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Tome On The Range

Give The Drummer Some: The Instruments Of Jaki Liebezeit
The Quietus , January 25th, 2020 07:28

In an exclusive extract from his new book, Jaki Liebezeit: Life, Theory and Practice of a Master Drummer, Jono Podmore takes us through the instruments that contributed to the former Can drummer's unique sound and playing style


A double-headed Turkish drum and a favourite instrument of Jaki’s. He made these examples himself by customising a 20-inch bass drum shell and a 16-inch tom. The sticks are original tokmak and çubuk from Turkey.

Jaki played the davul often, at times on stage with Drums Off Chaos. His interest seemed to stem from the very reduced principle of the instrument. There are just two pitches but you can produce a lot of sounds if you know how to play it, as Jaki did. In his hands it was like a complete drum set, with low and high (like bass and snare drum) and more ‘noisy’, complex sounds. By holding the thinner çubuk loosely on the skin, rattles can be produced not unlike the snares on a snare drum, but with the flexibility of controlling the amount of rattle and the character of the rattle depending on which part of the stick is used. You can hear Jaki playing davul on the Drums Off Chaos track ‘Yedi’ from the Centre EP.

Drums based on this principle occur everywhere from Sri Lanka to the Middle East and the Balkans, but the davul plays a particularly important role in Turkish culture. Often played with the zurna (a high-pitched woodwind reed instrument), it is almost a holy instrument, a defining artefact of the culture, associated with Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire.