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date: 06 December 2019


  • J. Richard Haefer


Single-headed cylindrical drum of the Saramaka Maroon people of Suriname. It is made from a hollow log up to 2 metres long and 15 to 20 cm in diameter. The skin head is attached by a loop of cords wrapped around the edge of the head and laced to a second loop of multiple strands of fibre about 15 cm below the top. The head is tuned by pounding wedges between the fibre loop and the body. Initially four wedges about 40 cm long are put in place. Fine tuning is accomplished by using a series of shorter wedges placed between the larger wedges and the body. Tension can also be adjusted by heating the head. The tumao is played with one hand only, the performer squatting near the drum, which is placed at an angle to the ground.

The tumao, dedicated to the Apuku spirits, plays intermediate rhythm patterns with the ...

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