Wenzi, which means “company” in Swahili, is functional art that can be played by a single person or a group. The instrument consists of three separate drums –a rhythmic high, a rhythmic low and a melody — displayed in a sleek, sculptural stand.
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About Our Tongue Drums
About the Artist
Teachers said it over and over when I pounded on desks, lockers, books: “That's not a drum.”
But I never quite outgrew it. Years later in arts college, my vocal coach caught me tapping out a beat in class and handed me his djembe to keep rhythm. From there another student who worked at a techno club recruited me to drum for her deejay, but I still didn't own an actual drum — so I took the professor's djembe to the job.
After that I started collecting percussion instruments and, in a throwback to the school teachers, working them into music where they seemed out of place: African drums in a folk tune, a Swiss-made drum in a love song. Since I like to work with my hands, eventually I decided to try making my own drums. With the woodworking guidance from my dad, who builds furniture as a hobby, and after seeking out the perfect balance between sound and aesthetics, I launched Boxed Music.
When I tell people I make drums, they often get a mental picture that doesn't fit. Seeing my product sometimes only makes it more confusing. One person thought I'd forgotten to add strings. I try to construct my drums with a simple beauty that both a musician and an art collector can appreciate. And while I'm making them, I sometimes keep beat at my workbench with wrenches and mallets. Because the way I see it, there's potential for music everywhere. And sometimes, in the most unlikely places, there is a drum.