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Best Place to buy Drums in Uganda

Posted by on February 2, 2020

Mpambire- Home to the Royal Drummakers

The Best Place to buy Drums in Uganda is on the Masaka Highway in Mbambire


Best Place to buy Drums in UgandaThe Drum Makers of Mpambire carry on the ancient tradition of Drum Making and is the Best Place to buy Drums in Uganda directly at the source- most going on Safari in Western Uganda will pass by it and have a chance to buy one or two.

In Mpambire, you will get to see how the drums, including the Royal Drums, are made in the 21st Century. It is still all by hand using trees that are grown in a nearby Forest for the makings of the drums.

What is so special about an African Drum?

African Drums hold a special place in history across Africa, which includes Uganda. In the west, drums are associated with entertainment, adding musical quality to a song. In Africa, in Uganda, the drum has a much deeper cultural significance.

Drums in Africa were and are used in all kinds of ceremonies such as births, deaths, marriages, and ritual dances. Drums were used in times of war and battle, inspiring Warriors and instilling bravery and passion in them.

Specific Drums like the Royal Drums were used during special Court Ceremonies, such as during the installation of a new King. The Royal Drums were most often housed in sacred places until a time came to use them.

African Drums have been used to communicate with other villages, even tribes for centuries. Drums can be heard miles away by others, and they often signaled impending dangers, meetings, and times of war.

It might be a good idea to buy an African Drum during your time on Safari and take it home. Your neighborhood will never be the same.


The Tradition of the Drum-Makers in Mpambire

The Best Place to buy Drums in Uganda If you are heading for Western Uganda to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or Queen Elizabeth Park, you will pass Mpambire. If you are not looking up, you could easily miss it – it looks like many other towns or villages along the Kampala – Masaka Road.  Mpambire is a small town of fewer than 1000 residents, but it is the cradle of drum making in Uganda.  It is home to the Buganda Royal Drum Makers, home to families who, for generations, have created the distinct drums of Central Uganda. Many of the drum makers that you might meet here learned from their fathers the art of drum making who, in turn, learned from their fathers.

Tourists from all parts of the world come here to buy a drum. Many have been hearing the sounds of the drums since coming to Africa, since coming to Uganda. They have listened to the rhythm of the African Drum as found in Uganda and found it enchanting, almost irresistible taking with them a part of Uganda’s rich cultural history of drum making into the various corners of this world.  Drum Making here started hundreds of years ago– Today, drums are still made as back then but with a few added modern tools here and there, but the process is the same.

Drum makers from all parts of Uganda have come here to Mpambire to learn the skill of drum-making. Here they apprentice and go back to their hometowns. The art of drum-making is kept alive in Uganda. The only limitation being the availability of trees that the drum makers use.   Twelve species of trees are used in the drum making process – trees that do not crack and are resistant to insects and weevils.  R. A large tree can give enough material to create up to 15 large drums – at the same time, research is being done about what other trees can be used to create the drums as of old with the same sound and resonance.

Besides the wood used with the drums, there are the hides.  The process of preparing the skins takes a few days during the dry season using the wetting and drying process plus stretching the skins. Then the skins are woven around the drum while pulling the top – all to give the drums that ancient, authentic African Sound.

In the 1990s, the drum makers of Mpambire were introduced to the West African Djembe, and Bougarabou Drums and goatskin is used with them, and they also use a lot less wood.  Tourists like the smaller djembe drums, and many of them have made a journey to various parts of the world.  The Ugandan drum makers changed the original names and renamed them as Buzi or Kabalusi drums.

Drum Connoisseurs prefer the authentic Ugandan drums like the Engalabi drum. It is made from a hollowed-out tree, dried and covered with monitor lizard skin, and nailed with wooden pegs into place.

You can buy drums of all sizes and whatever you can get into your luggage or the overhead bin on the plane. Be sure to visit the drum makers at Mpambire- and get some drumming lessons before leaving Uganda – the best place to buy authentic African Drums made in the Pearl of Africa – Uganda.

“The drum is a focal point of cultural life and cuts across all ethnic groups in Uganda, except the Karamajongs. Even today, in the Buganda Kingdom, the Ssagala-Agalamidde Drum can be sounded to summon the community for public work though today, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger may also be used.

The Kadodi Drum is sounded among the Bagisu and precedes a circumcision ceremony, an initiation of young men into manhood. The Orunyege Drum is used among the Banyoro and Batooro during times of courtship.
“The drum you see is part of Ugandan culture. The can never be out of the lives of Ugandans, not even in the future. Drums are part of the Culture and Traditions in Uganda and Africa, especially in rural areas.

Best Place to buy Drums in Uganda-Buy one directly from source-the Drum-Maker.


Best Place to buy Drums in Uganda – most drums that you have come across in Uganda will have a connection to Mpambire.


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