Photo above of dancer holding her beautiful "ipu heke `ole" (a type of gourd drum), from the excellent article "Polynesian Music – Spirit of the Islands," by Sam Meyers (see the full article here.)
For over 40 years Welburn Gourd Farm has been supplying high-quality gourds or "ipu" to the Hawaiian community. The ipu heke `ole is a drum made from a bottle-shaped gourd cut off at the neck (shown above).
Because this gourd is considered a "specialty item" it has, up until now, only been available through our custom order process over the phone.
It involves a careful selection process because each gourd must have the correct shape, have a flat bottom so it sits flat, and must have a neck small enough for the dancers hand to hold onto it.
Now for the first time you can order these hand-selected ipu by the box right from our web site! They are available in 4 different sizes, so you can select the perfect size gourd for your dancers, from the large 9-inch diameter size to the small 6-inch size perfect for keiki!
Gourds are sized by their diameter, which is the widest point of the gourd straight across.
Shown above, Gourd passing through the 10" diameter hole on a Sizing Board.
Gourds are sized and priced using a sizing board that has holes cut in it for each diameter size. The gourd shown here is priced and referred to as a "9-inch gourd" even though it is bigger than 9 inches.
If it goes through the 10-inch ring it is considered a 9-inch gourd, even though it could be as big as 9.9 inches.
Similarly, an 8-inch gourd is any gourd 8-8.9 inches in diameter, and so on. Please keep this in mind when ordering your gourds.
Welburn Gourd Farm is also the premier supplier for ipu used to make ipu heke (The ipu heke is a double drum made by joining two gourds together and making a hole in the top for the sound to come through.). These gourds are only available by placing a custom order on the phone, or by visiting the farm in person in Fallbrook, CA.
Welburn gourds are often seen at the world-famous Merrie Monarch Festival in Hawaii. Photo by Dennis Oda.
We do run out of certain sizes of Ipu and Ipu Heke drum sets. The best time to order is March-June, once our new crop has been harvested.
Because of the extreme amount of labor involved in growing and picking out gourds for Ipu Heke drums, the bases or heke bottoms are priced differently than our regular Custom Order prices (see the price list for Ipu Heke Bottoms at bottom of this page.)
We offer bulk discounts on Ipu and Ipu Heke when shipped by the 20-ft or 40-ft container. To order call 1-760-728-4271 M-F, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm PST.
Please Note: Gourds are a natural product and each one is different. The photos shown below are meant as a general image and do not represent the exact gourds you will receive.