subjects, or as a call to arms during the wars, or as of martyrdom, as was the case in the chaos of Tahompa and battle Naoudourou, where the defeated Sérères committed suicide rather than be conquered by Muslim forces or forced to submit to Islam. If suicide is allowed in the religion Serere, it must, however, comply with the “principle of Jom.” Jom the word means “honor” in Serere.
It is a wooden hourglass drum of 60 cm long and 20 cm in diameter with double membrane, variable voltage. The skins are maintained through hoops, but they are granted and strained through a string lacing.
He comes from North Africa and appeared in the eleventh century
The sound produced by a tama can be regulated very finely, to the point that they say he speaks. Tama player places the instrument under his arm and hits him with a curved stick in different ways by varying the pressure on the strings that tend the skin, causing complex sounds. This sonic complexity is similar to some African tonal languages. The richness of this mode of communication was highlighted by John F. Carrington (in), an English missionary who learned the kele (en). He wrote several books on the issue Talking drums of Africa in 1949.
The tama is used mainly in Mali, in the Mbalax music in Senegal as well as Nigeria. It is one of the oldest instruments used by griots.African villages have used Tamas as telegraphic communication medium for centuries. Interesting messages were repeated and relayed to nearby villages. European explorers were surprised to discover that the announcement of their coming and their intentions were transmitted through the forest ahead of their arrival. An African message can be transmitted at the speed of 160 km / h9. Under ideal conditions, the sound can be heard from 5 to 11 km.