This page contains information about the Irie Tones djun djun (aka dundun).
Although we don't claim that it is exhaustive, we hope it gives you a
solid basic understanding of your instrument. If you need clarification
or have something you feel would be useful to add, please contact us.
We'd be happy to help!
Tones Djun Djun Features
All of our djun djuns come with a beautiful natural finish. Clear varnish
is applied to the drum after the artwork has been carved and before
the head is installed. This enhances the natural beauty of the wood
grain, and protects the wood from scratches and abrasions.
The djun djun is traditionally made with a thick skin, such as cow
or antelope. Our djun djuns are made with unshaved cow skin, which is
ideal for the sound and durability you want from a djun djun. If you
are interested in having your djun djuns headed with a different skin
option, contact us and place a special order.
Special Order Djun Djuns
Larger or smaller size djun djuns can be purchased on special order,
as well as other skin options. You can place an order at any time, allowing
4 to 8 weeks for delivery. If you are interested in getting custom carvings
or other unique features don't hesitate to ask.
To Play Your Djun Djun
Position and Technique - The djun djun can be played
from a standing or seated position, with the drum placed on a stand
or lying horizontally on the ground. Traditionally a djun djun set is
set up with the drums stacked horizontally, held together by a rope,
so each of the drums can be played on either end. You may have a beater
in each hand, or you may use one hand as a mute to add variety to the
Caution - You should not use excessive force when striking
the head. We also advise against using regular drum sticks as djun djun
beaters; the head is too small and may puncture the skin (however, if
this is all you have, then turn it around and use the handle as the
How To Care for and
Maintain Your Djun Djun
- Transport and Exposure - Although your drum is very
durable you should avoid exposing it to the elements (direct sunlight,
extreme heat or cold, dampness, rain, snow, etc.). Also avoid rapidly
moving the drum from one heat or humidity extreme to another. If you
need to take your djun djun to a different altitude you don't need to
worry about loosening it like you would a high-tension drum such as
a djembe; the verticals are already loose enough to allow variation
with harming the head.
- Cleaning - Your djun djun may be cleaned with a damp
cloth, but don’t apply cleansing agents or other cleaning tools.
Avoid playing with dirty hands or leaving your drum exposed to sand
- Maintenance - Under normal circumstances your djun
djun skin does not require any oils or leather treatment to keep it
in shape. If you need to replace the curved beater you can get one from
our website or replace it with a more modern version, making sure the
tip is larger that a regular drum stick.
How To Rope Tune Your
We import our djun djuns with the head already in place and mostly
tightened (we purposefully leave some tension off to allow the head
to adjust to different altitutes, temperatures, and humidities). You
may wish to tune you djun djun to suit the needs of the ensemble you
are accompanying. The following Mali-weave technique is a simple way
of efficiently applying tension to your rope-tuned djembe, bougarabou,
ashiko, or djun djun. Don't be intimidated! It really is quite simple
and quick once you turn a few diamonds and get the hang of it. Follow
the detailed instructions below to get started.
Warning: It is possible to break the skin on your drum by overtightening.
Once you have achieved the tone and bass you desire, don't continue
weaving. With time you may need to turn a few more diamonds as the rope
and skin stretches slightly.
History of the Djun Djun Drum
The djun djun developed simultaneously with the djembe
in West Africa many centuries ago. This family of cylindrically shaped
drums provides the rhythmic and melodic base for the djembe ensemble.
Although they can be played separately, the djun djun generally is played
as an ensemble set.