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Master Mali Series Djembes vs. Intermediate/Basic Pro Series Djembes

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mali djembe

You’ve probably noticed that our Master Mali Series djembes are quite a step-up in price from our Intermediate and Basic Pro Series djembes.All the drums available on motherrhythm.com are quality-performing instruments, however the Master Mali Series are a step up in all aspects. They are the BMW of djembes, for lack of a better comparison. Master djembe players (djembe folas) as well as professional percussionists can be found playing this type of drum. All Master Mali Series djembes are completely hand-carved, down to the hollowing-out of the shell by master artisan carvers. We also took great care in ensuring that these drums are from a Lacey Act-certified, sustainable wood source. We’ve said this time and again: perpetuating the cycle of purchasing djembes sourced from illegal wood provides much more detriment to Mother Nature than the rhythms you play on drums carved from them will ever benefit you as a player. These drums are also truly flawless down to the minutest detail. Master Mali Series djembes 100% adhere to tradition in that their materials and construction processes all take place in Mali, Africa (the country of origin for the djembe). This last aspect is especially important for those purist players, where country of origin is of utmost importance.

By contrast, Intermediate Series and Basic Pro Series djembes are lathe-turned on a machine to cut down on costs. Good care is still taken in the carving of these instruments by artisan carvers, although the carver may spend less time on each individual drum to enhance efficiency and expediency and thus keep costs low. In instances where the djembe is made of wood, we ensure that the wood comes from an eco-friendly, sustainable, Lacey Act-certified source. Such djembes are usually carved in Indonesia. Players of these drums span the spectrum from beginners to professional percussionists such as Leon Mobley. Major brands such as Toca, X8, Freedom, and Meinl will consist of drums from this category for the most part. Some companies will be dishonest in stating that these drums are “African.” Perhaps a more ethical approach would be to call these “African Style” djembes, as although these are generally great drums, they are are NOT African in the true sense of the word. Drums from Ghana, Africa can sometimes fall in this category as well, however drums coming out of Ghana are often lower in quality compared to drums coming out of Indonesia. It is therefore important to read about what makes a quality djembe. Purists sometimes make the mistake of assuming that just because a drum comes from Africa, it must be of high quality and that if a drum comes from Indonesia it’s of low quality. Rather than making this assumption, we encourage you to research what makes a quality djembe and make your decision from there. Good quality and bad quality drums can come from anywhere in the world.

Some djembe enthusiasts become so focused on country of origin that they will call any djembe not made in Africa a “fake.” This, in our opinion, is elitist and extreme. If we were to use this same logic, that would mean that any guitar not made in Spain is not a real guitar (the country of origin for the guitar is Spain). Or that any car that isn’t a BMW is not a real car (We wonder what we’ve been driving all this time then?) Mother Rhythm Drums came about because of the inspiration of the positive and all-inclusive nature of drumming. A player should by no means be required to spend over $500 to participate in something as intrinsic and community-oriented as a drum circle. This degree of exclusivity is unhealthy and not what we’re about as a company or people. With that said, we also want to provide the best of the best for the collector or someone who simply wants to spend the extra money for the pristine perfection and elegance that the Master Mali Series djembes provide. We have something for everyone in this regard.

Be Well In Rhythm and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us or comment below.

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