About the Egg Ipu,
also known affectionately as the Juevon ;-)
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.
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
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
Please - it's egg
Ipu, not eggy poo :-)
© 2004 Eric Stuer
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