Friday, October 2, 2015

Cleaning Gourds

          Cleaning gourds can be a time consuming affair. But from my experience it can be quite easy, the key is to be patient for it work. Let's start with the exterior of the gourd, normally gourds are dirty. This is just mold, and dirt dried up. If you are allergic, you might want to have a mask on when handling, and cleaning gourds. And trust me once you get inside the gourds there will be large and fine particles that you need to be aware of and gourd dust gets everywhere! Make sure to have a mask on for that!

The best way I found to clean gourds is to soak them. Use some large rags in a small amount of bleach and water. And wrap your gourds in them, let them soak for an hour or so and removing the grime will be very easy with a scrubber. Sometimes you get patches on the gourd that are white-yellowish, that is normal. And these areas can be a little more difficult to clean off.  So re-soak with wet towels, and re-scrub this area with a brillo pad, Stainless steel, or a pot scrubber. This should remove any dirt from your gourd, and get you ready to start cleaning the inside of the gourd!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


My passion for the Chekere started back in 1978 when I first heard them being played at a private event. It was like magic had happened to me that moment. I couldn't move. I just stood there listening and watching... everything was beautiful that day, the sun, the outdoors, just perfect. The tones that were coming from the magical Instruments were simple yet complex which formed a balanced poly rhythmic pattern. I tried to listen to all the separate parts, but it was just to hard for my ears at the time.

It would be another year while attending a house party that I would see the Instruments again, but this time I was ready! The beaded instrument originating from the African diaspora by way of Cuba was here in front of my eyes. In front of every one's eyes who was there for this festive event. It was a second chance encounter that I would remember and quite frankly enforce my passion for the Instrument!

I've always thought that some people will have a special calling towards a certain goal or thing in life.... That could be religion, academics, music or anything of individual importance that people pursue. But, the calling for me was the Chekeres. I've never been drawn towards something like this, maybe it's something in the tones! Its a little difficult to explain at times, but it seems all is right when I'm working with them.

In one way or another it can really help you. Maybe it's the creative side balancing it all out! The methodical slow pace of stringing the beads on the gourd can help a person immensely. Sometimes slowing things down in life can do wonders for your health and mind.

Stay tuned for more information!