The Tbilat is a traditional Moroccan hand percussion instrument comprised of a pair of large and small clay pot drums bound together, with goat skin drum heads and sinew wrappings. It's also often referred to as a "Tamtam" or simply "clay pot drums". Tbilats generally have a tight, crisp sound similar to bongos, but with a raspier, rounder and deeper tonality.
The Kingdom of Morocco is located in Northern Africa, just across the strait of Gibraltar from Spain. Known for its coastlines, mountain and vast deserts, it's been continuously inhabited for well over 100,000 years, with deep cultural, artistic and musical roots that span the entirety of known human history. The intricate designs of the pots and wrappings and tonal versatility of these instruments are an excellent example of this long and rich creative heritage. We recorded our large tbilat pair in a dry studio environment with bare hands and fingers. We recorded each articulation with an average of 6 or more dynamic velocity layers and 10 round-robin variations per note. We then recorded a second session with the instrument in a large reverberant tile and stone hall from close and far distances. The close position retains strong presence, but offers an open and live atmosphere, while the far position provides a feeling of lush, cavernous space and distance. Both of these "wet" hall options are ideal for orchestral arrangements and more atmospheric songwriting.