These goblet shaped drums are based upon the traditional drums of the West African Mandingo people, originating from the great Mali Empire of the 13th and 14th century, a region that includes Mali, Guinea, and Senegal. They were called "healing drums" and are considered sacred when used in ceremonies of healing, ancestral worship, rites of passage, warrior rituals, communication and storytelling. This drum has become wildly popular in the last several years with books, cds, videos, and even djembe music camps taking place around the US. The traditions associated with this drum are quite involved. Djembe drums are usually covered with goat skin and sometimes have bells attached to sheets of metal that rattle as the drum is struck.