Thursday, December 4, 2008

Look what I'm getting!

I've been getting into playing African drums for the last 4 months. I started out trying to play the djembe, but I just couldn't do it, my hands just didn't want to hurt like that all the time! I still don't know how djembe players do it!

After the first class, I approached this wonderful lady, Kate, who was playing what are called dun duns. I told her that I was really expecting the drum I was going to play to be more like hers. She was playing with sticks and the sound coming out of her drums was amazing. I'm not saying the djembes don't sound nice, but the duns (or djun djuns) are so IT for me. I was in love. She said "well, next week, you're playing the djuns!" Cool, I was ready. By the time the next class was over, I knew I would own my own set, I just didn't know when. When the next 8 week term started, my mom had been very generous and I was able to get them.

I've now been waiting over a month. BUT being a crafter, I know what it takes to put real quality into something. I know they're on their way, I know love and attention to detail is going into them, I just have to exercise patience... lol

These are just the shells. They're hand carved and from Ghana West Africa.

When I saw the middle drum in person I could even see where the crafter took a chisel to the inside to make them hollow. All three drums are carved with three designs and each design has a different meaning. I'm having a hard time finding all the meanings, but this is what I know, or what I think I know...

The large drum is called a "Dundunba" and is usually about 15" across

Gye Ntame – 'except God'
Symbol represents the omnipotence of God
and the fearlessness of the faithful.

This could mean one of three things

Nyame dua (an altar to the sky God). Altar, place of worship.
Nyame nwu na mawu. If Nyame (God) dies, then I may die. Perpetual existence.
Nyame Dua (God's tree) or (altar of God) Symbol of the Presence of God & God's Protection.

I'm not sure what this one means

The middle drum is called a "Sangban" and is usually about 12" across

Because I have birds, I was most excited about this carving in particular.

However, I don't know the meaning of it.

Pa gya (to strike fire or make fire).
This is said to represent war.
(I'm thinking war on evil!)

I'm pretty sure this means...

Bese Saka (Bunch of cola nuts) Symbol of Affluence, Power, Abundance, Togetherness & Unity.

The small drum is called a "Kenkeni" and is about 10" across

I believe this one is a form of

Kurumah Kese (The big okro.)
Symbol of Greatness & Superiority.

This is the same as the one above,
although it's ever so slightly different.

Again, I think this symbol means the same
as the other two, its just slightly different again.

Aren't they beautiful?! I can hardly wait to get them and will post pictures of them, you can be sure, once they are safely in my home.

Now it's just a matter of getting the skins on with the ropes as you can see in this picture. My skins will still have hair on them, which will kinda freak me out a bit, but I did have the choice of getting them shaved or leaving them as is. I decided to preserve them a bit longer, I'd leave the hair on.

Anxiously awaiting... hmm, seems to me I waited and waited for something else in the near past... I really must pull that sewing machine out. I still haven't finished that black, red and white quilt. It needs to be done before March. Deadlines, gotta love em'!

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