This is a fantastic drum. Very well made. Very comfortable to play. Highly recommended.
The skin uses a modern synthetic Skyndeep head which feels very realistic and has the advantage of staying in tune while you play or under different conditions unlike the more traditional lizard or fish skin. Another advantage is that the drum is made without putting these endangered creatures at risk, well done Remo!
The jingle has a great tone and is crisp with a fast attack sound. The closed stroke can be played muted or with more of a slap sound depending on your hand position.
The magic of the kanjira truly comes through with the wonderful tones you can get by squeezing the skin as you play, it can sound a little like tabla or talking drum and is beautifully expressive.
One. Important thing to note is that is is shipped with the skin tuned very high, much tighter than is correct for kanjira. This is easily solved with the small tuning key. Loosen the skin to really develop those bass tones. (If you're not sure how to tune it listen online through good speakers or headphones to great players such as Selvaganesh, Hari Shankar or Pete Lockett, you'll hear the fantastic modulating bass sound that you don't hear when listening on an iPad or phone).
I play the kanjira both traditionally, holding in the left and striking with the right using the Indian Split Hand Method as a traditional Carnatic player would but it is also a fantastic instrument to play in a modern, hybrid fashion using one or two hands, finder tips etc, like a small frame drum / ocean drum or a Riq in both soft or classical positions.
Do not underestimate this drum, it's truly one of the best percussion instruments I've ever played, it might be small but it has a large range of sounds. I would choose this over any other frame drum or tambourine or pandeiro if I could only have one in my collection.
This could be my favourite drum, I love it as much as my top of the range congas, and it's much easier to carry!
Speaking of which, one thing to be aware of is that the skin is quite thin, this is an accurate representation of the monitor lizard skin. It does feel quite strong and because it should be tuned low, there isn't a huge amount of tension on it but I strongly suggest you also buy a protective bag or case for it if you are planning on carrying it around with you (you almost certainly will want to!). I use the Meinl Padded Kanjira bag which is absolutely excellent and fully protects the instrument.
The kanjira is not hugely loud. Will be fine in a traditional Carnatic group. Although it's not very loud it does cover a broad tonal range so can cut through over other drums although for any live performances you'll likely use a mic. I've found that a DPA and / or an SM57 work well.
Being able to play it quieter, the drum has the advantage that you can practice it late at night.
A truly perfect instrument, deceptively simple, huge tonal and percussive properties, easy to pick up, a lifetime of fun in playing and learning to master. I could not be happier with it.
Remo ET-8227-00 Traditional Indian Kanjira - hand drum from the Eastern collection. Synthetic Skyndeep® lizard graphic drumhead attached to an Acousticon® shell with a 30-degree radial bearing edge....
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