Tetela Lukombé Slit Drum
The Lukombé is the most interesting and intricate of the Tetela drums and constitutes a highly developed poetic and musical art form as well as a means of communication.
Origin: Democratic Republic Congo
Approx Age: Early 20th Century
Materials: Wood, metal studs and plates
Dimensions cm: 125 wide x 61 tall
Ref. Number: 1614
A beautiful, large and extremely well used Tetela Lukombé slit drum. This has seen a lot of tribal use and has had genuine repairs by using metal plating and hand made staples. Carved from one piece of wood, of typical flaring form, with a narrow aperture at the top and with decorative metal tacks along the border.
Provenance: An old private collection, Germany.
Three types of drums are used by the Tetela people, a Bantu tribe situated between the Lomami River and the Sankuru River in the Kasai Province of central Belgian Congo. The Ngomo skin drum is used for dancing, usually accompanying the Lukombé, the six-toned slit drum. The Ekuli is a small cylindrical two-toned drum, formerly used to signal victory in battle, is now used to call people to church and classes. The Lukombé 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.
Lukombé slit drums (which acoustically function as bells) are found globally. Logs hollowed into cylindrical, trapezoidal, or zoomorphic shapes are used for sending messages or, as with this one, played in ensembles to accompany the dance. Strapped to the player and held at an angle, the instrument is struck on both sides, producing from four to six tones.
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