The udu drum is an all clay musical instrument based on the Nigerian side-hole pot drum. Its traditional form is that of a narrow necked, vase-like vessel, with a circular hole in the side in addition to the opening at the top.

     Frank Giorgini first learned to make the udu drum from Abbas M. Ahuwan of Zaria, Nigeria in 1974. In this comprehensive, interdisciplinary DVD Frank demonstrates the traditional Nigerian method of constructing an udu drum from clay into a finished functioning musical instrument. The entire process is clearly presented in a real time step-by-step instruction.

     “In this DVD I teach what I consider the most traditional and best method for constructing an all clay udu drum of the highest quality. If you follow these instructions, you’ll be able to create a superior udu drum.” – Frank Giorgini

Also included is an “Ode to Abbas,” a documentary tribute to Frank’s teacher Abbas M. Ahuwan, including archival documentary footage.

 

Run time: Approximately 2 hours

 

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<br />About Udu Drums

The udu drum is made entirely of clay, in the form of a narrow necked, vase-like vessel, with a circular hole in the side in addition to the opening at the top. The playing technique for the traditional drum varies considerably from one region to another and one player to another, but the basic technique incorporates drumming on the side hole while selectively opening and closing the top hole to modulate the air chamber resonance with the other hand. The sound is one of deep air resonance articulated by quick, bright percussion, at times light and bubbly and at times profound. Bent tones resulting from the player’s modulation of the apertures can be reminiscent of tablas or talking drums.

 

 

 
Frank’s Story

“In the summer of 1974, I had the opportunity to live and work with a group of African artists at the Haystack Mountain School of Art and Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. As a result of this unique cultural exchange, I learned the little known art of making the all clay side-hole pot drum. The origins of this instrument can be traced to central and southern Nigeria. It is the invention of some ancient village potter who struck a hole in the side of a traditional clay water vessel and discovered the resonating sound that could be produced. The man who first introduced me to the side-hole pot drum is Abbas M. Ahuwan, a Kaji potter, artist, and professor at Amadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria. From the teachings of Abbas at Haystacks, I learned the traditional Nigerian pottery techniques that are employed to create the clay drum.

 

“The word ‘udu’ means both pottery and peace in the Ibo language of Nigeria. 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.”

 

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Meet the Artist

Frank Giorgini is an artist, designer, teacher, and author living in upstate New York, USA. He has a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture and ceramics from Southern Illinois University and a degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute, New York. He has been teaching courses in Architectural Tile Design at Parsons School of Design in New York City for the past thirteen years.

 

 
Frank is considered the designer of the modern udu drum. He first learned the little known traditional Nigerian pottery techniques for forming all clay side hole pot drum from Abbas M. Ahuwan in 1974. Frank introduced the udu drum into the United States and through his efforts the sound of the udu drum has affected contemporary music on a global scale. This phenomena has resulted in revitalizing traditional clay drum production in Nigeria. Udu drums made by Frank Giorgini were entered into the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1985. His drums are used by the world’s leading percussionists and are in private and corporate art collections.
 
Under Ahuwan’s tutelage, Giorgini learned the traditional Nigerian pottery techniques used to create the all-clay drums. Giorgini began forming the instruments by ancient, time-tested methods: pounding, shaping, smoothing, drying, and firing the soft, earthen clay – the whole process taking about a month for each drum. He also consulted and collaborated with percussionists, including Jamey Haddad. Together, Giorgini and Haddad designed a two-chambered udu, the “hadgini,” and a system for attaching internal microphones to the drums
 
Purchase the DVD $49.95
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