Michael Heralda's Aztec Stories Flash of Michael Heralda playing gourds and guitar



New " Day of the Dead" CD


School Presentations

Concerts, Museums & Other Presentions





Free Stuff

Upcoming Events

Past Presentations

Contact the Artist























Now you can experience a “HOW TO” video on how I make my gourd water drums! This short video (in two parts) shows you the materials needed, how to cut and clean the gourds, and how to make your mallet/beater for the drums. Below are the two links.

Part One:

Part Two:

Very soon I will offer this on DVD and it will include: from start to finish how I make my water drums, repairing a cracked drum, decorating and painting you drum, plus a section on ancient symbols and their meaning.

For those who enjoy the hands-on experience I will be offering my gourd water drum making workshops during the summer months. Please send me an e-mail if you are interested in receiving advance notice when workshops are scheduled so you can register.

Send your e-mail to: michaelheralda@aol.com

Mayan Bubalak Gourd Drum Making Workshop
A 2-Day Workshop ­ 3 hours per day (6 hours total)

Description of "Bubalek" Gourd Drum:

This is an ancient drum used by the Maya, Mexica/Aztecs, and Yaqui musicians. It is struck with a hand held "beater" (mallet) while the inverted hollowed-out gourd floats in a bowl or container of water. The size, density and amount of air trapped under the gourd determine its pitch and tonal qualities ­ the larger and thicker the gourd the deeper the tone, the smaller and thinner the gourd (walls) the higher the pitch. The drums can be slightly tuned by allowing some of the air trapped underneath to escape ­ raising the pitch. This allows for some flexibility in tonal pitch while playing with other "tuned" instruments as accompaniment. The drums can be highly decorative ­ dependent on the skill of the artisan/student creating them.

Description of workshop:

Students will have hands-on instruction in the making of this ancient melodic drum. At the completion of the course they will go home with a completed working drum.

Day 1 of Workshop ­ students will:

- Learn how to select a gourd

- Learn how to clean the gourd

- Learn how to determine where, and how to cut the gourd

- Have reference material available to them with ancient designs and patterns

- Begin to decorate their drum

Day 2 of Workshop ­ students will:

- Complete decoration of their drum

- Learn how to water-seal/water-proof the gourd

- Have the opportunity to perform with me, utilizing their hand-made drum during the last session

Contact Information

Introduction to Indigenous Music of the Mexica/Aztecs
1-Hour Workshop
For children ages 4 – 100 years old

Description of workshop:

Students will be introduced to many ancient, native indigenous instruments of the Mexica/Aztecs in the wind and percussive categories. The history and use of these instruments will be examined. Samples of music utilizing these instruments will be demonstrated and student participation will be encouraged during some of the songs.

Oral tradition stories will reintroduce the symbolism and meaning behind some of the instruments.
Images from numerous ancient codexes will be presented to show the use of the instruments along with the traditional clothing worn by the musicians.

The education of students (schools) and the hierarchy of the education system will be addressed. What types of music were performed, at what times, and for whom will also be discussed. How the ancient music was associated with dance, poetry, and singing. Insight into the melodic and polyrhythmic patterns will also be presented.

Many Nahuatl terms, phrases, and meanings will be presented from the indigenous perspective.

This is a cultural/educational/musical workshop that will enlighten you to the wondrous world of the ancient Mexica/Aztecs. Handouts will be available for reference.

Here is a list of the instruments presented:

- Clay flutes, ocarinas, and wooden flutes
- Shakers, rasps, and rattles
- Mayan Bubalek Gourd Drums
- Hand-drums
- Conch shell trumpets
- Huehuetl drums
- Teponaztli drums
- Turtle shell drums
- Frog shells
- Singing stones
- Rain sticks
- Fire sticks

Contact Information