Meeting place for buying and selling instruments
By shawnguess
#28100
my drum arrived! its beautiful and sounds great. Galen gave me a couple of DVDs for the trouble. it seems that Wula is a group of fine people who care about what they do, i just think the business end of things got a little weird this time around. in the end, no matter the wait, its worth it for a quality instrument from people who are sharing art and not necessarily just selling a product.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/big8s6ruhhspdun/djembe.jpg
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By Wula Drum
#28101
Hello all -- Michael Markus here --

I am happy to say this is my first post on Djembefola! Yiiipppiieee! I do read threads, and talk with folks about, but have up until now not actually posted myself.

So, Hello everyone!

I am writing at Kosa drum festival in Vermont, with M’Bemba, giving clinics and performances, its been a great time. We are standing in the back of a dark auditorium watching and listening to Mike Clark give a master class about drum set styles and history of where different styles come from. Who’s Mike Clark? One Bad dude that’s who! Look him up if you’re into drumset (http://www.mikeclarkmusic.com/home.html), he used to play with Herbie Hanckcock and like 10 million other established accomplished musicians. Funk, Jazz, Blues, he’s hit with the best of them!

Although in the middle of a conference I am compelled to write about the recent additions to this thread I read on Djembefola.
I like Djembefola and am amazed by how much it has brought people together and help connect the djembe community! A goal not easy to do, and James and the crew have done a great job with this!!! Congratulations!

Anyway, I thought to address some of the posts here.

Wula doesn’t share information about specific orders and email correspondence without permission from the customers, though I can say that with any problems with our orders – heads popping, rings breaking, anything – as well as delays, we always offer the customer the option of selecting another drum or a full refund. We very rarely have either of these options, I think because people choose the drum themselves and want to stick with the piece that speaks to them.
I am not excusing the fact that sometimes without warning, we experience delays with drum building, alas small business is tough sometimes, and that Galen is over optimistic about time frames. Galen is our shop manager and repairman, he is optimistic. He is an incredibly positive soul and even when things get very stressful and difficult, he vows to himself to stay positive. I don’t know how he does it. Many times he has saved me, telling me to go play my drum, or teach a class and reminding me of why we do this in the first pace. [Mike Clark is shredding now….]

Side Note: We are a small company and always try to offer people something to make up for any bumps along the way. We have an incredible crew of folks in Guinea, and in NY it is just a few of us (not including our roster of performing/teaching artist). We are completely overworked and understaffed. Why? Because of our vision we constantly evaluate the now, and what we want to see happen in the future. Wula Drum is not a djembe store. We believe in the synergy of the entire experience of Guinea music and dance. We offer classes, trip to Africa, school shows, performances, classes educational projects, and more. We do not just sell and fix drums. We make drums in Guinea, with our team of carvers and to our specs. We are not just buying and then selling drums. This means we are both manufactures and sellers. We love our vision, but the management of having everything under one roof is a challenge to say the least. We can’t see it any other way but to offer all these things and it can leave Galen and I with our hands in several projects at once. Again, not excusing it, just trying to offer understanding of who we are.
Back to the fact that we offer options to our customers, replacements, refund etc -- I feel that had this been known we wouldn’t have to read ignorant comments from people telling Tom to reach into his pocket and pull out $ etc. That is ridiculous and with bad taste on so many levels. I know it was possibly meant in jest, but this makes me feel like I’m reading a yelp page, which Djembefola is not supposed to be.

And for Rachel to write the following…
“I can rehead a drum in a couple of hours. Within a week, I can pull it. There is absolutely no reason this should have taken months.’

This, added to the dvd fiasco really suggests that there are some systemic problems that need to be addressed.

I hope that things get straightened out soon.”

These kinds of statements are blind statements and don’t really help anyone or anything. Yes, people can fix a drum in a couple hours, then pull in a week etc. But that is in lieu of doing anything else. Do you know how much other work Galen has done in that time? (again referring to the statement that he thought he could get it all done---optimism and strong work ethic and dedication). And to lump in the DVD problem as if they are all coming from the same source is a big assumption.

DVD fiasco?

There is or was no DVD fiasco. There is the fact that the post production and the ability for us to go to duplication took WAY, WAY longer than expected. Some folks paid $30 in advance for a copy of vol 2 which was way way way late in getting out.
I happily offered EVERYONE a refund on their pre-order. As Michi mentioned I checked in with e-mails periodically, and to be honest, even when people were frustrated, and emailed me, (privately and not on Yelp), I would explain.

