Drums around the World inspired by Ernie Durawa, Edmonton Home Inspection

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Ernie Durawa is a famous drummer from Austin, Texas who has done everything from TV jingles to concerts with the Austin jazz band. His music is backed up by history: playing everything from jazz to country to rock and roll, but do you ever think about the fact that his drums have history too? If you've ever wondered about where drums came from, what they were historically used for, how they're made, and how drums can change a song from one musical genre to another, you've come to the right place. Our site is all about drums, so sit back and prepare to be wowed by this often overlooked musical instrument.

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Drums have been a critical part of human history for thousands of years. They appear in the fossil record as far back as 6000 BC and have been found in cave paintings and archaeological digs in Peru, Mesopotamia, Africa, Sri Lanka, Europe, China, and in many Native American cultures. In fact, there is hardly an ancient - or current - civilization that did not discover and use drums in a way that shaped their early development. The drum kits that we know today date back to the 1930s, as various types of drums and additives were put together.

Today we know drums primarily as the undercurrents and pace setters of popular songs, but did you know that drums originally had practical uses? Drums can be heard from much further away than human voices, so early tribes in Africa and Sri Lanka created complex drum languages with which to talk to each other over long distances. Militaries, too, have used drums for many years to set marching rhythms and convey orders over distances and above the clashes and clamor of battles. Other cultures, especially Native American ones, incorporated drumming into their religious ceremonies.

The earliest drums were made of animal skins stretched tight over containers that would resonate the sound of the skins, which vibrated when struck with the hand or with drum sticks. Though the shapes and sounds of drums today remain the same, the animal skin heads have largely been replaced by plastic, polyester, and Kevlar while the wooden resonators have given way to metal and plastic, which is more durable than skin and wood. Some hand drums, such as congas, are still made using the old methods, however, and historical re-enactors still use skin heads for accuracy.

Few people realize just how many types of drum there are. Snare drums, which are often seen in historical battles, are familiar, as are the huge bass drums carried by marching bands, the steel drums used in reggae, and the jaunty bongo drums popular with children's music programs. But what about the Dholak? The Mridangam? The Karyenda? The Cajon? Have you ever heard of those? If you'd like to learn about the different types of drums, how to play drums, or which drums are used in which types of music, browse our store of drum related articles.

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