The djembe is said to contain three spirits: the spirit of the tree, the spirit of the animal of which the drum head is made, and the spirit of the instrument maker. One legend states that the djembe and the tree from which it is created was a gift from a Djinn or malevolent demigod, or Genie.
Properly crafted djembe drums are carved in one single piece from hollowed-out trees called Dimba, or Devil Wood. Drums made from slats or segments of wood glued together are considered by traditionalists to have no soul of the tree.
Properly made drums are not smooth on the inside but have a series of teardrop shaped divots inside that enhances the tonal qualities.
The Djembe drum heads are made from goatskin. In all cases the female is preferred and an adult cow is never used. In earlier times djembe were used to send messages over long distances. In many rural areas they still are today.