Gourd Drum

In 1727, William Byrd of Virginia ventured into North Carolina with a surveying party. During his visit to a Meherrin Indian Town he noted in his diary: “The instrument they danced to was an Indian drum, that is, a large gourd with a skin braced taught over the mouth of it.”

Large gourd drums are often used in dance ceremonies. The construction of these drums begin with a dried gourd used as the resonating chamber and a skin drumhead stretched over the top.

Water Drum

Water drums are often made of cedar with hide/skin stretched over the top. A small portion of a log is hollowed out and waterproofed. Water is then poured into the bottom of the drum. The hide/skin is stretched over the top of the drum. The wet leather is then tightened before a rim is added to hold the stretched leather in place. The singer tests the drum and listens for a nice high tone. Adjustments are made until the drum has the right pitch.

Water drums are considered sacred instruments and are often used in healing ceremonies and other important rituals. The sound of the water drum is believed to have a soothing and calming effect on the body and mind.

The use of water in the drum is also symbolic of the our belief in the importance of water as a life-giving force and a sacred element of the natural world. The water in the drum represents the flow of life and the interconnectedness of all living beings.

Traditional Water Drum with Woodchuck/Groundhog skin, used by native people in North Carolina.

Traditional Water Drum with Woodchuck/Groundhog skin, used by native people in North Carolina.

Powwow Drum

Powwow drums are large, round drums used in Native American powwow music and dance ceremonies. They are traditionally made from a wooden frame, and a stretched animal hide, typically from a cow, buffalo, or moose.

The drum is usually played by a group of drummers who sit around it and strike it with drumsticks. The sound of the drum provides the rhythm for the dancers and singers to follow, and it is considered the heartbeat of the powwow.

Powwow drums are often decorated with painted designs that have symbolic meaning to the people who use them. 

In many Native American cultures, the powwow drum is considered a sacred object that holds great spiritual power. It is often treated with reverence and respect, and it is believed to connect the people who play it with the natural world and the spiritual realm.