Just for giggles
User avatar
By dleufer
Everytime I scan Ebay for drums I come across abortive specimens like this professional African djembe for a mere $699:

Check out the carving, It looks like the person who carved it also did the expert photoshopping (or "miscrosoft paint"-ing) on the image.
Anyways, I figured we should start a thread to see who can find the ugliest, most overpriced, professional djembes available on the web. I look forward to seeing your contributions.
User avatar
By michi
Wow... That's quite a spectacular example of its kind... :-(

What gets me is that, more often than not, "professional" is immediately followed by the words "djembe bongo drum". Inevitably, the accompanying picture shows a cheap Balinese knock-off made from soft wood...

To me, the various offerings by LP, Remo, etc. are all candidates for an ugly and overpriced award too:
LP Djembe
DJEMBE_GALAXY..jpg (6.82 KiB) Viewed 7148 times
Similar examples:
images.jpeg (3.23 KiB) Viewed 7148 times
djembe.jpg (44.43 KiB) Viewed 7148 times
To me, these creations couldn't be further removed from what the djembe is all about, and they somehow seem to violate the whole thing. If you took one of these Galaxy djembes to Mali, people would just shake their head. Not because the drum doesn't sound good, but because it epitomizes the manufacturer's ignorance of the spirit and tradition of this music.


User avatar
By michi
But there are other interesting and unconventional designs too.

Here is one that was made more for its artistic value than as a professional instrument, I suspect:
art-djembe.jpg (18.7 KiB) Viewed 7148 times
And this one definitely pushes the envelope:
Face_djembe.jpg (34.55 KiB) Viewed 7190 times
I'd say that last one is getting awfully close to the point where you'd have to say "that's no longer a djembe"... ;)


By bubudi
michi@triodia.com wrote:I'd say that last one is getting awfully close to the point where you'd have to say "that's no longer a djembe"...
the trade name for that is 'bongo dumbek'. makes a prime round of firewood.
User avatar
By michi
Just spotted another remarkable creation:
p82199_2.jpg (76.88 KiB) Viewed 7058 times
But this one is truly unique:
!BWwNCIgB2k~$(KGrHgoOKjcEjlLmYj(RBKY5P5wgjw~~_12.JPG (42.73 KiB) Viewed 7058 times

User avatar
By michi
bubudi wrote:is that a foot ledge for the little grommets whose feet don't touch the ground? 8)
Hey, silly me, that must be it. I should have thought of that myself... :)


User avatar
By michi
Another interesting find:
Djembe-Art-Trommeln-DA121-1.7.09.jpg (27.51 KiB) Viewed 7004 times
And another one from the same company:
Djembe-Art-Trommeln-DA122d.jpg (41.01 KiB) Viewed 7004 times
The drums are made in Germany, and the company proudly includes a photo of the inside of the foot, which is inscribed with the model number and what not:
Djembe-Art-Trommeln-DA107a.jpg (26.71 KiB) Viewed 7003 times
Notice the almost glass-like smoothness of the interior of these drums...

By the way, the first one sells for a mere € 990 ($ 1,450).

The second on is more realistically priced at € 1,450 ($ 2,100).

Truly a bargain...


User avatar
By dleufer
Here's few examples from my favourite Ebay shite-drum-supplier Novica. They claim to sell authentic fair-trade instruments but give completely false history about the djembe and don't actually sell any instruments form the countries (Guinea, Mali etc.) where the drum really originates. They make it out to be a traditional Balian instrument sometimes and at other times claim it comes from Benin.
Here's one of their finer pieces

Not so extreme as the last one but still quite over the top on the carvings and colours

And another one, the "MYSTERY~~Mahogany Djembe Drum & 2 Shakers~~Bali Jambe" with its "two detachable shakers enhance the sound. Known in Bali as ecrek"
I thought I'd better include the background on this one, here is it's creator
Who has this to offer as an explanation for why he makes dodgey drums
"I learned to make musical instruments by myself, under the guidance of no one"
Here's a link to the ebay page
http://cgi.ebay.com/MYSTERY-Mahogany-Dj ... 286.c0.m14
I alos recommend sending Novica abusive emails.

