This drawing is part two of the Dembadon series. The Dembadon is a pre-marriage festival for the bride-to-be that is quite common in Conakry, Guinea, accompanied by much drumming, singing, and dance. The djembe is the drum played with bare hands that typically plays the “solos” that interact with and speak to the dancers. A djembefola is “one who makes the djembe speak.”
Behind the djembe player in this drawing is also the dununba player. The djembes are always accompanied by three “dunun” drums (the bass drums played with a stick and that have a bell mounted on top). The dununba is the largest and deepest of the three dunun drums.
This artwork is included in my book Drawing on Culture: An Artist’s West Africa Travelogue, which is available to purchase here.
Dembadon II: the Djembefola
19x24” pencil on bristol by Dave Kobrenski
Here’s a little bit of the drawing process!
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Drawing on Culture
An Artist’s West Africa Travelogue
In Drawing on Culture, artist and ethnomusicologist Dave Kobrenski takes readers on an artistic journey of cultural discovery into the heart of West Africa.
“Dave Kobrenski is a gifted artist and musician, and a better anthropologist than many of the PhDs I know. Here is a fine text that depicts people as they are, illustrates their essence, and demonstrates the importance of appreciating, without appropriating, their lives and ways of being.”
— Katherine Donahue, Ph.D, Professor Emerita, Anthropology