Say “Ba-na-‘ku-la!”

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been particularly interested in musical instruments that fit in my pocket.  You can imagine my excitement, when, in 2000, a friend of mine, drummer Joe from Stow, returned from a trip to West Africa with a pair of these – 2 gourd shakers tied together with a string.   He called them “Banakulas.” He told me that children in West Africa walk down the street playing one in each hand. The sound and sight was incredible!  He gave me my own pair and within two weeks, I had mastered the “basic” move.  Then, mysteriously, I lost my banakulas!  What would I do?  There are no “banakula trees” in Ohio.  So I offered some 5th grade students the “Banakula Challenge.” I announced that a 20 dollar prize reward would go to the student with the best modern-design of this traditional instrument.” Many attempts later,  Isaac Miller of Cleveland Heights, Ohio had the winning idea — ping-pong balls covered with polymer clay.  I gave him his $20 and I ran with the idea.  I’ve spent the last 10 years improving the recipe and mastering the instrument.   I’ve shared this discovery with thousands of students all around Ohio. Excusively at this site, I offer you the recipe and a lesson in playing.  This is just the beginning. Create your own moves.  Perfect your own recipe.  Sell your iphone.  Teach your grandchildren how to play!


Check out for more information about banakulas

Click here to download instructions on how to make your own pair of banakulas.

How to Make Your Own Banakulas!

Here are some  photos of a Banakula Birthday Party — “The coolest Birthday Party in Ohio.”

Leave a Reply