Yoruba Drum

Beautiful Yoruba drum collected 1958-59 from Ibadan.

Tribe: Yoruba 

Origin: Nigeria

Approx Age: Early 20th Century

Materials: Wood, animal skin top

Dimensions cm: 61.5 tall

Ref. Number: 1397


An absolutely adorable Yoruba drum, wood and hide, carved as a standing male figure with his hands placed in front of his ears, with an encrusted patina and pegged skin to the top of the drum. The skin to the top has plenty of wear, slight damage to the base and a crack at the back. A very endearing tribally used piece of Yoruba art.

Provenance: Collected by Michael and Renate Lancaster between 1958-59 from Ibadan in Nigeria.


The photo opposite is the drum for sale with Michael and Renate’s daughter in Abadan in 1959.

Yorùbá music is regarded as one of the more important components of the modern Nigerian popular music scene. Although traditional Yoruba music was not influenced by foreign music the same cannot be said of modern-day Yoruba music which has evolved and adapted itself through contact with foreign instruments, talents and creativity. Interpretation involves rendering African, here Yoruba, musical expression using a mixture of instruments from different horizons.

Yoruba music traditionally centred on folklore and spiritual/deity worship, utilising basic and natural instruments such as clapping of the hands. Playing music for a living was not something the Yorubas did and singers were referred to in a derogatory term of Alagbe, it is this derogation of musicians that made it not appeal to modern Yoruba at the time.

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