RHD Dunun Set



Doundounba, Kenkeni, and Sangban are the three dunun that make up the West African Bass Drum ensemble.

  • The kenkeni is the smallest of the three and has a higher pitch; it is used mainly to keep time.
  • The sangban is the middle sized drum that is thought of as defining the rhythm, usually a bit more complex than the kenkeni.
  • The doundounba is the largest and provides a deep bass. This is the foundation to the rhythm.

Bolokada Conde (Djembefola from Conakry, Guinea) has said that the doundounba is the power, the kenkeni is the information, and the sangban ties/knits them together

SKU: dunun Category:


This is a complete set of top quality dunun drums designed to be played traditionally with a bell on top, or turned on one end and played as a set, ballet style. The difference between this set and the Ballet set I offer is the size of the doundounba. The ballet doundounba doesn’t translate well to being played on its side because of the length, however, for playing it ballet style, it excels in projection of the low end bass.

This Dunun Set is hand crafted and carved out of top grade, tonal black walnut wood. Walnut has a natural low resonance which is perfect for dunun. The wood isn’t soft, but it isn’t super dense either, so it mellows out the higher overtones and leaves a pure, warm tone with plenty of projection.

RHD uses thick cowhide imported from West Africa for a tough, traditional skin. These hides are awesome, low fat content and and super tough make for a skin that will last a long time and take a beating. To make sure we get an even and consistent sound, we use sections of the hide that are symmetrical to one another (ie same spot on each side of the spine) This ensures each head on the dunun is relatively the same thickness and from the same hide. It’s rare to get a hide large enough to head all three dunun with one hide, but we do make sure each individual dunun is made with the same hide. This isn’t as common with traditional West African built dunun.

Something I believe to be unique with the RHD Dunun set is that we not only tune the dununs together, but we tune the shells. With the dunun, much like a conga, there is so much wood noise within the sound. By starting with a set of shells that are tuned to one another, getting a pure tuning with the set is much easier. This unique shell tuning really differentiates our dununs from everyone else. Through trial and error we have figured out why some drums would have a funky overtone, even though the skins were both consistent in tension and thickness… well, that’s because of the shell. Each shell will have a sweet spot for the frequency of the dunun head, by controlling that sweet spot, we make a set of dunun that is in harmony with itself.

Dunun Set Specs:

  • Kenkeni: 10.25 x 19
  • Sangban: 12 x 22
  • Dununba: 17.5 x 28

Normal production time is about 6-8 weeks as this set is built per order, however, depending on work load, production can take as long as 4-5 months. If any question about time, please ask. We cannot sacrifice quality for speed, and because these drums are hand crafted to such standards – it takes a while. Also, as such, the photos above are only a representation. The wood grain and skin color will be unique to each dunun. The RHD Dunun Set includes the set of three dununs and beaters. If you want a set of bells, please see our accessories page for dunun bells.

With this modern take on the traditional dunun, we aim to offer the best quality dunun set made in an Eco-concious manner, right here in the USA. We love doing custom orders, so let us know if you’d like any modifications done to these drums and we can get a quote. If you are looking for a dunun set to stand out above the rest, check out our RHD Dunun Set.


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