Clay Pots (Udu)

Clay Pot (Udu or Ghatam)

Clay pots from India are called Ghatam and have only one hole at the end of the neck. The African clay pot is called an Udu which means "bottle" in the Ido language of Nigeria. They were used in the past in religious ceremonies as it was believed that the sound of ancestors could be heard in the Udu. The Udu employs an additional hole on the side of the pot, and is also made with two connecting chambers in a double Udu. Recently some companies have started making hybrid pots featuring a skin-covered hole on the side of the pot.

Two Udu drums are pictured. On the left is a clay pot made by Steve Wright. On the right is a double pot.

The holes on these pots are struck with the open palm producing a bass tone. The sides of the pots are struck with the palms and fingers producing a higher slap or cracking sound. These instruments can vary greatly in size - the larger the pot the lower the tone.

Hear the Clay Pot on 'Rain Trance' from 'Rain Trance'