Hand Selected Hardwood:
The finest log rounds of hard Lenke, Guenou (Khadi), Dugoura (Doukie) and Djala (Akajou) are collected, rough carved and dried. Bamako's expert finish carvers add the detailed line carvings characteristic of these drums.
Tough quality Goat Skins:
Mali goat skins are known for their dry, clear tones. They are often beautifully spotted and extremely tough.The deep, round bowl shape and straight flaring trumpet, combined with savannah raised and super tough Mali goatskins produce the rich and dry tones and slaps these drums are famous for!
Mali Sustainably Harvested Drum Woods:
The cutting of hardwood trees is regulated by the Malian authorities. The foresters are operators registered with the government. They respect the legislation in force for this type of activity in collaboration with the "Direction Nationale des Eaux and Forests". Most of those hardwood types are harvested in the Sikasso region. The finished shells will dry in our drying rooms for a minimum three months and up to one year.
Mali Blacksmiths are master sculptors and they represent a special caste. Of national prominence is the name Fane'. A master blacksmith is working with several apprentices doing the rough work and giving the primary form to the djembe. The work of the master is precise. The thickness of the drum must be constant, the inside and the outside of the djembe is carved fairly smooth. It takes 1 full day to finish carve a drum. The finished shell is coated with Shea butter inside/outside to prevent cracking of the wood while drying. Hawkdancing is working with several blacksmiths. Some of them are located in the capital Bamako, others prefer working in their village like Kassela, Selenke' or Bougouni. Some forenames of the Fane' blacksmiths are: Bakardian, Abou, Adama, Bado, Lassine, Modibo.
Master Wood Carvers:
Our master sculptor, Mamadou Coulibaly, is decorating the foot of the drums. His artistic creativity is remarkable, transforming every drum in a unique master piece.Before being prepared for the assembly, every shell is inspected by Modibo Fane', a master blacksmith, and adjusted where necessary. Some shells are not completely round anymore after drying, and are rejected. The welder forms and welds the iron rings (8mm) adjusted to the diameter of the drum with great precision. Every shell is manually scraped and smoothed with sandpaper. This operation will reveal the veins of the wood and give a clean appearance. Playing edge on the drums is evenly rounded for extra comfort while playing. Shells will get a new treatment with Shea butter inside. The outside is protected with a preparation based on wild bush bee wax.
Professional Djembe Drum Assembly:
Iron rings are covered with a satin ribbon to avoid rust. Assemblers prepare closely aligned threading knots on the rings. Vertical ropes of pre-stretched 5 mm PES rope are added.
Shaved goatskins with adequate thickness without faults in relation to the drum diameter are selected. The spine of the goat skin will always be in the center of the playing surface. Special attention is given to the iron rings remaining horizontal on tightening. Once assembled the skins will dry for a period of 3 to 5 days. Than the vertical rope will be pulled as hard as possible. Drum builders in our shop are paid 3 times the legal minimum salary to create a team with loyalty, job satisfaction, and to assure a high level of consistant quality. Moreover, well paid workers will have all their attention to their work as they don't have to worry sustaining their families.