I bought another drum today …a djembe. I’ve wanted one for a long time but have never gotten around to doing anything about it, until today. I’ve spent some time over the last couple of days researching djembes online and finding out about some of the technicalities …body structure, drumheads, fibreglass vs. wood, synthetic heads vs. skin, lacing vs. screw clamps etc. (I found a very informative site with a description of the various parts of a djembe plus Instructions for how to head an African Djembe Drum with Goat skin.)
There were some beautiful instruments for sale online but I felt I would really rather see and play (well, um, try to play) a drum before buying it, so I went to 4 music shops in my corner of “The Shire” and finally found what I wanted at Billy Hyde Music at Taren Point.
When I first saw this particular drum I was immediately drawn to it, yet at the same time, turned off by it’s difference. The goat skin drumhead is shaven so the playing area is smooth, and the extra skin is left hairy, partially trimmed near the playing edge and rolled up and over the ring the laces are attached to, forming the hairy border. This drum also felt a little heavier to hold than the others of similar size so at first I didn’t give it serious consideration. However, while trying out the other drums (including 2 similarly shaped Middle Eastern drums – a doumbek and a darbuka, just to convince myself that the African djembe was really what I preferred) I kept glancing over at the feral-looking hairy goat drum. He seemed to be watching me with non-existent beady little goaty eyes, almost bleating out for my attention. So, I eventually picked him up and played him. The sound was far superior to any of the other same-sized djembes there. This one had a deeper bass note, though not as deep as the bigger drums (which I preferred the sound of but thought their added size and weight could be a drawback when transporting the drum). The top note of the odd looking djembe was also much clearer, so the hairy goat won my heart and I took him home. 🙂