I really find this healing...
Last edited by dleufer on Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By dleufer
Here's one more beauty which comes with the tagline
"A resonant addition to any home décor, this instrument is infused with professional quality" and they also share some great bits of info such as "African drum makers usually use Tweneboa wood...there is no comparison with other woods"
User avatar
By michi
dleufer wrote:I alos recommend sending Novica abusive emails.
I very much doubt that abusive emails would make any difference.

I was surprised though to see the "in association with National Geographic" tag line. I would have hoped that National Geographic would apply due diligence and check whether the items sold are at least vaguely genuine. But apparently, their due diligence needs some due diligence...

Browsing the site, I do find quite detailed information though.
The djembe originated in Benin, where it is used during voodoo rites, and has been introduced into neighboring countries. It is indispensable in contemporary reggae.
I do learn something new every day...

I couldn't resist adding this one to the collection:
p156993_2.jpg (183.97 KiB) Viewed 6989 times
Note the quality workmanship of the verticals...


User avatar
By michi
This thread started out in the "Humour" forum. I'm not sure whether that is still appropriate. I think we need a new forum category "Depressing".

Michi. ;)
User avatar
By e2c
while I appreciate the "humor" aspect, I'm wondering if maybe .... well, I'm not sure how to put this, but as far as I'm aware, Novica is an otherwise good company, and is (to the best of my knowledge) committed to fair trade.

yes, those drums from East Asia are a mistake, but they've sold some really good Brazilian percussion instruments in the past... and I think their focus is mainly on clothing, jewelry and tableware.

Now, i have *no* problem taking Meinl, LP, Toca and the other big companies to the mat for selling overpriced, phony instruments - because they *do* know better.
User avatar
By michi
e2c wrote:Now, i have *no* problem taking Meinl, LP, Toca and the other big companies to the mat for selling overpriced, phony instruments - because they *do* know better.
Thinking about this some more, it seems that one can find the same phenomenon in just about any area of interest and product. Whether I'm into piano, guitar (name your instrument here), or sports (surfing, skiing, etc.), jewellery, clothing, camera equipment, hi-fi gear, fine arts, or whatever, there almost always are the genuine/high-quality/traditional versions, and the second- and third-tier knock-offs and copies at a lower price, as well as an outrageous price.

I guess that's fair enough--not everyone wants to buy a $600 djembe from Guinea when they start out, just as not everyone wants to buy a Steinway or Bösendorfer when they start out on the piano. And, let's face it, this is a good thing for the djembe in some ways: without the lower-priced alternatives, there would be far fewer people getting into drumming, and a lot of talent would be lost. Those people who fall in love with the djembe and discover their passion inevitably end up with a genuine traditional drum anyway.

What is sad though is the misinformation that often goes along with it all, such as the djembe having originated from Benin. Couple the misinformation with poor sound and excessive price, and the seller indeed deserves being held to account by people who know better. That's just ordinary market forces at work--the seller is at liberty to make claims about their product, just as I'm at liberty to say that I believe those claims to be vacuous.

Not surprisingly, caveat emptor applies to djembes as much as everything else. Pretty much by definition, people who buy a poor-quality overpriced drum haven't done their research, otherwise they wouldn't be buying it. And the manufacturers who sell these drum have found a market niche, specialising in buyers who don't do their research. In a sense, that's a perfect arrangement: buyer and seller both get what they want.

Meanwhile, I'll continue to point out to people who will listen that an LP djembe sounds poor, Comfort Curve II rim notwithstanding :)

And no, none of this will stop me from posting more pictures of unusual djembes here as I find them... :)


Last edited by michi on Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 8