Last weekend I was in Vancouver, BC to visit friends. It’s now become a bit of a habit while I’m there (does twice make a habit?) to visit Gandharva Loka: World Music Store. It’s located on Granville Island, and is across the street from the Granville Island Public Market. As the in-house epicurean for The Castaways, I love to visit markets for various delicious morsels. But in Vancouver, it’s becoming more like I’ll stop at the Granville Market while I’m shopping for new percussion gear for the band.
This weekend I went to Gandharva Loka to have a longer look at their amazing selection of Cajons. They had close to a dozen cajons of all shapes and sizes. Including an acrylic one clearly destined for a heavy-metal ukulele band (I think this might be one of Jim’s side projects).
I spent some quality time talking with Rodrigo and played a variety of cajons and hand percussion, and I listened while other shoppers tried various other instruments around the store (yes, they have ukuleles). Basically as obtrusive percussionist, this is my candy store. Last time I was there I brought home a new shaker, a mouth harp, and a chime. This time, I narrowed it down to a pile of cajons.
Shopping for cajons goes about the way that sounds. They come in all different shapes and sizes. Different colors and styles. And, of course, they all sound different. This may sound funny, but they feel different too. You’ve basically got to play them to figure them out. Several of them sounded very similar to the cajon I’ve been playing, so they were easy to put back. But one of them sounded like the perfect complement to what I already play.
I brought home the smaller one sitting on the floor in the foreground of the photo above. It doesn’t have snares, sounds almost like a conga drum, and has an amazing dark wood grain. Both sides are also slightly different pitches, so it should be pretty versatile. Maybe you’ll see it at a show sometime soon…