The Marind-anim drum has a narrow and cylindrical waist from
which it widens towards the two ends. A handle, forming a rectangle
is set in the middle part. The size of these drums varies from some
decimeters to more than one and a half metres. The skin used is that
of the iguana, minyawak, or the kangaroo.
The Marind-anim use a mixture of lime, blood and urine to make
the glue to fix the skin to the drumhead. The blood is sometimes that
of an animal, but in most cases it is obtained by making an incision,
with a sharp piece of bamboo, in the glans of the drum's owner. The
Marind-anim believe that a drum of which the skin is glued with such
a glue will make a particularly cIear sound and will create a strong
reaction in the women.
A number of tiny balls are
usually to be found on the drumhead - or traces of them are - placed
evenly in a square. These balls are made of the viscous substance
which a particular kind of spider secretes in its abdomen for making
its web. Skins are frequently seen with a square consisting of three
rows of three of these tiny blobs or four rows of four. Their function
is to improve the sound.
In the event of the skin becoming slack during the playing of the
drum, the right tension is again obtained by warming it over a fire.
Father Geurtjens gives a detailed description of the way in which
the Marind-anim make their drums.
"The drums are made from the wood of a tree with a soft heartwood.
A piece of the trunk is trimmed into the rough shape of a drum. One
end is hollowed out a little and the piece of wood is then stood upright,
the hollowed-out end uppermost. The lower end is stuck in the
ground sufficiently to prevent its falling over. The hollowed-out end
is then filled with water which is constantly and carefully replenished.
Vnder the action of the water, the soft heartwood quiekly begins to
rot. The softened parts are then removed. When half of the cavity
has been rotted away in this manner, the piece of wood is then reversed
and the same thing is repeated at the other end. This process enables
the innermost part to be pushed through with a piece of hard wood
or a piece of bamboo. The result is a channel running through the
length of the piece of wood. This channel is then widened by firing,
the heat being regulated by bellows and the inside is scraped with
shells and pigs' tusks. Internodes of bamboo are also made to explode
in the cavity - if sound internodes of bamboo are held in a fire they
burst open with a mighty bang. This is intended as sympathetic magie,
the object being that the drum will produce a loud sound. When the
required internal cavity has been obtained, the outside of the drum
is then worked with an adze and finished off: carving is then done
with pigs' tusks.“ (excerpt from the book: Music in New Guinea – Three studies by Jaap Kunst -
`S.Gravenhage-Martinus Nijhoff-1967) wood kangaroo skin pigment
Das Fell der kandara drum wurde mit einer Mischung aus Kalk, Blut und Urin aufgeklebt.
Das verwendete Blut stammte in der Regel vom Besitzer der Trommel.
Die Marind Anim glaubten, dass eine Trommel, deren Fell auf diese Weise aufgeklebt wurde, einen besonders klaren Klang hätte und eine starke Bewunderung bei Frauen hervorrufen würde.