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About Dontambor

 
 
Actually I learned to play rhythm from dance. I have always been a dancer. When I was a small child my parents would take me out with them to a restaurant/bar and gave me some coins for the jukebox. I would play some tunes and proceed to dance for everyone. My first instrument at about age 6 was a play drum set purchased for my Christmas present. I was not impressed by the tonal quality, so I proceeded to remove pots and pans from the cupboards and arrange them on the floor, thereby producing a much better effect.  
My formal training with music began in grade school, playing brass instruments and later grade 9 – 12 studying and performing the French Horn. The senior year I performed solo with Erie Philharmonic Junior Symphony.  
The last year at High School we formed a trio. I played 12 string guitar, blues harp and conga. For the next 10 years I played only guitar and sang in various groups. Then at my acreage in the Kootenay Mountains in B.C., Canada one night at a men’s meeting I discovered my love for the hand drums, playing an “upside down garbage can”. That year I woke up one morning and said: “I’m going to carve a drum today.” I went out back to a standing dead cedar tree and began to carve a conga without cutting the tree down. This was 1975, I believe.  
In 1976 I discovered Yelapa and the beautiful tropical rain forest, with mahogany and rosewood trees growing.  
The type of rosewood I carve is called Cocabola one of the hardest and most beautiful hardwoods on this planet.  
 
For the past 22 years I have been playing professionally with world beat African, Reggae Calypso and Latin groups both in Canada, West Coast and Mexico. My winters are spent in Yelapa, playing Music and carving these African style hand drums. D’jembe, talking drum and saba, etc.. 
 
I have the knowledge of how to produce the ultimate professional sound by using the best woods, the most perfect goat skins available and various techniques learned over the years from Africans and trial and error. I also repair and re-do as well as re-skin other hand drums as part of my livelihood.  
 
Only recently I have decided to share my knowledge and expertise as well as pure joy of playing the hand drum. Starting this year, I will make various hand carved drums available on the internet for order.  
 
Also I have decided to share my talent and skill drum making by offering a week long course in Yelapa on the land above the waterfall. After spending a week making your own drum, it is my intention to bring various players to have a hands-on workshop drum circle at the end of the week. For further information please look up my workshop schedule… 
 
Dontambor 
 

(c) Don Whitley - Made with the help of Populus.org.
Last modified on 20.10.2004
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