Gumbe (drum)

The gumbe or bench drum is a frame drum[1] found in French Guiana, Jamaica and Sierra Leone. It has a small size, with square frame and one head of goat skin.

Percussion instrument
Other namesBench drum
Classification Frame drum
Hornbostel–Sachs classification211.311
(Directly struck membranophone)

The gumbe was introduced in Sierra Leone in 1800 by Jamaican Maroon settlers. The ceremonial maroon music played with the gumbe gradually became a popular Creole music genre in Sierra Leone. It became known as Gumbe music and dance (named after the drum) and still exist nowadays. Somewhere it lost its specific association with Maroons and became identified with the broader Creole population of Sierra Leone.


  1. Bilby, Kenneth. "Glossary § gumbe". Words of Our Mouth, Meditations of Our Heart: Pioneering Musicians of Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, & Dancehall. Wesleyan University Press. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-8195-7604-0. Retrieved 2017-12-31 via Google Books.


  • Kuss, Malena (2004). Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: an encyclopedic history. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-70951-5.
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