Lemba drum Bakongo

Spirit drum `nkonko di Lemba´ Bakongo - possibly Woyo

Marc Leo Felix explained:
„This diviner´s gong is not old, it is ancient and could be even older than we think, it might be centuries old – not only because the wood is totally demineralized and dessicated but also because of the numerous overlapping layers of patina which, on an object of this kind take literally centuries to build up. The strictness of the design is also witness to its antiquity."

Old Missionary collection
Marc Leo Felix

„The nkonko was used in the Lower Congo during the lemba cult, by the master-cutter in the nkanda circumcision ceremony, by the healer or nganga who plays it during the healing ritual, and also during the ceremonies of secret societies. In addition, one observer notes that this drum is played as an accompaniment to the circle dancing by the women of Mayombe; possibly a ritual. He says that the small slit-drum is attached to the back, on the hips of each dancer and is played with a stick by the woman who follows in the dance." Excerpt from: © KMMA http://music.africamuseum.be

„A nganga Lemba (priest of Lemba) would play such a nkonko while performing his role as grand initiator in the Lemba rite.
It is said that the number of nkonko at a given ceremony depends on how many persons are being initiated.
Each initiate is accompanied by his personal initiator, and none can enter the Lemba circle without a nkonko to strike."
Excerpt from: Robert Farris Thompson - Body and Voice: Kongo figurative musical instruments.