Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tribal Beats

I was bored tonight, so I recorded a short 8 bar loop using the new percussion instruments I've bought since I've been up here. I've never recorded live drums before, so it was cool to get a little experience in that. Also, it's nearly midnight here, so I really can't pound on them as much as I'd like.

Here's the recording I made tonight. The original one was about 15 seconds long, so I just looped it four times inside this MP3 file:

Click to listen to the Tribal Music MP3 file

Below are the instruments that I've bought while I've been up here, from left to right:

Darbuka: A Middle Eastern drum that's got good range and is very portable and light. I picked this little aluminum one up at the local Guitar Center for $25.00. It's been a lot of fun and great for relaxing. It's got a nice "pop" to it that allows it to cut well through the mix. I would eventually like to get a Doumbek (a larger variant of this type of drum) but that'll be some time from now.

Buckskin Drum with Beater: I picked this up at the Red Earth Festival from a Taos Pueblo drum maker. I was not intending to buy another drum, mainly because I would have to find a way to transport it home. But once I heard this one, I had to have it. It's got such a beautiful warm tone, and due to its irregular shape you can get a lot of different tones out of it depending on where you strike it.

The guy who makes and sells these is amazing. All of his drums are created straight from the trunk of a tree, so each is unique in its shape and sound. The actual drum surface is buckskin, which is carefully attached to both sides and tied using an intricate series of knots. He had a photo album showing how the hides are prepared and how the drum itself is assembled. Very impressive stuff. He had several people coming up to him and telling him how they'd bought one of his drums 10 or 20 years ago and were still playing it.

He had a drum there that was literally 6 or 7 feet wide. Someone tried it out while I was there and it sounded like thunder rolling in across the plain. So very cool.

Shaker: A small handmade shaker which I picked up for $10 from the same guy who made the drum I purchased. It's wood and (what appears to be) sewn buckskin. I have no idea what it's filled with, but it sounds very nice and organic. (It'd make a great baby rattle too, LOL)

5-Hole Flute: The flute was also bought at the Red Earth Festival, this one from a Cherokee vendor. It's in the pentatonic scale, but it doesn't relate to any standard music "key". These kinds of flutes are traditionally called "love flutes" because they were originally used by Native American men to court women. It's a very simple flute, but I want to get a bit better at it before I even think of recording with it.

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