The UDU DRUM is a clay pot drum modeled after the Nigerian side hole pot drum. This drum is made entirely of clay with a narrow neck, vase-like vessel, and a circular hole in the side in addition to the opening at the top. The technique to play this traditional drum varies from one region to another as well as from one player to another. Basically, playing incorporates drumming on the side hole while selectively opening and closing the top hole. The opening and closing up top moves the air inside the vessel while the other hand creates additional resonance. The result is a music with dual tones. With both kinds of sounds, the Udu drum is part idiophone and part aerophone — and zero parts membranophone. It has no skin or membrane head. The sound is a deep air resonance articulated by quick, bright percussion. It also produces light and bubbly sounds making the rhythm at times profound. “Bent tones resulting from the player’s modulation of the apertures can be reminiscent of tablas or talking drums” (Experimental Musical Instruments Vol 5 Feb 1990).
The Udu Drum is also known as the side hole pot drum and has many different names in Nigeria, depending on tribal areas and ceremonies in which it is used. “Abang mbre” or “pot for playing” is the name that has been generally ascribed to it. Some believe the deep haunting sound particular to the drum is the “voice of the ancestors” when used in religious ceremonies.
I have been making pottery since 1987, a hobby I picked up after college. In 2007, I followed a childhood dream of mine to take drum lessons. I learned on the African Drum, the Ube, modelled after the traditional DJembe from Ubaka Hill. This is when I learned about the Udu Drum, and I have been bonded ever since to this drum. In the summer of 2019, I personally met Frank Giorgini when I enrolled in his Udu Drum workshop in the Catskills of New York. This was the workshop’s 30th anniversary, and it included his professor and mentor of the Udu Drum, Abbas M. Ahuwan, who traveled from Nigeria with his wife Martha to co-teach this workshop. Being there was one of my dreams coming true.
My 1st Udu Drum made in 2007.
I call my drums UDU DRUMS, but the side hole pot drum has many different names in Nigeria, depending on tribal areas and ceremonies in which it is used. “Abang mbre” or “pot for playing” is the name that was generally ascribed to it. Some believe the deep haunting sound particular to the drum is the “voice of the ancestors” when used in religious ceremonies.
Now, I form each of my handmade drums true to the traditional techniques that were handed down to me from Abbas M. Ahuwan and Frank Giorgini. These drums are created by pounding clay with flat rocks, and then one coil at a time is formed and added with precise technique all the way to the top to completion. I use various tools including my hands to make the coils as Abbas taught me. In addition, I shape the drum with wooden paddles, then burnish the surface with a smooth gemstone for a beautiful luster-filled finish. The drums are not thrown on a potter’s wheel, which was how I created my original drums before learning from the gurus Frank Giorgini and Abbas M. Ahuwan.
I just finished setting up my art studio in my home, and I am excited to start making more drums. There are a few currently in progress as well as some being painted and decorated.I play the Udu Drum every morning, throughout the day, and even at bedtime. It serves as my mediation and relaxation. Most beneficial for me is the healing I feel and experience from the peaceful waves of soothing sounds as well as the Reiki symbols and healing I embed in every drum all along the creation process, one coil at a time.
My unique Frum Drum Udu Drum is personalized with embedded Reiki healing throughout the creation process. As a Reiki Master and healer, I also was blessed to be in the right place at the right time when my friend Abbas fell ill during the workshop week. I offered my Reiki healing to Abbas, and 15 minutes later he stood up and declared “you healed me.” I have truly, truly magical and incredible memories of a lifetime in my journey to Frank Giorgini’s Udu Drum Workshop with Abbas, Martha, and their family. I look forward to sharing more.