Manito Percussion Congas represent the union of artistry, technology and eco-friendly practices. Our congas are designed to produce maximum pure-tonal sustain with minimal overtone ring. Each drum is cut from a solid log and shaped according to the principles of harmonic ratios in order to produce the longest sustaining and clearest open tones, deepest bass, and crispest slaps possible.
Every measurement and shape is considered an important variable in the creation of a truly resonant drum. From the diameter of the playing surface to the thickness of the shell, every dimension is tailored to the individual drum’s resonant range. In this way, each drum is tuned first to itself, and then to the other drums in the set to which it belongs. In most cases sets of congas are crafted from the same tree to ensure continuity in the density of the wood and resonant qualities of a set.
The unique design of Manito Percussion Congas maximizes the resonance of the wood with the American Steer Skin heads, resulting in a rich, dynamic tone that is unsurpassed.
The shape and proportions of the solid hardwood shells are uniquely engineered to produce the clearest and most lustrous open tones, effortlessly crisp slaps, and soul-shaking bass. Each roughed shell is kiln dried to 8% moisture content before turning on the lathe. They are then sealed using water based finishes that are classified as Ultra-Low VOC and Environmentally Friendly. While some finishes can choke or distort the tone of a drum, our clear coat bonds chemically with each successive layer, allowing the finish to reverberate as a single layer.
Manito’s Congas are crafted using a sustainable process. Manito cuts each drum from logs that he receives from local tree services, which means that no trees are felled for the purpose of making drums. The logs would ordinarily be used for firewood or chipped up for mulch. Manito plants one tree in the Athens, Georgia area for each drum that he creates.
One of the most crucial parts of any drum is the bearing edge. The shape of the bearing edge acts in determining the amount of vibration which is transferred to the solid shell resonator. Our custom bearing edge design is engineered to provide the perfect amount of contact with the solid shell while providing an extremely comfortable playing surface.
The standard wood choice for Manito’s Congas is Tulip Poplar, also known as Canoe Wood. This medium density tone wood resonates perfectly for congas and other drums. Its tone is clear and pure, with very little overtone ring. It is often referred to as Rainbow Poplar because of the many colors and patterns that arise from mineral streaks in the wood.
Many other hardwood choices are also available, however, building drums with sustainably harvested wood means that all woods are not always available on demand. Manito has built drums from White Oak, Red Oak, Sycamore, Black Cherry, Silky Walnut, Black Walnut, Hackberry, Persimmon, Ash, Maple and others…
Check out this short documentary with Friday Jumbo speaking about his life and career as a percussionist, and a live performance on Manito Percussion congas!
He has toured the world performing with and recording with the likes of Afrobeat band Fela Kuti’s Africa 70, Monomono (Joni Haastrup), and The Nigerian All Stars (OJ Ekemote), Ginger Baker of Cream, Paul & Linda McCartney, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, among others. After relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1985 he performed with Babá Ken Okulolo and Kotoja, Babtunde Garaya and the African Rhythm Messengers, and Oriki Theater.
To hear some examples of Manito Percussion Congas click the link below: