Hands versus sticks
One of the major sources of the subtlety in African grooves is the use of the hands. This is also the major factor that sets our drums apart from the western drum kit. The kick drum of the drum kit is played with a drum pedal while drum sticks are used for the snare, toms, hihat and cymbals. On the other hand, direct hand contact with our traditional drums results in a richer groove altogether. There is so much more that direct hand contact can do than indirect contact using sticks. So many sounds and possibilities. Slap, scrape, thump, finger rolls etc. aside from sounds resulting from double hand techniques. Mutes, rings, closed and open sounds also mean a wide array of sounds. In just one bar of music from just one drum the possibilities are enormous. Now put several of these drums together, each playing a different rhythm. The resulting groove is a killer. The gangan and bata use the best of both worlds. A beater and a hand. But listen for the sounds between the main beats.