Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thunder Gourds

Being new to the gourd festival I had never heard of Thunder Gourds. When a coil wire, hanging out of a gourd, is tapped, a noise that sounds like thunder is emitted. I stopped at Ron Swank's booth who had over thirty gourds hanging in his booth. His card let me know that he was the creator of the Thunder Gourd.

"It's one of the easiest and fun gourds to make," he said. It did look simple enough because three pieces are needed. Coiled wire, Mylar or goat skin, and a gourd narrow at the top and larger at the bottom. The bottom of the gourd is cut off and a hole is cut into the gourd for the sound to exit. Mylar is glued tightly on the bottom of the gourd with a coiled wire coming though the Mylar. The wire hangs down about a foot and when struck or shaken, out comes the thunder sound! If the Mylar is not firm and tight, the sound will be tinny.

When the wire is struck or shaken, the vibrations of the wire is magnified making a thunder sound. The size and shape of the gourd determines the kind of thunder one can hear. I was amazed how similar to thunder the gourd makes! At one point about ten persons held the thunder gourds and shook them. The sound was like a storm was brewing somewhere near.

"A thunder gourd drum
makes a loud crackling hum.
Anyone can make one.
Makes you feel proud once it's done.
Strike the hanging wire
and listening to thunder you will never tire!"

E. Moscoso
February 14, 2016

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