Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Videos Of Burundi Drummers (Including A Burundi Women's Drum Group)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases examples of performances by Burundi drummers. One video of a Burundi women's drum group is included among these examples. Information about Burundi is included in this post (in the summary for Example #6). Information about Burundi drumming traditions is also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

These videos are presented in chronological order with the videos with the oldest dates given first.

Example #1: Sebas with Tambourines from Burundi, Rukinzo Legacy

elsebasM Uploaded on Aug 13, 2009

My visit to Burundi where I took lessons of traditional Burundian Tambourine percussion.
"Tambourine" here means "drums".
Here's some information about Rukinzo Legacy from
"The members of the group that traveled around the world as "the Drummers of Burundi" varied from trip to trip. Just before their recording session in Japan, the 13 musicians on this album (under the direction of Leonce Ngabo) chose the name Rukinzo Legacy to distinguish themselves from similar groups. However, the listener should be aware that this music is less the provenance of certain individuals than an expression of Burundian culture that has been passed down over the years.

The disc consists of a single piece, "Ingoma Z-Uburundi," lasting almost an hour and filled with wonderful rhythms and incantations. The drums are divided into higher- and lower-range instruments, but it is the thick, rich sound of that nether-region percussion that predominates. The rhythms are not as light and intricate as those found, say, in West African (Ghanaian) music. Rather, they are muscular, heavy without becoming leaden, and immensely powerful. They churn and roll along as though pitching on a rough sea in a bewildering series of patterns, always augmented by the shouts and songs of the drummers. If there is a transcultural analogy, it might be to the Korean traditional drum squads such as SamulNori; this music has a similar power and breadth. The same general "tone" is maintained throughout the performance. While some Western listeners may find this lack of overt variety tiresome, others will surely revel in the ongoing rush of percussion as though immersed in a cascading stream. Highly recommended for all fans of traditional African music. ~ Brian Olewnick

Recording information: 08/26/1994."
This quote was reformatted for this post for reading clarity.

Example #2: Maîtres Tambours du Burundi

Chaîne de batucboy Uploaded on Jul 30, 2010

Les Maîtres Tambours du Burundi au Parc de La Villette le 25/07/2010
In response to the question “Where was this performance?”, a commenter wrote “Paris”.
"Tambours" = drums

Example #3: Women Burundi Drummers

Bruce Baker Uploaded on Aug 17, 2011

The Female Burundian Drummers rehearse in a parking lot. I didn't know there were women Drummers until I saw them here. Lot's of people gathered around to see the show! Recorded in Bujumbura, Burundi in August of 2011
Here are four selected comments from the video's discussion thread:
BrownSkinn1, 2012
"Beautiful!!!! What that mean when they take the drum stick and circle their head? I see the men do that too."

Bruce Baker, 2012
"I don't have any idea why they circle their necks like that. BrownSkinn1, you're right, the men do it as well. But I've yet to figure out the meaning. I should be in Burundi later this year, and I'll try to find out."

Mitch Labuda, 2012 in reply to Bruce Baker
"Perhaps, taking good thoughts and prayers and sharing with the drum, which is considered sacred"

sisterplanet, 2013
"Thanks for this, I didn't know there were female drummers! I saw them at the first WOMAD festival in the UK in 1982...fantastic!"

Example #4: #KenyaAt50: The Rushitama Karienda Burundi drummers

NTV Kenya Published on Dec 12, 2013


Example #5: AFH127 - The Drummers of Burundi

Afrikafestival Hertme, Published on Jan 14, 2014

Considered as one of the best percussion ensembles on this planet, Burundi's top
drummers have been touring the world since the 1960s. Their vibrant power and
precision on sixteen drums originally accompanied kings of this central African

At home, their music is considered sacred and is linked to regeneration and
fertility. But the heart-stopping rhythms have crossed social and cultural barriers
worldwide. Spectators at their concerts rarely remain indifferent to the complex and
compelling sounds and dance the musicians create.
Here, this centuries-old group, who play huge ceremonial drums with heavy
sticks and a staggering force and precision, unleash their thunderous, ritual-charged
power. In Burundi, the drum is a sacred object, closely associated with fertility,
the life cycle and nobility (the Burundi word ingoma translates as both "drum"
and "kingdom"). The performance seems therefore doubly charged with significance
and vitality, a feeling echoed in the ritual chants, cheers, and call and response
woven throughout.

While their way of drumming may strike the casual Western ear as somewhat
monochromatic, the percussion is actually comprised of forty-one different rhythms--
pulses and counter-rhythms, varying tempos, harsh, clacking side-stick accents--and
each rhythm represents an important concept of Burundi society: the recognition of
important figures, peace, respect, unity and the progress of their country.
"Rhythm Magazine" once wrote that their improvisations would be difficult for even
the cream of western rhythmicists to match". Yet no one should underestimate the
complexity of polyrhythm's in ceremonies that often last an entire night.

Example #6: Burundi: Unité, Travail, Progrès (drum performance by Rukinzo Legacy Drumming Club)

xithe, Published on Jan 9, 2015

The Republic of Burundi is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region of Southeast Africa, bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.

The three stars seen on the flag stand for the three major ethnic groups of Burundi. The three stars also stand for the three elements of the national motto: Unité, Travail, Progrès ("Unity, Work and Progress"), which can be seen on the Coat of arms of Burundi. They also represent the loyalty that the citizens of the nations have pledged to their God, king and country.

The Royal Drummers of Burundi, commonly known in recordings as The Drummers of Burundi, is a percussion ensemble from Burundi. Their performances are a part of ceremonies such as births, funerals, and coronations of mwami (Kings). Drums (called karyenda) are sacred in Burundi, and represent the mwami, fertility and regeneration. The Royal Drummers use drums made from hollowed tree trunks covered with animal skins.

Song: The Royal Burundian Drummers - The Echo of Burundi in Victoria

Example #7: The Royal Drummers of Burundi

Merci seigneur, Published on Feb 8, 2015

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