Clunky Djembe

Paul Dodd and his Djembe
Paul Dodd and his Djembe

We played a gallery opening in the old Jazzberry’s space over the summer and I brought my djembe instead of the drum kit. The old firehouse space has high ceilings and all sorts of vintage printing equipment scattered about yet the sound is warm with just right amount of ambience. Bob Martin stopped by with a cd of this gig and I glanced over at my djembe as it started playing. There was a big crack in the goatskin head. This happened once before, about ten years ago when we were playing happy hours at the Bug Jar. I had Tom at Toko Drums in Ithaca put a new head on back then and he did a great job. So yesterday we drove down to Ithaca to pay him another visit.

Tom is old school all the way. He still takes photos of his customers when they buy a drum, 35 mm photos on film, and puts them up on the walls like they do at Vic & Irvs but Tom has thousands. We still haven’t spotted the one he took of us when I bought a conga drum a few years back. He has a one page website and he doesn’t do email. His shop, in the same building as the Moosewood Restaurant, looks just like it has for twenty years. Percussion instruments, incense and funky hats, no drum sets or cymbals. He is a master craftsman when it comes to hand drum repair.

We strolled up and down the Commons and had dinner at a corner bar. Ithaca College and Cornell kids in flip flops were everywhere and some had their clunky parents in tow. The kids looked pretty clunky too and we felt like clunky strangers but it was all pretty dreamy. Stop out and see Margaret Explosion tonight at the Little Cafe. We have a dreamy set lined up.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *