Meinl has launched a new range of djembes that offers the kind of superior build quality, sound and looks not always found on handmade traditional style models. Though of African origin these Professional African Style Djembes are made in Indonesia and come in two solid mahogany models with different carved finishes. Standing 24in tall with a 12in head diameter, each drum is carved from a solid piece of plantation grown mahogany and comes in a choice of ‘village’ carved shell or traditional hewn shell, both with polished finishes. The drum is fitted with a high quality goatskin head and the bearing edge is smoothly sanded with a soft deep roll that is decidedly hand friendly. Both drums have the traditional Mali-weave tuning system with thirty vertical runners, all made from prestretched 5mm HTP black nylon rope, that keeps the head properly balanced. Straight from the box and correctly tensioned at the factory these drums immediately impress with a bright cutting slap, a deep resonant bass tone in the centre and clean open tones. The tone and fullness of sound is amongst the best I’ve tried in traditional djembes, with a broad spectrum that goes from firecracker rim slaps to a deep bass that really projects and is a testament to the high quality heads and the accuracy of the tuning system – often weak points on most cheaper models. Priced at £226 and £198 respectively they come with a tuning instruction booklet and rope strap. (JN) For more go to

Natal, one of the classic names in British manufacturing has relaunched, or might it be reintroduced, exact replicas of their 1960s conga line. Like the originals, they are made from fibreglass using the original Natal moulds. Fitted with comfort hoops and hide heads, the set consists of an 11” conga and a 12” tumba and to keep the ring of authenticity, they are finished in a genuine 1960s dribble red on black finish, now renamed Splatter.

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Most percussionists will know that bongos have been a core product of the Meinl range for some years. So what’s with this “free ride” I hear you ask. Simple really. For the first time ever, by using a suspension system attached to the bottom rims, a pair of Bongos have been able to resonate freely, without the need for drilling into the Bongo shells to fit the wood block. The free ride system is now standard on all Meinl Professional Series Bongos and it is true to say that you really can hear the difference. The shells are definitely more responsive, particularly on the fibreglass models.  

After the acclaimed Compact Conga, it was only a matter of time before LP would come up with the Compact Bongos. And what a product! Once again designed in collaboration with master percussionist Giovanni Hildalgo, these fully tuneable full size 7 1/4” and 8 5/6” heads, utilise the same aluminium alloy as their illustrious predecessors. Responding well to intricate hand patterns, they can also be played to good effect with drumsticks, producing a sound that is remarkably close to standard bongos. For those who wish to stand, or include a pair in with their kit, LP have produced the Compact Bongo Stand, designed to securely mate the top post/internal mounting mechanism with the upper portion of the stand. The stand is fully height adjustable with double-braced legs and generous non-slip rubber feet, giving a super solid base for even the most explosive of rhythm aces!

After the runaway success of the LP compact conga, it was only a matter of time before LP would introduce the conga’s perfect travelling companion, the Lug-Edge compact conga back pack. This highly durable back pack made out of heavy duty nylon corduroy with strong metal hardware, not only holds two compact congas but will also carry two snare drum stands with a special compartment for percussion accessories. All together it’s everything you need to set up and play.

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