Sabar are a family of drums from Senegal, West Africa. Sabar drums are instruments of the géwël (more commonly known as “griot”) caste of the Serer and Wolof ethnic groups, but as the “national
drum” of Senegal the sabar is also use by the Toucouleur, the Peul and other ethnic groups there.
Carved from dimb wood, with a goat skin head attached by seven pegs and a lacing system that allows for tuning, the sabar drum is played with a stick and one hand. There are several different
types of sabar that make up the ensemble, each with a particular sound and role.
This workshop will provide an introduction to the Sabar drum including a brief history, the technique and sounds of sabar drums, and playing sabar rhythms.
The workshop will be taught by Sipho Bellinger who has played hand drums for more than 25 years. Adopted into the Sing Sing family, the premier géwël family in Dakar, Senegal, Sipho has spent the
21st century learning about the géwël tradition and the sabar drum, which is central to this tradition.
Since 2002, Prof. Bellinger has co-taught a university class on the Sabar tradition with members of the Sing Sing family and other géwël families from Senegal.