A Drum That Will Last Me a Lifetime

The Journey Sarai Humble took to bring her Shamanic Tribal Drum from Heart to Hand.

The welcome I received at Wild Irish Drums was warm, with firm handshakes, bright smiles, good humour and cups of tea. We sat around the kitchen table discussing the quality of each skin for the drum I was to make. Daithí and Michelle had an awesome array of skins to choose from and samples of each already made into a drum for me to try. These were displayed across their kitchen wall. There was Red deer, elk, mustang, reindeer and buffalo. For a while the air was filled with steady rhythms and interchanging tones. The qualities of each were explained in great detail. Still a little unsure, I was brought into the other room to examine each hide. These were large rolls beautifully displayed in the corner. These people were not doing things by halves. Eventually, I chose the buffalo. It suited the use I wanted the drum for are it was four directional and all encompassing. It also would not find the damp Irish weather so softening in skin and sound. Then came the task of choosing which part and cutting the skin. We discussed tonality of the skin and I given the choice of several areas of skin. It was fascinating that each parts of the hide will bring different tones and energy qualities to the drum. Daithí and myself held the skin and marked according to the rim. I was given the choice of two rims, Oak and Ash, both formed and made by Daithí himself. I was left to my own devices under Daithí capable eye but felt comfortable that if I got stuck I could ask for help.

Once the skin was cut into a round, it was outside to the shed. The skin itself was submerged in water to soak for 24 hours. It was explained to me the making of a drum was not a quick process and each part took time to craft from the beginning! My rim was loaded into a vise and the pattern I had chosen was drawn onto the rim. I was asked if I was comfortable using a engraver and was given free reign. Daithí kept checking in but not interfering. He stressed many times over the weekend of how this was my drum and my creation.

           

A few weeks previous I had been given the instruction to find a stick for my beater. We considered what was needed and I was guided to find a Holm Oak, that in it self was another adventure. The stick that I had brought was loaded onto the lathe and Daithí showed me the techniques used on the lathe. Then as always he stepped aside and patiently guided me in the use of the lathe. My stick began to take shape and develop, beautifully! He shared tricks and cheats along the way and the jokes were plentiful! There was no begrudging of knowledge with this man!

         

After the rim and the stick were completed it was back into the kitchen where the fire was blazing and once again cups of tea were in abundance. Daithí’s lovely wife Michelle sat with us as we cut yet more hide into lacings, these were to bind the drum. She herself was a wealth of knowledge. Her crystals came out and she helped me decide which crystals were suited to the rattle I was putting on the end of my beater. Lacings finally cut, it was back to the shed to allow these to soak. Hearing I had a daughter, Daithí once again fired up the lathe and began to carve me a present to bring home to her. The kindness and generosity flowed from these people and kept on flowing! As there was a few hours of daylight he began to show me how to whittle a spoon. The three of us sat outside around a fire each whittling upon our own projects. Thank god it wasn’t a race for I would’ve definitely come last.

After a beautiful spread and good company shared over dinner and the course of the evening, I was to bed! The room I was offered was bright and clean and beautifully laid out with all I needed. It had been a very full day and the excitement of the next was upon me.

The following day, after a few coffees and breakfast with Michelle (Daithí was already off working), a few others had arrived and he multitasked in teaching them in the art of rattle making and assisting me. I was shown how to punch and lace my drum. This required lots of brute strength and Daithí often lent a helping hand when I wasn’t quite strong enough. 16 holes of lacing later and a half day later, my drum was laced. The sound was already developing and my excitement growing.

It was a warming by the fire in the kitchen and a feast of a beautifully laid out buffet by Michelle then it was off into the cars, a little off-roading in the back of the pick up to a stunning site down the road. There were trees of Yew and Ash 700-1000 years old, a place of magic to birth the drums.

Still unassuming, Daithí explained the process of breathing your energy into the drum. He lit Copal and mugwort and smudged each drum to allow them to enter into and altered state. Each of us were given green sacred tobacco to gift to the four directions with our intent. We were to journey with our drums and find their purpose. As mine was still wet I could not play my drum but using breath-work I could still journey. Daithí played and my visions began to dance with the smoke and my new drum. My drum will not be clear in its complete journey until I can play its voice but I got strong images of what it might be.

                     

Back at the house a a cup of tea, I prepared myself for the drive home. I asked about the herbs that were burnt and was pleasantly surprised when they said they had all these herbs for sale. A large array was brought out as well as books and incense, crystals and other glorious treasures. They knew exactly the origins of each item and once again impressed me with the detail of knowledge they held about their product. A few euros lighter, a couple of blisters and allot of contentment I finally took my leave.

The drive home with my new drum was magnificent. It rode shotgun with me and tingled under my fingertips each time I reached out to stroke it. It is a drum that will last me a lifetime. After this weekend I am impressed with the truth of knowledge that this wonderful couple have. They are so willing and generous in their sharing of their knowledge and their workspace and home. I have seen other drum making courses but can honestly say there would be no way that a drum could be made and birthed in a day. It takes time and energy to do properly. Each step of the way I felt guided and under no pressure. I was met with patience and understanding with no judgment in my limitations. It was a shared space for the time I was there and I look forward to my next workshop with this pair. Without hesitation I recommend the experience of this workshop or any others that Wild Irish Drums host. If you are not able to attend a workshop then their products have quality and beauty in the ones they not only craft, but also supply.

   

Sarai Humble is a yoga and sound practitioner. To learn more about her and how her magical sounds (now including a N. American Bison Tribal drum) you can reach her via Facebook HERE or check out her website by clicking HERE.

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