As a quick recap, my goal is to craft (in clay) indigenous musical instruments from the loci of a series of endangered species, all of which were chronicled in Douglas Adams book. To this point, I’ve built a Maori Hue Puruhau with a kakapo design… but plump, flightless, randy parrots are only the beginning…
The Ngoma is sourced from the rainforest, with roots in Uganda and the surrounding area. ‘Ngoma’ is actually the name for a suite of instruments used in the area- the specific design that I’m working with is an ‘engalabi’. It’s a bulbous-headed affair- some times referred to (indiscreetly) as ‘the long drum’
First off- I think I may want to throw something a bit bigger- maybe go for a full three-four feet in height. Secondly, the largest of the pair (congas roll well as matched sets) is a bit bulgier at the top than I’d like. I threw that particular drum in two pieces. Compound, assembled forms are still a bit of an adventure for me.
Finally, there’s the interesting question of drum-head attachment. Many engalabi drum-heads are woven on (this is easy enough with a ceramic drum), but most congas have tunable adjustment slides. These are about $25 each at the local music store- I’d need six. Factor in the uncertainty in boring screw holes in clay (clay shrinks) and the process starts to look a bit sketchy. Fortunately, traditional conga drum-heads were pegged directly to the drum… I can mimic this with pre-bored holes and carriage bolts.
In terms of etchings, I’ve played around with a number of sketches of both species. In the case of mountain gorillas, I’ve elected to work with the juveniles. Gorillas straddle an interesting line, aesthetically speaking. They’re anthropomorphic enough that we react a bit uneasily at times- they don’t have the alien beauty of a tiger or deer. However, young gorillas are an unambiguously delight- there’s a fierce playfulness in that gaze.
I’ve tried to flip between a facial profile and a trio of babys swinging in a bamboo grove. I won't really know the outcome until things are fired, however- Raku tends to make its own rules.
The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi
"...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. " ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey
It’s ironic that a creature built like a tank effectively falls into such a categorization. Human beings are making a habit of monkeying with Darwin, unfortunately.