Friday, July 31, 2009

Photos: My drums

My first drum made by Natalio "Junior" Tirado Ruiz.
My father bought it for me in 1973, this photo was taken in 1973, when I was 20 years old.
Sitting on a bench in front of Lake Pontchartrain
in New Orleans.

He bought a second one for me in 1974
(My father and I playing in my apartment in New Orleans)

21 years old,
Central Park, N.Y.C.
Three Mahogany drums made by  
Natalio "Junior" Tirado Ruiz.
An 11½' inch Tumbadora made in 1973, a 10¼' inch Tres Dos made in 1981 and a 9' inch Quinto made for me in 1994. The 10¼' Tres Dos was originally stained black, as Junior sometimes used stave's where the colors of the wood didn't match and he would stain the wood so the "off colors" wouldn't show. (As he also did with the Bongoes he made below)
I took it to 'Jay Bereck' and had him
remove the black stain and re-finish the drum, which allowed the true beauty of the Mahogany wood to show.

My 11½' inch Tumbadora made in 1973  
by Natalio "Junior" Tirado Ruiz.
I used to have another like this one, but sold it to a student of mine.

"Junior" Tirado in his early drum making days made the "V" in his hardware very wide, a full ½' inch.

A 12' inch Oak Tumbadora made for me by 'Jay Bereck' in 1980.

Jay Bereck's Oak 12' inch Tumbadora,
"Junior" Tirado's
9' inch Quinto and 10¼' inch Tres Dos.
 This is a drum my father bought in Havana for $35. in 1957.
Made of Cedar wood (Cedro). With a 10½ inch head. The lug plates look like stars with six points. The original bands were replaced with "brushed" aluminum bands.

Bongoes made of Mahogany by Natalio "Junior" Tirado Ruiz.
These were originally "painted" red not stained, to conceal the different color stave's he used. I used paint remover to take the red off, then sanded them and gave them a very light coat of wood sealer. 7½ inch Macho and 8½' inch Hembra.

These are my favorite bongoes, made in Cuba in the early to mid 1950's by drum maker and bongocero Candido Requena. Made of Cedar (Cedro). 6¼' Macho and 7' inch Hembra.
I recently sent them to master drum maker
'Matthew Smith' to have them re-finished.

I prefer to use only natural or white (bleached) "Cow" skin, which is impossible to find here in New York City.
I prefer the sound of "Cow" skin, very different than Mule. I don't like skin that you can see your hand through (opaque skin). The majority of skins (hides) sold commercially now are mostly inferior bull hide, steer hide, deer hide, horse hide, mule hide, and the cheap shitty "honey colored" skin (that you can read a newspaper through) that comes on every drum made by *Lp®.
(*Don't "trust the leader")

Los cueros - Cuba.
(Pancho Quinto; Iya - Martha Gallaraga; singer)
No "honey colored crap" for this young drummer!
Ni plastic synthetic shit either.


Blavonski said...

"No "honey colored crap" for this young drummer!
Ni plastic synthetic shit either."
Yes, and no $500.00 drums either!
Wonderful footage, beautiful!!
Is that a blend of Abakua ritual with Rumba? My roots (US),are Jazz and I love Cuban Musik and have recently began really learning about, studying and playing it (Bongo:for about 6 months; Alto sax; flute...)
I found your link on Congplace when i recently joined that Blog. Your Blog is fantastic, a bit overwhelming for a newbee and if I'm not careful, I can sit here for hours listening to the wonderful music you've posted. Is there any way of downloading (Mp3)some of what I really like here? My knowledge of the history and the musicians is limited to what I can get from libraries (Berlin Germany)and maybe some record shops. The development of Cuban music seems to parallel that of Jazz and other African American musical forms in so many ways. Yet, what I find ever more fascinating and attractive about Kuban music is the varied emotions and love of life and playfulness that is expresses and is often, these days,lacking in Jazz. There are many reasons for that of course, but I assume that Rhythm being a primary element of Cuban music is one, where by Jazz can get bogged down with complex harmonies and forget all about the Swing that it needs to celebrate life with that Folk can relate to. Ok, I'l stop here.
Thanks for this site, it's an obvious labour of love.
Til next time,

Fidels Eyeglasses said...

Thanks for stopping by Blavonski, glad you had fun looking around, yes it's a "labor of love".