The Lambeg skin
The Lambeg skin a a special drum head produced in the North of Ireland. It is originally made for the Lambeg drum.
For us, the Lambeg skin has to come from a good maker in the North of ireland, one who makes Lambeg drums and cures the skins with his traditional methods and ingredients. this is what we call a genuine Lambeg skin.
The Lambeg drum
A Lambeg drum is a large Irish drum, beaten with curved malacca canes. It is used primarily in Northern Ireland by Unionists and the Orange Order traditionally in street parades held in the summer or at competitions.
The Lambeg drum is one of the loudest acoustic instruments in the world, frequently reaching over 120 dB. It measures approximately three feet and one quarter inch (0.9 m) in diameter, two feet (0.65 m) deep, and weighs 35-40 lbs. Usually it is carried by the drummer while marching, using a neck harness.
It is commonly believed to have come to Ulster with English settlers in the early-mid-17th century, and is named after the town called Lambeg in the County Antrim.
For more detailed info about the Lambeg drum, please click here also youtube has quite a few videos.
The Lambeg skin
The skins are prepared with traditional recipes which are handed down from generation to generation within the skin maker's family.
Seamus O'Kane was the first bodhrán maker to use Lambeg skins on a bodhrán. Thanks to Seamus O'Kane, we got in touch with Tommy Louden, one of the leading Lambeg skin makers. Tommy Louden delivered beautiful skins to Christian until his death. If you enlarge the picture above you can see Tommy's stamp on the skin of the Lambeg drum.
In the meantime, we have been able to find adequate replacements in Northern Ireland.
From my point of view, the Lambeg skin offers some unique features:
It works great for traditional playing but also gives the full range for top end style. It's a lively drum skin, easy to change tones, and gives a lovely feedback to the stick and to the player. Great attack and enough overtones for harmonic playing, but not too many overtones that wouldn't allow the occasional open bass playing. There is also a great rebound.The tipper bounces off the skin in the right amount, as the skin is not so soft that the tipper "sinks" into the skin.
The Lambeg skin needs to settle for the first 3-6 months, depending how much you play. In the beginning you will notice that the skin reacts quickly to weather changes, or even if somebody opens a door. This will stop once the skin has settled. You will also get more bass over the next couple of months. Sometimes these changes are gradual, but esp. with the Lambeg skin, the change may occur from one day to to the next.