About the Egg Ipu,
also known affectionately as the Juevon ;-)

Listen to the Egg Ipu

The Juevon or Egg Ipu, invented by percussionist Eric Stuer in early February of 2004, combines certain qualities of the cajon, the ipu, and the udu or clay pot drums from nigeria.

A 21st Century Instrument

The juevon is 16" long and weighs just under a pound. "It is completely impervious to weather. (You can play it in the swimming pool; in fact, we have.) It is NOT indestructable, and heavy playing with a drumstick will trash it, but it responds well to the hands or to a chopstick or thin timbale stick. We have a series of them which are meant to be played with sticks, with different pitches achieved by diferent sized holes. Some in Stu's collection of over 60 eggs have slits instead of rounded holes, and some are cut on either end. Each cut has its own character. The particular cut shown at left, along with the bottom cut, is one of the best...

Like an ipu. Like a cajon. Like an udu.

Eric tells how the idea arose: "I had played an ipu of Len's for a few days in January, and loved the smooth way it felt in my hand, and the ease with which it became my favorite tool for practicing freehand after hours, when i needed to play quietly. I began to search for a substitute for the ipu..the hobby store happened to have giant Easter eggs made from just the right plastic, so I began to explore the sonic properties of the egg shape..Mind you , this could never really replace the IPU, which is a magnificent instrument unto itself."

Like the ipu, this is basically part idiophone and part aerophone/Hemholtz resonator (an enclosed resonating airspace with a single aperture). the correct placement and size of the hole puts the air column in tune with the overall tonality of the egg itself. The pitch of the air column coming from within can be manipulated, as with the Nigerian udu and other instruments, but the material is so much lighter and more resonant that a range of cajon like tones exist that are unavailable on the heavier ceramic instruments. Moreover, there is a stroke that is played beside the sound hole while the hand is positioned over the hole, manipulating the pitch. This gives the egg ipu its ability to "talk", and with practice, even to play simple melodies..

A Personal Percussion Instrument.

The Egg Ipu is quiet, intimate, not really suited for the drum circle, but actually more of a personal, meditative instrument. Playing is effortlessly achieved through finger strokes and simple hand movements, and various places on the striking surface yield different sounds. The drum is quiet enough to play in an apartment at 3AM, although it can be miked for stage use. it is especially nice in a quiet corner, where the ambience of the sound coming off the walls is helpful..

A retired engineer (lady) at a library showcase suggested to me that the egg shape made it an ideal woman's drum, and come to think of it, one DOES tend to hold it almost like a baby when playing.

The instrument also responds to how tightly or loosely you hold it, and from where..like water bottles, the light weight partly determines the necessary playing techniques. It makes a great "medicine ball" practice tool for freehand players, because it isn't loud, is very portable, and feels great in the hands..

For more on stu's recent work with egg shapes, see here.

Please - it's egg Ipu, not eggy poo :-)

2004 Eric Stuer All rights reserved

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