ABOUT THE djun djun

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!

Irie 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.

How 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 sounds produced.

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 contact end).

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 or soil.
  • 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 Djun Djun

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.


Brief 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.