African drumming is polyrhythmic: conflicting rhythms are played simultaneously. Skilled dancers can move two, three, or even four parts of their bodies to different rhythms at once. A master drummer is said to be able to “make the djembe talk.” Such speech acts may be figurative or literal. The Yoruba “talking drums” can convey verbal messages over long distances. Ewe drummers are known to hold insult contests, shooting insults back and forth using specially tuned drums.
Elif Batuman on African Drumming in Istanbul: http://nyr.kr/PBzOrN
Polyrhythms emain a part of Cumbia and Vallenato from Colombia.