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Elephant Platter/Wall Hanging

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Udu Drums

Have you ever seen or heard a udu drum played?  Or are you like me and you never heard of a udu drum?  I had never heard one or even heard of one until fairly recently.  Now, as tends to happen with these types of things, drumming has been finding it's way into my senses.  That's not to say I've never noticed drums before, quite the contrary.  When I was a kid I wanted to play the drums but I knew it would never happen in my house.  A drum set cost too much money and made too much noise so I never said a word about it.  Years later my mother confessed that she had always wished one of us kids had wanted to play the drums.  So much for communication.

A couple years ago we were in Asheville for a beautiful September weekend, as we were walking around we heard a drumming circle, we headed towards the sound and were met with a huge and very fun drumming circle.  It was pretty awesome so I wrote this blog post about it.

Then recently I met a potter who likes to make Udu drums so he showed me a few of his.  He even played them for me and discussed some of the things he did in the design that worked and some of the things that didn't work.  They were all very beautiful and sounded rather different depending on the size and the shape of the drum.

Later I was listening to some old podcasts of Tales of a Red Clay Rambler where Ben Carter, who usually interviews potters, was talking to the women of Ba-Boom who are musicians and educators that teach African drumming to Aboriginal chidden in the Australian Outback.  I don't see any udu drums in the pictures but it doesn't matter.  The whole thing is very inspiring and is making me think about making an udu drum or two.

Have you ever made an udu drum or other musical instrument out of clay?

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  1. I took a workshop and made a whistle and at a show I dropped it and it broke, darn, at the same workshop they had some of the udu style drums they had made the couple made musical instruments of all types.

    1. You should make another whistle, Linda. I have one that my friend Liz made for me at Penland. It's shaped like a chicken and so much fun.

  2. I have not made anything, but gosh, potters have made whistles, pipes, and flutes, right? I have seen big pots with a skin stretched across the top as drums too :) OH! And rattles...

    1. Yes Gary, musical instruments were made out of clay centuries ago and are still being made today. I think someone has even published a book about them.

  3. Jeff's big pots make great sounds when thumped on. He is a musician (sax, flute, harmonica) and he has a lot of fun playing with them. A potter friend in NH makes very cool wood fired didjeridoo's

  4. Very cool Michèle, I'd love to hear her didjeridoo's played.


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