Brother, some American preachers told us not to use the African drums in worship. They taught us that the African cultures and traditions are pagan and are therefore against the Word. Is it true?
No, it is not true. Different races have their different cultures, customs and traditions. Not all are necessarily against the Word of God. Some American preachers just can not differentiate what is pagan and what is not. One foolish mistake they make is believing that "what's American is right". When these American preachers go to Africa or Asia, they try to Americanize the people with their American values instead of the Gospel of Christ. They want everyone to dress the way Americans dress. Some have even told the believers in India that it is a sin for Christian sisters to wear a "Punjabi" dress (shalwar kamitz) — a dress in which a trousers is worn under a long dress or skirt. To them a "trousers" is a man's garment, and women are not allow to put their legs into two "tubes" of clothing material. By such interpretation, Christian women are therefore not allow to wear pajamas to bed. These preachers have failed to understand that the American (Caucasian) culture is different in many ways from the Oriental culture. The traditional trousers women wear in many parts of Asia is far from the trousers that the women wear in America. They were worn many centuries before the birth of Christ. Of course, today's women in modern Asia have adopted the American style of dressing. "Power-dressing" has become a norm. They wear shirts and pants (trousers) or else tight and scanty dresses to show off the female form. Such garments are surely unbecoming of Christians. [Read the article: "Of Man's and Woman's Garments".]
Concerning drums, what's the different between the African drum and the American drum? Some say: "The African drums are tribal." Well, were there not twelve tribes in Israel? What's wrong being tribal? Others say: "They are used in voodooism and idol worship." Foolishness! Are all African drums used in voodooism or in idol worship? Are not the American drums also used in Psychedelic and Rock and Roll musics, and in Satanic churches? A drum is just a musical instrument regardless of its make. It's how and what you use it for that matters.
The tribal ritual of cutting or marking the face in some parts of Africa can be considered pagan. The markings on the face may simply denote just which tribe the person belongs to, but it is still pagan in practice even though it may not have any religious significance. No Christian parent would subject their children to such a ritual (cf. Lev.19:28).
A word of wisdom: we should not be quick to judge and presume any cultural and traditional practices, which we are unfamiliar with, to be pagan or evil simply because they appear "unChristian".