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Fontomfrom is an Ashanti type of hourglass-shaped drum mostly used by an ensemble of Ashanti people to communicate Ashanti monarchy royal messages in an Ashanti people ethnic group setting.[1] The Fontomfrom ensemble provides music for ceremonies honoring Ashanti chiefs and Ashanti monarchy royal processions. The Fontomfrom is also used to recite proverbs or replicate patterns of speech at most Ashanti monarchy royal gatherings or an Ashanti monarchy royal durbar.

Fontomfrom-Orchester EthnM Berlin.jpg
Fontomfrom ensemble from Ashanti City-State; Department of Music Ethnology, Ethnological Museum of Berlin in Berlin of Germany.
Classification Hourglass-Shaped Drum
Inventor(s)Ashanti Region Ashanti people
Ashanti Region Ashanti people


The Fontomfrom evolved from the popular hourglass-shaped drum (talking drum) of the 7th century. Shortly after the evolution, a few more non-hourglass shapes such as the Dunan, Sangban, Kenkeni and Ngoma drums were produced.[2]

Prior to the Fontomfrom becoming the ensemble that it is today, it was first acquired as a single drum by the Ashanti people after the Battle of Feyiase in 1701 (under the rule of Osei Kofi Tutu I). Since its procurement, the single, large Fontomfrom drum has grown to become an ensemble of several drums.[3]


  1. ^ "ASHANTI FONTOMFROM DRUM ENSEMBLE SET". Djembe Direct. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  2. ^ "The History of the Drum – Early History". Make drums. Retrieved 19 March 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  3. ^ Kaminski, Joseph S. (2014-12-01). "Sound Barrage: Threshold to Asante Sacred Experience through Music". International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music (published 27 October 2014). 45 (2): 345–371. ISSN 0351-5796. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2017 – via International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, JSTOR Arts & Sciences III Collection.

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