Local residents of Ekkarat village in Pa Mok district of Ang Thong province have been making drums for a living for over 80 years. The village enthralls visitors with its dazzling display of drums of all types, sizes and designs. These drums vary from the ‘Poeng Mang’ (a leather-faced drum set), ‘Thon and Rammana’ (a hand drum set), ‘Taphon’ (a barrel-shaped, two-headed horizontal drum), ‘Klong That’ (a large barrel-shaped vertical drum), ‘Klong Khaek’ (a tumbler-shaped double-headed drum), to even the eye-catching, brightly coloured Northern Thai ‘Klong Puja’ (a set of drums for worshipping the Buddha). But the most popular item—in case one is curious to know—is nothing but the ‘Klong Yao’ (a long drum shaped like a tall goblet)! This drum is a symbol of the Ekkarat community, a permanent reminder of how long their relationship with these percussion instruments has continued.
The local craftsmen make drums using a very meticulous process. This involves selecting the right type of wood, lathing it, hollowing the piece, proportioning the drum stem, and preparing the skin to cover it. By oral tradition, if even a minor mistake is made, the whole process must be started over. To complete the process of making a ‘Klong Yao’, the craftsmen have to devote their mind and energy to selecting the best materials with which to create their masterpiece.
Location: Ekkarat, Ang Thong Province, Thailand