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How to Play the Flam on Djembe

Learn how to play the flam on djembe from the musicians at Wula Drum in this Howcast video.


Speaker 1: Okay, today we are going to learn how to play the flam stroke on the Djembe drum. Flam is really an American word, it means almost together, almost the same time. You will see this in the solo technique of the Djembe, or from any drum. The way you play the flam is you are going to play two hands, almost the same time. But you have lots and lots of combinations, you have tone, slap, base. So the way I do it in solo might be different then the way Bimba does it in his solo. But watch, I can do two slaps to start, one hand a little bit lower than the other and I drop them at the same time. So they hit, almost the same time. If you hit the same time, the drum will reject you, so you want to do one right before the next. See, watch again, that is left hand lead flam. How do you play the flam?

Speaker 2: Mine is a little different, because as you say, everybody have, do it different. But the way to speak, see, if I want to go fast I go, if I wanted to do, I could.

Speaker 1: And then sometimes you can change sounds.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Speaker 1: I can do base and slap.

Speaker 2: See, I could do.

Speaker 1: I can do, switch sides, so you, what I'm doing there is slap, flam to the tone, right? Tone, then I switch sides, so I go, different combinations. Let's hear some solo with the flam.

Speaker 2: I can do.

Speaker 1: It's a different way to add embellishment and make your solo more exciting. I've seen some drummers hang on one flam phrase for a long time, and then I'll change the sounds. You can play faster.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I can play fast, I can.

Speaker 1: And as you see, sometimes the flam can be a little more open or a little more closed, and that's up to the player. So, that's how you play the flam on the Djembe drum.

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