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March 2011

Local Music:
Beat Boxer

Woodworker Adam Crowell blends art and music with his own riff on the traditional tongue drum

Asingle wood drum (that could be taken for a finely crafted sculpture) is all Adam Crowell needs to beat out an acoustic chorus reminiscent of soft calypso and steel drums. Combining his love of percussion and a lifelong knack for handiwork encouraged by his father, a hobbyist carpenter, the local musician and woodworker sculpts melodic African tongue drums that blend rhythm and song into a single artful percussion piece. Crafted with unstained exotic woods such as African mahogany, Brazilian cherry, Canary, and purpleheart, his six-, 10-, and 12-note boxed drums have caught the attentions of both percussionists and art aficionados. Last year, the 28-year-old invented the Songa, a sweet-sounding drum that boasts the tonal variety of an entire drum circle. It can be played using hands or mallets, drawing a meditative scale out of key-like tongues cut into the different wood grains. “I can hush a noisy venue just by playing a few notes on the Songa,” says the artisan. “People are often surprised at the melody that can come from a wood drum.”

For more, visit

Boxed Music in the studio from Boxed Music Drums on Vimeo.

Songa from Boxed Music Drums on Vimeo.


Courtesy of Adam Crowell