Frank Lazzaro of Darbuka Planet demonstrates
the differences between the size and sounds of the three popular sizes of darbukas: the Classic (medium), Sombaty ( medium large ) and Dohola ( large).
The El Arabi Sombaty from Darbuka Planet
I was recently given an El Arabi Sombaty for review from Darbuka Planet. I am performing a 7 weekend stint at The Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, as lead drummer and musical director for Seraphim Arabesque Ensemble, California’s premier belly dance troupe. I felt that this was a perfect opportunity to take this beauty for a ‘test drive’ against the harsh elements of an outdoor, un-amplified live performance environment.
First off, I was thoroughly impressed with the esthetics, although this particular drum I was given was modest in its mother of pearl inlay. It’s bold, bright blue color was electric and demanded attention. This drum is beautiful. The size, although the specs say that this drum is 18.5 inches high, but my measuring tape says it’s a full 19 inches and is a tad bit larger than other Sombaty’s that I’ve played and a bit heavier too.
I was playing outdoors with an amplified Ouddist, vocalist, 2 darbukas, a riq, zills and tabl baladi drum. The deep, rich doums were able to resonate through the other heavier bassed drums and you could feel the vibration in the floor. The teks and kas were crisp and bright, enabling me to utilize my Turkish split finger technique without concern that it would be lost in translation with the other instruments, each note being defined. This is definitely a professional player’s drum.
But the slaps, oh, the slaps… they were able to command attention through the crowd of over 100 people to the passersby that whipped their heads in curiosity with every slap, piercing the very heart of the crowd, and I’m quite certain the universe itself. Sound slicing through like a warm knife through soft butter.
I am very pleased and impressed with the quality, look and sound of this drum. If you are a professional darbuka player that needs an outstanding drum that is diverse enough to play in an outdoor environment, or a novice wanting a brilliant sounding, beautiful drum, this darbuka is for you!