With that, I would add that not one person wanted a refund. Yes, some were frustrated waiting for the dvd but no one asked for money back. And the majority emailed me back with support and encouragement.

I don’t blame people for their frustration, man, my frustration is 10X.
Wula is going through growing pains. When we expanded it comes with management issues that are time related, not task related.

Last night M’bemba and I were watching the DVD as we were still up hangin’ and jazzed from drumming. Man, to see Laurent and Mbemba plan, Famaro on the balaphone- I think it came out well.

Could it be better, yes, could it have been on time, yes. This is my first DVD which I produced. There was a serious learning curve. I did not have it filmed, recorded, mixed, mastered, edited, authored, color corrected, artwork designed, replicated, and put online- all in one place. Each of those steps were with a different company, or person. The person who edited it was not the person who authored it. The author, a professional, is also in the national reserve. Well he was called away on a short tour after Vol. 1 was finished, so I had to wait. The color corrector ran a few passes for me in exchange for drums as he is a cool cool guy. There is no way we could afford his services at $120 per hour otherwise. He did one pass, then I picked it up and had tobring back to editor and she wasn’t happy with it and it then had to go back to color guy, and he was out of town. Is the color coding up to the level of the projects he does (such as Aerosmiths’ live concert, Rolling Stones Movie, Paul Mcartney projects). No- he did 2 passes, and I had to wait for him to do this. And it goes on……

But guess what folks--- that DVD is pretty nice I think. We recorded it separately from the film, and that added a lot of work. Im so tired of all the wack low quality DVDs, so that’s how I went about it. YUP, VOL 2 is done, and in hand. We shipped all of the pre-ordered DVDs out.

I hope people can please note that I am not excusing the lateness of the DVD. I am stating that I am disappointed how people state partial facts, and also some assume negativity instead and easily take a role of blaming.

I am always surprised about how people ask questions to a forum about things which are about us and best answered by us. For example, I see posts such as:

"What is the difference between Wula’s drum A, and Wula’s drum B?" Why doesn’t the person ask Wula the information about Wula? I’m not talking about comparing companies, or general info that could be acquired about the world of djembe, I’m talking about specific things about our company. This is our company and we started this company because we want to see the quality of djembe and information about it grow. I always find this strange.

--------Well- back again about 10 hours later…I had to stop and come back as we had to teach and perform. ------

I just had the most amazing experience. Mike Clark (my new hero----I’m telling you look him up), well we were hanging out and he started talking about his album and who he is recording with etc. and he mentions the name-------THE SAME PERSON I RECORDED THE MAGBANA CD WITH! It was hilarious as the guy who recorded us (8 years apart) was always hours and hours late to his studio. It was grueling. The guy is such a character though and he got a great great sound. He always was all heart- really put all his effort into it. I remember showing up to his studio and waiting for like 2-3 hours and fuming! Then he’d show up, and we’d get to work, and hed end up doing soething really great, then taking me out for dinner and we’d have lots of creative insight blah blah blah. Small world, cuz Mike was saying the exact same thing about him. That is how he is.

ALSO- I want everyone to know this:

We have just hired a full time repairman. In light of this thread? NO. This has been in the works for a long long time. Believe me, before Galen, I used to have 5 people fixing drums, but the work wasn’t up to par, they would flake out. I personally know more than a dozen people in NYC who fix drums. But do they do consistent clean work? No. Can they dedicate full or even solid part time to it? NO, because people don’t see the value in it to pay enough to make it a decent full time job for someone. Fixing lots of drums is a lot work. Part of the problem too is that when there are a lot of cheap djembes, people have a hard time justifying the labor to fix them. I know people who have their teaching programs cancelled due to the fact that the cheap school drums break and the principal can’t afford to pay for them to be fixed, so they just throw them out in the trash and cancel the program.

So, I can now happily announce that our intern Vladimir will be moving into a full time position fixing drums. If you are in our area, please drop by and say hello to him.

And if you made it this far -- thanks for reading my first djembefola post. It will most likely be a while for the next one -- but please know that we do feel bad about the dvd delay. And we will continue to make changes so that we can better reach our customers.

Michael Markus
Wula Drum
info@wuladrum.com
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By Dugafola
#28102
Thanks for the post, michael.

as an aside, Mike clark is also one of my favorite kit players!! i don't play kit, but i learned the intro beat to Palm Grease!! Nasty!!
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By rachelnguyen
#28104
Hi Michael,

Welcome to the forum. I have heard many good things about you, especially from one of our members, e2c, who was once a student of yours, I think.

I am sorry my comments were made without knowing the whole story. I did not know about Wula's policy to offer another drum and/or refund the cash. In light of that, you are right that folks get to make their own decisions about things. I also agree that it is always best to deal directly with the company when disputes arise. Having said that, I was really surprised that it took 3 months for someone to get a drum and many more months than that for some folks to get dvds they had ordered. My comment about there being problems wasn't meant as an insult. Your company is so highly regarded by folks on this forum, I was genuinely surprised and concerned.

It is great to have you on the forum. I hope you will stick around.

Rachel
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By Waraba
#28117
hey Michael--

Welcome to the forum! Are you new to playing djembe?
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By michi
#28118
Waraba wrote:hey Michael--

Welcome to the forum! Are you new to playing djembe?
Yes, quite new ;-)



Michi ;-)
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By michi
#28121
Wula Drum wrote:Hello all -- Michael Markus here --

I am happy to say this is my first post on Djembefola! Yiiipppiieee! I do read threads, and talk with folks about, but have up until now not actually posted myself.
Hi Michael, welcome to the forum, and thank you for speaking up! I really hope that you will find the time to post at least occasionally around here. A lot of people would really appreciate to learn from your experience, I'm sure!
rachelnguyen wrote:I can rehead a drum in a couple of hours. Within a week, I can pull it. There is absolutely no reason this should have taken months.

This, added to the dvd fiasco really suggests that there are some systemic problems that need to be addressed.
These kinds of statements are blind statements and don’t really help anyone or anything. Yes, people can fix a drum in a couple hours, then pull in a week etc. But that is in lieu of doing anything else. Do you know how much other work Galen has done in that time? (again referring to the statement that he thought he could get it all done---optimism and strong work ethic and dedication). And to lump in the DVD problem as if they are all coming from the same source is a big assumption.
I have no doubt that Galen works very hard, and I know from first-hand experience that he is a really nice guy, too!

But, please recognize that, to a customer, how hard Galen works is irrelevant. The problem is not so much that it took a long time to get the drum out the door, but that the customer was repeatedly told something that turned out to be incorrect. On top of that, this happend after Wula collected the money. At the very least, as a customer, I expect to be given accurate information and to not have my credit card charged until the product ships. This is standard procedure in the mail order industry.

Given the interconnected world we live in now, it is only to be expected that customers will air their grievances with a mail order business in public. Again, that is standard procedure these days. And, if customers experience problems with a company, why should they not speak about it publicly?
DVD fiasco?

There is or was no DVD fiasco. There is the fact that the post production and the ability for us to go to duplication took WAY, WAY longer than expected.
Michael, yes, there was a fiasco. Again, not because the DVD was late. I understand that you had problems in production. For a project of this magnitude that is not a surprise, really. The fiasco is that you promised to ship the DVDs "within a few weeks" and you took people's money up-front. But the first DVD took seven months to ship, and the second DVD took more than fourteen months to ship. That is a fiasco.

Again, there is no problem with taking pre-orders for a product that ends up being late. That can happen. But it is a problem to take people's money and to then not deliver as promised.
With that, I would add that not one person wanted a refund. Yes, some were frustrated waiting for the dvd but no one asked for money back. And the majority emailed me back with support and encouragement.

I don’t blame people for their frustration, man, my frustration is 10X.
The first DVD is very good, and I really look forward to watching the second one. I have no doubt it will be just as good, and hope that you will make more, despite all the problems you encountered. The drumming community will be the better off for it!

In future, take pre-orders, by all means, but have the integrity to not charge people's credit cards until the product is ready for shipping. That way, there will a lot fewer ruffled feathers.

Cheers,

Michi.
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By Wula Drum
#28134
Good Morning Drummers! Hi Rachel, Hi Michi!!!

First, Rachel, Thanks for your post! I appreciate it. The point for me was that folks don't always tell the whole story and they also play both sides- when communicating with us, very nice, and with others they sing a different tune.

