Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby djembefeeling » Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:51 pm

Oh man, this conversation is so funny :lol: Now I'm definitely convinced about myself being a total geek. But it's good to see I have lots of company! :giggle:

Nobody really cares how old this djembe is and yet we are making a fuss. From what I can see in those posts it seems to have something to do with a basic approach to the world, taking things (or better:details) very seriously or with a grain of salt. And even though I have to disapprove the kids assumption of a scientific need to falsify people (its the assumptions a scientist prooves) I can see myself in the party of the "detailists". At least I don't wanna live in a fairy tail, even though I like good stories very, very much. But I need to know that it is a story. So that's why I take the time to participate in this funny conversation. I have a problem believing things which are presented as a fact while there is some serious doubt left.

And James, I seriously doubt your conclusion that Abdoul needs this djembe being 200 years old. You posted the video and put a somewhat sensational title on it, so you got what you wanted: some reaction. Tim could have been told about the age before, but he could have triggered the answer in the same manner before, or someone else could have. We cannot tell just from the video. But, as Daniel never gets tired to point out, its not in the typical manner of a person raised in West-Africa to estimate age, and for me this question has already been settled by onetree (thanks!):
I agree that it is unrealistic to get an exact age of these jenbes but I am willing to guess they are more 50-60 years old and I wouldn't be surprised if they were older. I have asked Abdoul how old they were years ago and he said they were his teacher's teacher's drums. He didn't give an estimate in years other than saying they were older than he is.

Me, I am searching mainly for knowledge on this forum, not for chit-chat. And even though I think Daniel's reaction was a bit harsh, I can understand that he is getting tired of all the myths and misunderstandings out there. For me as a teacher of African music, it is also tiresome to "disappoint" lots of students when they come to learn djembe with twisted exotic ideas about drumming and african music.

thanks for all the tears of laughter. hope you have fun with my post, too.

jürgen
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby michi » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:52 pm

djembeweaver wrote:Let's avoid exoticism and belief and stick to the facts: From what we see in the video, how can we be certain of one explanation over the other?

I don't think we can be certain. I suspect too that the actual number of years may be lacking somewhat in accuracy :) But I don't think it matters all that much. No matter what the actual number, it appears that this is a djembe that has been handed down from teacher to teacher to teacher. That makes it quite old (if not 175 years old), and therefore special.

Cheers,

Michi.

PS: I think I'll stick with carbon dating! :mrgreen:
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby James » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:08 pm

And James, I seriously doubt your conclusion that Abdoul needs this djembe being 200 years old.


For clarity, I just want to point out my exact words:
He certainly wants to live in a world where the drum is 175 years old


I didn't say needs, but wants.... a small differnence perhaps, but I just wanted to clarify.

You posted the video and put a somewhat sensational title on it, so you got what you wanted: some reaction.


I wanted discussion, but it's very interesting the way this conversation has gone, very interesting.

Sorry if I was too tabloid-esque... :puke:

...but at least I didn't say "200 year old djembe" like the Youtube video actually says. ;) Though I guess that's just rounding :giggle:
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby Daniel Preissler » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:14 pm

but at least I didn't say "200 year old djembe" like the Youtube video


true, and we noticed this step towards relativization! Proves that you were not looking for a sensational title at any price; it was more just coming to your mind...

greets, d
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specialist for sangban/dundunba
band: tolonba
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby James » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:17 pm

Seriously, James: (You could have taken a different title.) You can always have a closer look at the situation and listen carefully (who says what and why?) So you might come (maybe) to the same conclusion as some of us others: that some djembes can most probably get that old, but that this djembe definitely is not that old.


When I posted the video, I doubted the djembe was 175 years old, but based on my knowledge (and anyone else here too I believe), what can you do, but take Abdoul at his word?


Sorry to play dumb here, but I didn't really take a close look at the djembe and do the maths to come to the conclusion that it was 100% impossible. I suspected some embelishment, but didn't think it was impossible (or at least unlikely) as has been pointed out.

Realistically, there is probably no way to know for sure. (Carbon dating, maybe?)

I have no doubt though that a djembe would last that long. Think about antique furniture that is centuries old and still in pristine condition. A djembe could easily last for hundreds of years too, if it is looked after.


I still can't say that it's definitely not 175 years old based on what anyone has said in this thread. Unless I missed something...

...anyway, I don't feel strongly about it. The video's got some nice playing on it at least... :)

I think we're discussing some really interesting things as a result of this at least ;)
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby the kid » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:23 pm

very, very, very interesting indeed.... :giggle:



I know things are lost in translation but i'd love to be quoted in relation to the comment about me by afoba, so i could respond to that accusation.

Afoba wrote:There is nothing that's true of what Africans say. I know very well that this is not your point, but this is what Michel and Kid were saying more or less.


But i will take it with a grain of salt
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby michi » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:49 am

Carbon dating won't help either, after all. Minimum age for that is about 300 years.

We could have a discussion whether it's possible that this djembe is more than 300 years old? I mean, after all, if the teacher in the video was wrong, who's to say that he was wrong on high end of the range? ;)

Michi.
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby the kid » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:13 am

I wonder more or less, how old the tree was. Say it was 100 years old more or less. It could make the drums age close to 175 old more or less.

Thats more or less equal to the original title of the tread.

Now consider Michi hypothesis on the drums possibility of being even older

The mind more or less boggles

The max age i'd put on this drum is more or less 500 years old and thats a conservative estimate

:lol:
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby nkolisnyk » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:41 pm

Ay, tis a good point!
A nice 12-year single malt scotch is called as such because it's been developing in a cask for 12 years, not sitting in your liquor cabinet! And I tisk the lad who lets scotch sit on a shelf for 12 years.

BTW, how fast does a lengue tree grow before it's ready to be transformed into a drum? I read somewhere they are soft wood...
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby rachelnguyen » Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:00 pm

They are not soft wood. They are definitely hardwood. But how old is the tree when it is big enough to cut? I have no idea. My husband and I planted a silver maple about15 years ago that is nowhere near being big enough to make a nice drum, and that is a fast growing hardwood. Other trees, like beech, are much slower growing. I don't know what the growth rate of an African hardwood is. Great question!
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby michi » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:24 pm

rachelnguyen wrote:They are not soft wood. They are definitely hardwood.

Yes, definitely hardwood.

But how old is the tree when it is big enough to cut? I have no idea. My husband and I planted a silver maple about15 years ago that is nowhere near being big enough to make a nice drum, and that is a fast growing hardwood. Other trees, like beech, are much slower growing. I don't know what the growth rate of an African hardwood is. Great question!

Yes, interesting!

I don't know about the specific growth rate of the traditional djembe woods, and my searches didn't unearth anything. (I didn't try extra-hard though…) From the bits of woodworking I have done, growth rings seem to be around 1mm-2.5mm in thickness for many hardwoods. If we do the maths (and assume a fast growth rate), the tree's diameter will go up by 5mm a year. To get a 13" djembe out of it, we need a 330mm tree, plus some margin so the bowl isn't all sapwood.

330mm / 5mm per year = 66 years.

I was absolutely astonished by that number. Many trees don't even live that long. I have a few softwood and medium-density wood trees in my garden that have grown in diameter up to 20mm a year, so maybe I underestimated the growth rate. But, even with that, the tree would have to be 33 years old before it's thick enough to make a djembe out of it.

Cheers,

Michi.
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby djembeweaver » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:30 pm

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Idf8 ... te&f=false

According to this article average growth rate of afzelia africana is 0.393cm per annum.

Pretty good estimate Michi!
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby michi » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:21 am

djembeweaver wrote:According to this article average growth rate of afzelia africana is 0.393cm per annum.

Awesome, thanks for ferreting that out!

Michi.
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Re: Sunu on a 175 year old djembe

Postby nkolisnyk » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:15 pm

Wow, so it's safe to say my 3-year old Drumskull hare djembe is in fact much older than me! Gives me some alot more respect for the drum by putting things in perspective.
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