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Instruments


Drums

Traditional Congolese musicians use a variety of drums. In the U.S., they use mostly the ngoma (right) and conga (left). The type of ngoma shown in this picture is n’senga, named for the tree used to make both these drums and canoes. N’senga is very light enabling the drummer to dance while drumming. Sitting on top of it are a pair of nsakalas, rattles worn on the wrists. The skins on ngomas are traditionally tacked to the drum using sharp wooden slivers and the drums are tuned by heating the head next to a fire. However, they can be modified with various tuning systems. Other instruments include the likembe (thumb piano), ngongi (bell), nkalou (shekere type rattle) and balophone (like a wooden xylophone) with a different tuning system from the West African one.