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Djembefola - Djembe Forum •WULA Drums - Page 2
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Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:30 pm
by scdreger
Dugafola wrote:anyone else think wula drums are a little over the top? i'm all for a little decorative carving towards the end of the leg, but some of their 'special' pieces are a little much for me.

my .02
To each his own of course, but I also prefer more simple shells. My Mali Drumskull drum has no decoration, just the pattern from tool marks and beautifully oiled Lenke wood.
The WULA drums are nice, but I find the "special pieces" ones a little much.

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:39 pm
by Dugafola
i know the "pattern" you're talking about. it's the finishing that carvers will do with their adze for drums that aren't going to be decorated. i love it too.

i think it depends on the type of wood though. most of the iroko shells from the IC will have this finishing. i've seen lots of djalla, lenke and gele drums with it too but not a hare. it may be too dense creating too much work for a less then ideal aesthetic.

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:33 am
by e2c
Clearly there's a market for Wula's "special pieces," or else they wouldn't be making them. That kind of carving doesn't appeal to me - much too elaborate - but the less ornately-carved shells are nice. (I've got one, though I bought it solely for the sound/feel, not for the carving.)

My Mali shell is very plain, and that's the look I prefer. I like being able to see the wood, the carver's marks, etc.

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:15 pm
by bops
Dugafola wrote:anyone else think wula drums are a little over the top? i'm all for a little decorative carving towards the end of the leg, but some of their 'special' pieces are a little much for me.

my .02
You mean something like this?

Image

Yeah, that's a little over the top for me too. Look at that wood grain around the bowl. I would love to see that on the stem as well. But hey - carvers are artists, let them do their thing.

Edited to add: Damn, that's some nice carving though... if you're into that sorta thing. :D

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:07 pm
by Dugafola
i definitely give big love to the artists that hacked that thing out. crazy detail. my buddy tried to buy one just like that from them last year in guinea.

with carving that deep/intricate/detailed, you'd hope that the leg was left extra fat and chunky so there'd still be some good thickness left.

the grain is indeed impressive.

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:47 pm
by bops
I'd like to see some jembe shops decorating drums with some nice metalwork and leatherwork. Or maybe I just need to learn to do it myself... hmmm....

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:59 pm
by Dugafola
i've done some leather and metal work on some of my personal drums and friends drums. it's pretty easy, but then again i wasn't getting intricate by any means.

DSD will be testing the waters with some metal work soon. it probably won't be a standard 'upgrade' or 'add on' but more on a case by case basis.

bling bling!

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:26 pm
by e2c
Tom Kondas has made some interesting posts on Djembe-L over the past couple of months re. the carving process and more.

I'm just glad to see the artisans involved being able to have their work seen - and, maybe most important, getting a fair trade wage for what they do.

Say what you will about the exterior "finish" on some of these drums, after playing several, I can tell you that they're beautifully made, very balanced in proportion (including shell thickness) and are all very high-quality.

They also sell a lot of lovely drums with very simple, restrained decoration, and/or none at all. Take your pick! ;)

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:31 pm
by e2c
PS.: Here's the stem of my Wula - a bit more elaborate than I'd have preferred, but it looks nice and the stem is nice and thick. The carving doesn't compromise the shell's integrity in the least.

Image

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:20 pm
by bops
Here are a couple of drums I'm droolin over...

ImageImage

They look like Drumskull pieces, but they're being offered by Wooden Roots for $775 (!). I came across this site through the profile of Intalex0, one of our forum members.

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:05 pm
by Beerfola
All of the drums pictured here are the ones that caught my eye while browsing the various galleries. It's unfortunate that the beautiful grain patterns usually get covered up by rope. I've toyed with the idea of combining all of the aesthetics into one, "way over the top" drum. Fancy carving, beautiful wood grain, shiny metal work, intricate rope work, dingle balls and fuzzy dice. The works!
I've always liked the lacy look of the Ghana drum top ring cradle knots. Is there a functional disadvantage to using that knotting system? It seems that the lines of distinction between the geographical origins of djembes are beginning to blur. The Guinea drums are adopting the Ivory coast bottom ring shelf. Some Mali drums appear to be getting more elongated bowls that appear to be a hybrid of a Senagales and an Ivory Coast drum. At least more so than the short rounded bowl exemplified by the "jina" djembes. Perhaps they have always been around and this is just my perception. At any rate, we seem to be reaping the benefits because of the availability of exceptional collectable art quality djembes. Most likely an adaptation adopted for western consumers.

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:10 pm
by Dugafola
bops wrote:Here are a couple of drums I'm droolin over...

They look like Drumskull pieces, but they're being offered by Wooden Roots for $775 (!). I came across this site through the profile of Intalex0, one of our forum members.
bops...he buys 'bulk' from DSD. i saw most of those drums on his site at the shop not too long ago.

back to topic...it also seems that Wula uses lessor quailty skins on their more basic drums (ie not artist or special piece) from reading their website. that's kind of bootsy to me. if it's all about the sound of the drum, they shouldn't compromise a perfectly proportioned shell with a skin that's not "premium" just because it's not an artistic piece. not saying it's going to sound horrible...but if i ever chose to get a drum from tom and markus, it'd be a shell only.

and fyi...for those that think i'm all high on DSD, i do live in santa cruz and they are my friends, but i only have one djembe from them out of my 5. it's a bass djembe that's plain jane.

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:59 pm
by e2c
I'm sure they'd be happy to head a "cheap" shell with a "premium" skin if asked.

Seriously.

I know I probably sound touchy about this, but I've played several of their drums (not "special pieces"), and liked them all. I haven't met Michael or Tom, but I've corresponded with both and feel that they're honest guys who are trying to get some good drums into the US market. (Not without a lot of resistance, some of it from people who sell lower-quality drums...) Michael's work as a teacher is ... well, Bops can vouch for that, as can some of the East Coast drummers/instrument makers I know.

So yes, DSD is great, but there are other good shops and makers in the US, too. ;) We need more, not less. (And props to Drumskull.)

Edited to add: One of Wula's current goals is to get good djembes into music departments and programs (from university level to grade school). That's one of the reasons for the way they're grading their drums now. I have to applaud that, "bootsy" as it might seem. :)

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:20 am
by kana
I'm lovin' this topic! I just purchased my 2nd WULA drum. Bought the first one just 5 weeks ago. I am so impressed with it, the company, and the guys there, that I couldn't resist another beauty they had recently posted in the "clearance sale".

I've looked everywhere, and haven't found anything comparable, offering great quality, and fair prices. Drumskull is probably comparable, and I've done my fair share of corresponding with them, but I haven't found a drum on their site that "speaks" to me, or that I've thought reasonably priced.

My first couple of drums were Ivory Coast drums, then I bought a Senegal, that I really didn't care for, then moved into Guinea from WULA. I'm curious about Mali, and hope to someday see how different they feel and sound.

Regarding the different levels of drums, I think WULA offers a drum for everybody, and every budget, without compromising quality. I personally like the beautiful stem carvings (mine are understated), and plain bowls. I know many of the djembefolas have a preference for lenge (lenke), but I seem to be drawn to the beauty of hare (khadi).

I'm under the impression that WULA only uses female Guinea skins, and that the same quality skins are used on all their drums.

Here's a picture of my 2nd drum I just purchased today

Re: WULA Drums

Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:04 pm
by bops
Dugafola wrote: bops...he buys 'bulk' from DSD. i saw most of those drums on his site at the shop not too long ago.
Back off topic... Duga, any idea what DSD charges for Mali shells of that caliber?