Krin: Instrument of the Baga people of Guinea

By bill

Many music therapists are familiar with the djembe as a useful hand drum in their work.  Some are familiar with the family of three bass drums known as dunun.   Another somewhat related regional instrument is the krin (sometimes spelled kryin).   The krin is a cylinder carved out of a pieced of tree trunk.  The cylinder has three slots carved into it, so that there are two resonant surfaces (but many other sounds available for strong melodic possibilities).  One surface is pitched higher than the other.  Like the dunun drums, krin traditionally come in three separate sizes: a larger, lower pitched krin, a medium krin, and a smaller, higher-pitched krin.

The instrument is traditionally associated with the Baga people of the Guinea forest region.  One traditional use of the krin is communication of messages (using giant krin).  The instrument is also traditionally used to accompany various ceremonies.

With the advent of the West African “ballets” (drum and dance troops), the krin was integrated along with djembe, dunun, bala, kora, and other instruments, so that village music of all regions could come together to represent a national music of Guinea.

For a brief look at how to play to krin, watch this video of Michael Markus, owner of Wula Drums, a great musician, and a supporter of percussion in music therapy.

Here is a video of a young ballet troop playing krin in a musical arrangement.   I hope you enjoy!

Filed in: Ethnomusicology, Instruments, Music, Uncategorized • Monday, February 14th, 2011

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Music Therapy Drumming is a world drumming and clinical therapy curriculum primarily for Board-Certified Music Therapists (MT-BC). It is designed and presented by MT-BC's who are also professional percussionists.