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African Drum Ensemble at KU

Led by Dylan Bassett, the African Drum Ensemble at KU, known by its acronym ADEKU, is a performing ensemble made up of KU students and community members. Each semester we perform throughout the region. ADEKU was created in 2007 by Khalid El Hassan, the Associate Director of the Kansas African Studies Center, through a grant from Chancellor Hemenway that funded the purchase of instruments. ADEKU performs traditional music from three main areas in West Africa. We play rhythms from the ancient empire of Mali, which today encompasses areas of Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. In this tradition we play djembe, dunun and djabara. We also play sabar drums from the Wolof of Senegal, which include four different drums: mbeung beung, nder, tungune, and chol. And finally we play twinshin, atoke, and axatse from the Ga people of Ghana. Each semester we explore approximately 10 different traditional rhythms.  Learn more about our upcoming performances by visiting our ADEKU Facebook page.  

Goals and Objectives of ADEKU

  • To provide a venue for KU and the greater Lawrence community to create a drumming community and learn to play traditional West African rhythms
  • To participate in African and international cultural events organized at KU and in the Lawrence community
  • To provide multi-cultural awareness education for the KU community
  • To promote African cultures, African Studies, and African languages at KU
  • To provide outreach for KU to area schools, the public, and at-risk youth


  • Ongoing classes for the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence

How to Join

Each semester, new members are welcome to join during the first two weeks of classes.  2.5 hours of rehearsal/week; 16 Rehearsals/Semester. 4-6 Performances for KU Each Semester. A one-credit West African Drumming course (PENS 252) will be offered in summer and fall 2014. 

Sample Songs

Baja with Congo BAKK


Contact information

If you have questions about joining ADEKU or if you would like to have ADEKU perform at your event contact the Director, Dylan Bassett at:

Expert instruction in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof at the beginning and intermediate levels will be offered over eight weeks in June-July 2018.

Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit to learn more. 

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