The Ashiko drum has a lot of mysticism as well as skepticism surrounding it. The ashikos place of origin, traditional uses, and history are somewhat unclear. Some even say it's a Western concept for a cheap djembe. Well to put some of that to rest, the ashiko drum is a drum that has its roots in Nigeria and is one of the oldest forms for a hand drum. The Congas, Djembes, and other hand drums are thought to have birthed from this original design.
Baba has said that the term Ngoma really just translates to drum. Some people consider the Ngoma to be a large, thin ashiko styled drum that you can play standing up, which is fairly accepted as the definition in the US.
Traditional Ashikos where headed with thick cowskin, mule hide, or any other thick hide available. The sound was deep and resonate, more like a conga than a djembe. However, as these drums became popular in the US and Europe, drum builders started putting thinner goatskins on them and marketing them as a sort of budget djembe. A way to get the djembe sound, but at a smaller price point. I do have to say, that although I build these ashikos in a variaty of ways, there is something special about a large ngoma with a very thick skin. It connects the player to the environment in a way that must be experienced.
Rhythm House Drums hand crafted Ashikos, and Ngomas come in different styles and woods and are available to be made custom per order. These ashiko drums are not factory made but are carefully built by hand in our shop near Charlotte, NC. We honor the tradition that these beautiful instruments come from by using only top quality materials and with extensive research into history and sound. We build them in a modern, Eco-friendly manner which gives us lots of control over the woods, sound, look, and playability of each ashiko. Although each is unique they most definitely still conform to our excellence in quality control.
If you want to feel a deep connection to the earth, and connect rhythm to your soul, check out some of the finest drums available with our RHD Ashiko.