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There are so many choices for buying a djembe drum. How do you decide which drum will work for you?
You'll consider questions like how much does it cost? Where was it made? What is the shell made of? What kind of head is on the drum? How does it sound? How does it look? How does it feel?
At Dancing Drum, we've worked hand-in-hand with the craftspeople at Tycoon Percussion to create what we believe is the ideal combination of sound, feel, beauty, and durability, made with responsible, renewably resourced materials.
"When we set out to design a new djembe, we had many options to consider in terms of materials and construction," says Lindsay Rust, founding director of Dancing Drum. "Having worked in forestry during my Peace Corps service in West Africa, I knew that the hardwood resources in traditional djembe-playing countries like Mali and Guinea were being severely depleted by the West's demand for djembes, in addition to the other things that wood is used for, like cooking and construction. These old hardwoods take generations to grow, and they're not being replaced quickly enough. Most of the West African djembes that are so beautifully carved and crafted are directly contributing to deforestation. I thought, do we really need to do that to have a djembe to play? We believed that we could make a great djembe without further taxing the old forests of West Africa. That's where Tycoon Percussion came into the picture."
Working with Tycoon, says Dancing Drum's musical director Steve Campbell, "We were able to source wood from sustainably managed plantations, wood that's grown and harvested on a 7 or 8 year cycle." This would be a much more eco-friendly option than using 100+ year old hardwoods. "We worked with Tycoon to design a djembe shell with a traditional shape inside and out, using a staved construction. Our goal was to create a drum with a very traditional sound and feel, using responsibly harvested wood, and offering it at an affordable price point."
We think that we've succeeded and we hope that you'll agree!