top of page

Drum making 

My last engagement in being creative was with drum making, when I lived in the north east of Scotland.Once upon a time I wasn't Mr Urban, I was a man of the woods. 19 years ago I produced this album as part of a project  through the Millennium Forest for Scotland funding.


I said I would make a set of drums from native timber and deer hide, with a CD of music and a booklet about the drum making.  I couldn't event write a letter on word then, it was a steep learning curve. Thankfully I saved the tracks as digital files as this CD has deteriorated overtime perhaps due to the screen print design. More to be added to this story soon.

Stephen Calcutt drum maker making african style drums basedon the Djembe. Making the drumsin the North east of Scotland article in the Northern Scot
Stephen Calcutt drum maker making african style drums basedon the Djembe. Making the drumsin theNorth east of Scotland


Treehouse was a project I developed through funding from the Millennium Forest for Scotland project  in 2000. I set out to make a set of drums from native timber and deer hide. I also made a CD of music based on the story of the drum making with a booklet.

treehouse book cover
treehouse cd  back cover
About the Tracks

Roots Up:

This is a driving less melodic piece, this is about the falling of the tree, in this case through a storm, the death of the tree.

Log (Life's a Beech):  What the drum is made of; a log. 'Life's a beech' a play on 'life's a bitch'.

(drum) Skin: This depicts the deer running through the woodland, prior to a hunter taking its life.

The Drum Maker: The birth of the drum; the main parts  are ready to be transformed into the drum. The cowbell represents chopping at the wood. On this track I play the guitar, a right handed guitar upside down. I found a riff that reminded me of Cuban Son music. the melody is my appreciation of Cuban music from Son to Salsa.  

Strange Fruit: Back in the 80's UB40 did a cover of Nina Simones song 'Strange Fruit' a powerful song about the horror of  racism, and lynchings. Strange fruit being  the metaphor of fruit on a tree. The title of this song however is purely in relation to the drums being a product of the tree (well and deer). I imagined the drums hanging like fruits from a tree, as if the tree had produced them.


Treehouse (going native): 'Going native' is an expression used to describe when someone becomes absorbed in another culture. This track is the celebration of the cultures and environment that the drums and music express. Samba rhythms from Brazil, Bodhran  rhythms traditional from Ireland. Synth music from the 80's from the likes of Kraftwerk. There are the sounds of native birds and animals from a deer rucking, an ospreys call and the more domestic pheasant.  

Contributing Artists

Carol Scorer:

Click on the picture above and you will be taken to her website. Carol played the traditional rhythms from Africa and Brazil that were sampled for the tracks. 


Nigel Sleaford:


Helped produce and record the CD. Nigel also contributed guitar and synth sounds.  I had a small budget and it worked out we had a week to do it in. Nigel had an analogue studio set up in his house. I remember him mentioning he was in a band in the 80's and during my search to find him again so  I could reference him on the treehouse page on my website I found this. Nigel is the one on the left in glasses, he's the singer too. I remember being his percussionist when he did singer and songwriter gigs at the now finished highland festival. We were in little pubs around the Highlands some weren't interested. Nigel's main income was a covers band... think we did a few covers to keep some of the inebriated locals happy.


bottom of page