Tetela slit drum Congo

Tetela / Batetela slit drum Congo
Three types of drums are used by the Batetela, a Bantu tribe situated between the Lomami and the Sankuru rivers in the Kasai Province of central Belgian Congo. The ngomo skin drum is used for dancing, usually accompanying the lukumbi, the six-toned slit drum. The ekuli, a small cylindrical two-toned drum, formerly used to signal victory in battle, is now used to call people to church and classes. The lukumbi is the most interesting and intricate of the three, and constitutes a highly developed poetic and musical art form as well as a means of communication.
Dorothy R. Gilbert
The Lukumbi: a six-toned slit drum of the Batetela

„The Batetela tribe are great drummers. Their drum is cut out of a single piece of wood and gives six different sounds according to the place where it is hit with the rubber-coated drum stick. It is used for signaling and a conventional syllabic alphabet enables the primitive telegraph operator to transmit any message to a distance of several miles. A chief always travels with his drummer and his messages transmitted from village to village will keep him in constant contact with his home."
E. Torday - The New Congo Collection
Detached from The Museum Journal, University of Pennsylvania Museum, v. 4, no. 1913

"This type of slit drum is found in a large area of the Congo: Central Basin, Maniema, Kasai, Katanga, Kivu and Kwango, and is called by several names (lukumbi, nkumvi). The slit drum is placed either on the ground or carried around on the player’s shoulder by a strong rope while playing. Besides functioning as a signal instrument, the trapezoidal slit drum is also frequently incorporated into ensembles for entertainment music, where its deep tones make it ideal for a rhythmic bass. Playing the slit drum remains the privilege of certain people in the village who are trained to do so. Not only must they know how to signal messages but must also be able to play sufficiently well and this is not a skill that everyone can acquire. This means that the learner drummer must first be thoroughly trained by an established drummer, whose place he will later take. Not everyone can play a slit drum, but virtually everyone understands the signal language." Copyright © Royal Museum for Central Africa ('RMCA'), 2018. All rights reserved. excerpt from the website:http://music.africamuseum.be/instruments/english/congo%20drc/bakpekpe.html

Die Schlitztrommel ist das wichtigste Signalinstrument in Zentralafrika und kann zur Nachrichtenübermittlung (Sprechtrommeln) verwendet werden. Die beiden Wandungen der Trommel sind unterschiedlich dick und erzeugen beim Anschlagen zwei unterschiedliche Töne. Sprachmelodie und Sprachrhythmus können so von Spezialisten auf das Instrument übertragen werden.