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     During the past 25 or so years there has been a steady rise in interest and practice of playing hand drums of all types. Although there are many thousands of people playing drums the knowledge of technique has not yet caught up to the general interest level. I feel that the role the drum has played and continues to play can be better appreciated by developing a respect for the cultural traditions associated with hand drums. By learning to hear and feel rhythm accurately, one can glimpse the ingenuity and genius of those whose knowledge has passed down to us.

     The language of the drum and drum lore are oral knowledge transmitted from one person to another through time. Thus what is known now comes from the past, from those who knew then. By studying the oral tradition one honors both those who came before us and those who preserve this knowledge in the present.

     Give honor and respect to the teacher of oral tradition.

     In the chaos of the modern world, the drum remains an unchanging anchor to the far distant past. One learns the drum following the same path that the ancients discovered.


     Joe Platz is a Drum-maker, Teacher, and Performer living in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.  He has studied percussion for twenty-five years.  During that time he has travelled to Africa and twice to Cuba to study his craft.  He has been fortunate to study with many notable master drummers including (Cuba) Mario Jauregiu of the Conjunto Folclorico, Guillemo Lopez, Candido Zayas (singing), the great Dou-Dou N'diaye Rose, Master drummer of Senegal; (N.Y.) Fellipe Garcia Villamil, Richard "Pablo" Landrum.

     Joe has also accompanied dance and lectured at the Five College System locally.  He has formed two bands during this time, as well as performing Afro-Latin Jazz.  In addition, he maintains a drum making workshop producing hand-drums of all types; ashiko, djimbe, djun-djun, congas, bata, log drums, bongue drums, as well as bamboo flutes, cuicas, claves and other percussion instruments of original design.

     Joe also teaches, daily, in his studio, adjacent to his workshop.  For almost twenty five years he has had continuous classes and private students. Some classes have run as long as four years.  He is currently working with and teaching his son the entire craft. He enjoys teaching the folklore of the drum immensely.






Last Updated: 15-May-98

Authors: Randy Scanlon

Richard Mensoff

; copyright 1998