Drum, mid 20th century


“Well, wherever Drum may be, I’ll go get it to play at your funeral. […] I’ve heard it said that the thing known as Drum is a very important thing for us Maroons.” (from a Maroon folktale)

For Maroon peoples, it is hard to imagine a time when drumming did not exist. In these communities of descendants of enslaved Africans who escaped into the heavily forested interior of Suriname, drums accompany dances and funerals, signal messages to neighboring villages, invoke important ancestors, and “speak” proverbs at council meetings. The shape of the drum and its surface decorations are influenced by African traditions that crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and also betray interactions with Native Americans and Europeans.

Accession Number
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