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Young Kilkeel musician and inventor turns to crowd-funding to grow drum business

By John Mulgrew

Published 08/08/2014

Stephen Henderson hard at work producing his cajon drums
Stephen Henderson hard at work producing his cajon drums

A young Co Down musician and inventor who produces innovative handmade cajon drums - instruments favoured by the likes of Mumford & Sons - has turned to crowd-funding to help grow his burgeoning business.

Stephen Henderson began making the instruments - sometimes referred to as a 'drumkit in a box - back when he was just 16.

Since then he has sold over 400 - after setting up his company Ruach Music.

He now has plans to expand further with a new Kickstarter campaign.

Cajon drums are percussive instruments - originally from Peru - and can be played in all manner of styles.

Prominent in the folk and and modern acoustic scene, a raft of successful musical talents including Mumford & Sons have helped popularise the instrument in recent years.

But Stephen, now 19, has given his own take on the drum.

"Percussionists voiced their frustrations with the traditional six-sided, wooden cajon, as they found it hard to create a consistent tone,” he said.

"I set about designing a style of cajon that would enhance the instrument both musically and aesthetically."

After working with Queen's University and engineers across Northern Ireland, his new 'LIVE Series' is now ready for launch.

One of Stephen's cajon drums
One of Stephen's cajon drums

"A lot of cajons on the market are known to go out of tune, are limited to only one or two sounds, cannot be altered during a performance at all, or can even fail when retuning," he said.

"This is frustrating for musicians as their performance can be ruined as a result.

"Our patented new design allows the musician to choose between five sounds that lock into position, and also contains an internal bass pedal which allows the user to be more creative with their music."

To visit the company's Kickstarter campaign page click here.

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