Our Mission

There is something special about people drawn to the drum. The communal creation of spontaneous music leads to a vibrant playfulness that often feels absent from our daily lives. We want to share our passion with you with one word in mind: PLAY. We need playfulness to rediscover the magic that surrounds us, and to defend against taking ourselves too seriously in a world where we MUST at times, be serious. Being playful makes us happier, mindfully present, and connected to all that we accomplish. 

Let us enable you to bring more playfulness into your world. 

Our Story 

Baggy and Dhani met one early evening in June of 2004 at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. We cannot possibly discuss our story without acknowledging our long-time mentor, Stan Secrest of "Build-A-Drum". As Dhani describes it, "A ginger hippie walked into Stan's vendor tent and almost collapsed. He was overheated and dehydrated after a long day of dancing and sunshine. We perked him up after a nap and lots of Gatorade. Now we're family. Baggy and I been building drums and community together ever since."

Baggy

Baggy is a highly-skilled wood-worker that can fix just about anything you put in front of him. He has been building drums since 2005 and spends free time honing his skills by experimenting with new methods and techniques. Most recently, Baggy has been working on creating bongos and congas from split tree trunks, and customizing incredibly well-oiled hardwood djembes for our customers. Always learning something new, Baggy has a familiar motto that every person participating in our workshops will hear at least once: "Baggy has standards!" When ordering a custom drum from us, you should know that Baggy personally puts 40-50 hours of work into each one. This is a labor of love. Fun fact: Baggy spent eight months following the Grateful Dead tour in 1990. 

Dhani

Dhani built her first drum at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 1997. After that, she was hooked and what followed was a 15+ year seasonal [summer] apprenticeship with Stan Secrest. Twenty-three years later, you can find her leading spontaneous kecak performances in festival crowds. At home in New Orleans, she is the drum instructor of an amateur women's drum corps and a proud member/supporter of the Congo Square Preservation Society. With a background in education & ethnomusicology and its marriage with drum-building, the universe pulls her towards teaching and rhythmic facilitation as a tool of community engagement. Fun Fact: Dhani once crossed the border from Himachal Pradesh into Kashmir solely to sing Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" at the top of her lungs. 

Glenda The Good Witch 

A jack-of-almost-every-trade, Glenda met Baggy when she was in first grade. She got married right out of high school and had two amazing children, which meant she spent her whole life devoted to her extended family.  At almost 50 years old, she realized it was time to take care of herself for the first time. One of the first steps she took towards that objective was reconnecting with Baggy by volunteering to help him prepare for an upcoming workshop. Now she's addicted to the process and an integral part of the team. Glenda is a gifted visual artist in her own right, and spends all her free time in Baggy's studio helping to build shells.  Many of the finished commissioned pieces we have completed are visually designed by Glenda. She is an incredible portrait artist, and master of the art of wood-burning.

Hatter Family Helpers

Once you build a drum with us, you're family. This allows us to pull from a big pool of volunteers all over the country that help us lead workshops every step of the way. Some members of the Hatter Family have given us hundreds of hours of their time: Kyle, K.D., Jesse, Robin, Kelsey, J.T., Lydia, Amber, Karson, Marf, Zach, Lee, Heather, Greg, Sarah - thank you for all that you do. 

Cultural Awareness:

At Hatter Drums, we recognize that African names, languages, religions, and cultural value systems have been systematically stolen and destroyed in the U.S. While those losses can never be reimbursed, community drumming in the African diaspora serves as a portal to cultural and spiritual roots.  This is an important conversation as hand-drumming continues to spread via community drum circles, corporate team-building workshops, and health & wellness sessions across the U.S. When you come to a circle, do so with respect. At Hatter Drums, it is important for us to help our workshop participants gain an understanding of the proper reverence due to communal drumming and the social context of both rhythm and technique.  Hand drums are powerful tools found in communities, classrooms, and professional ensembles in every musical context all over the world.  We ask that instead of simply picking one up to play, you become aware of and honor each instrument's traditions through learning and understanding. Whenever possible, we will guide you towards African drum teachers in your own community.