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ID number:  BIRRC-D0116
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  Drum
Object type:  Musical instrument
Place made:  Oyo, W. Nigeria
Culture:  Yoruba
Date made:  1960s
Materials:  Wood, skin , leather, fabric and brass
Measurements:  50 x 20 cm
BIRRC-D0116.jpg

Double-membrane hour-glass shaped variable-tone drum, with leather and cloth carrying straps and pierced cast brass bells. It is accompanied by a curved stick with cloth padded handle.This particular instrument is known as a 'talking drum', or more specifically in the Yoruba language as a 'dundun'. These types of drums were designed to have adjustable pitch. By squeezing the chords surrounding the drum it varied the tone of the noises produced, imitating human speech.

This particular drum was collected in Nigeria in the 1960s and was presented to the University of Birmingham by Sir Robert and Lady Aitken in 1971. Sir Robert Aitken was Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham between 1953 and 1968. He was a distinguished physician and enthusiastic patron of the arts, being instrumental in the building of the new Birmingham Reparatory Theatre. His portrait forms part of the Campus Collection of Decorative and Fine Art at the University of Birmingham (BIRRC-A0004).

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