No argument here about the lateness of that drum being a problem!

Hey, I see you're in RI?
Come down and visit us sometime!
In fact, i'm offering you a %15 discount to our weekend retreat Sept. 20-23!
Email me if interested! Gonna be great!

------------------------------------
Hey Michi!!!
Thanks for your reply....
all points well taken!
I guess, if you want, we can call it a fiasco-----for sure

as my wife's Grandmother used to say (from Jamaica)
"Yu Hefi C'yall it H'experience"

I won't do pre-orders like that again thats definite.

And, we immediately stopped when some time passed, so there were about 40 folks waiting for Vol. 2 , some of which wanted to order, even when they knew it would be a good while--- but wanted to support. We have an amazing bunch of supports
here's to you!!!!!
I guess being a father of 2 little girls and starting a business all at the same time- well fiasco is in the eye of the beholder......
come visit me and I'll show you some fiasco's;)

Well, some great lessons learned.
No argument here about that, my points were more about when grievances are made, partial information given (and that is fine- no one can write everything)-- people all deciding what we should do---- thats where i think every goes into the wrong direction. Its amazing how in this day and age everyone still accepts anything written as truth.......
In this modern day I think we all need to try very very hard to stay positive-- as it can be very are to focus on the negativity and bring us down. We must also elevate our thinking and try to get out of the walmart mentality and that everything must be done in a specific way because it is the way it should be done.

So, Michi- thanks for your posts! I may not agree on all things 100%, but all I can say is :

MICHI!!! MICHI!!!!! MICHI!!! MICHI!!!MICHI!! MICHI!!

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaxVwD-HvNU[/video]


I never met you face to face, but I love you already!
WHEN YA GONNA COME VISIT US IN NYC? WE WOULD HAVE A BLAST!

And in honor of Michi and all his presence, i would like to offer Wamato: DVD Vol. 2 at $25 (plus shipping) for everyone who orders by writing an email to info@wuladrum.com. Somewhere in the email, you must write 'Michi' or the deal is off. (not for web sales as Id have to change the store page and we are just getting everything up.). Offer Until Aug. 15th

hey y'all, hope to see some of you at our yearly retreat Sept. 20-23

Also, Trip to Guinea with Mbemba is on- and this year- a special international percussion festival downtown Conakry on Jan. 12-13
going to be amazing!

Have a great day everybody!

Michael
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By Wula Drum
#28136
Hey Again!

I just posted a quick add on to last post, but I don't see it. SO, I'll post again.....

Just want you to know that I will be contacting all folks who pre-ordered DVD vol. 2, in an email. This email will contain information about how we want to show our gratitude for your patience in waiting for the DVD to be finished. I should have the email to you all in a couple days.
thanks
Michael
Wula Drum
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By Waraba
#28137
Hi, Michael,

Well, you sure are fitting right in as a newbie here. I enjoyed watching you in that video Michi posted. Good for you, diving right in so early in the game! Some advice as a newbie--I noticed that you don't play all the time during the rhythms. As your stamina continues to develop, you'll find yourself more and more able to keep up with the rest of the class.

Best wishes, Michael, and keep drumming!
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By e2c
#28143
Waraba wrote:Hi, Michael,

Well, you sure are fitting right in as a newbie here. I enjoyed watching you in that video Michi posted. Good for you, diving right in so early in the game! Some advice as a newbie--I noticed that you don't play all the time during the rhythms. As your stamina continues to develop, you'll find yourself more and more able to keep up with the rest of the class.

Best wishes, Michael, and keep drumming!
Waraba... Michael is one of the owners of Wula Drums. he's been playing for a long time. :)
By bubudi
#28144
waraba, you're funny!

that video shows michael teaching, and if you're a good teacher you don't play busy solos during class, and stop to communicate with the class, as he does. that video doesn't really show what he's capable of. if you look up 'michael marcus' on youtube, there's a bunch of videos there that better show how he can play.
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By Wula Drum
#28152
Waraba-

'nice one!!!!
at first you got me--- but then I saw the Ossining, NY address!
Ladies and Gentleman....... let me introduce to you 'waraba' the one we call 'THE WARDEN' (his jokes imprison you)- Djembe jail!
you got me cracking up and my kids are looking at me like--- what's wrong with dad? Haaaa! haaaa!
Enjoy the day!
Michael
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