Nico Arnicho demonstrates Cajons made in MISSOM®

Nico Arnicho, a famous percussionist from Uruguay, demonstrates in these two videos how to use the Cajons made in MISSOM®.

It’s a great pleasure for us to introduce our instruments by such valuable players like Nico Arnicho, to who we send our best regards for his generosity. We hope that you can enjoy the videos!

Part 1

Part 2

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Drumsticks as musician requires

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MISSOM® is for many people a name totally unknown. For others is a custom tool. We speak of a Portuguese brand created by Miguel Ralha, dedicated to the creation of drumsticks to drums and other musical instruments. Come with us and discover this musical universe.

By pronouncing the word drumsticks the image of the two “wood sticks” used to play drums arises immediately. There are those who say that they are an extension of the arms of drummer, however, not everyone knows that the simple design of these simple “sticks” – that can have different sizes, weights and thicknesses – can be much more complex than at first imagined view.

Let’s go to the discovery of MISSOM ®, a manufacturer of this tool so precious to the drummers, in Rua dos Navegantes, 73 in the city of Porto, Portugal.

Miguel Ralha, pioneer in creating custom drumsticks for percussion

Miguel Ralha, pioneer in creating custom drumsticks for percussion

To receive us is Miguel Ralha, craftsman and flute teacher in Gambozinos – Cultural Association. His journey began in 1978 as a craftsman, where he worked in various areas inside the craft. Music has always occupied a place in his life, having already played in groups like TocáRufar and Roda Viva. In fact, Miguel Ralha began teaching flute at age 15.

The request of friends and musicians to build some instruments led him to join the craft of music. A fusion which subsequently threw a new challenge: the creation of drumsticks to play drums. Uniting his own two vocations, Miguel Ralha with MISSOM® fulfill the project of a lifetime with preference for wooden instruments because it believes they are the best for student learning.

As recalled by Miguel Ralha, it all begin with the proposal of the musician Miguel Bernat, responsible for Drumming. “He had conceived some sticks that did not exist in the market and gave me the challenge to be the one to do them,” he says.

For at least one year, they both developed an intensive research prototypes until they reach the final model.

Neither the craftsman, not the musician, realized whatever was the work to build drumsticks. “The only thing Miquel Bernat knew is what he wanted in terms of performer, but he had no idea how it’s constructed or what kind of wood we would use,” confesses Miguel Ralha. Finally, the model was calculated and from it emerged other variants.

According to the explanation, the drumsticks of Miquel Bernat to multipercussion are used by him and Drumming in contemporary classical repertoire. Beyond the model Drumming, they also created “the model Tactus which are extremely stringent and designed to box orchestra and the model Hibrid that have a multifunctionality that makes a model two in one”, he explains. This was the first step to start MISSOM® brand.

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And curiosity imposes itself: why this name?

In a short and objective answer Miguel Ralha unraveled the mystery. “It was decided on a meeting of friends. On the one hand, as I call Miguel, friends and students call me Mi. The sound suggests the sound of the note Mi, then MISSOM. On the other side, and thinking about the possibility of internationalization, is a word that allows you to be read in any language.”

Wood, extent and time of life of drumsticks MISSOM®

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The choice of wood is one of the fundamental steps for the design of drumsticks. A wrong choice may compromise all the work that follows. The ash and rosewood are the basis of the production line of drumsticks MISSOM®, however, there is space for experimentation with other materials such as, for example, cherry wood or Ipê wood.

According to Miguel Ralha, “the ash is used for drumsticks of multipercussion such as snarde drums and skins. The rosewood for drums of Jazz and Orchestra”.

Also because the job requires raw material quality, investment is great and sometimes it is tempting to try to enjoy a little more of the wooden plank that often comes still with bark edges to the workshop of Miguel Ralha.

When this happens and the term thinking “this will do” is pronounced the work stops immediatly. “This will do” means “a big mistake” and does not worth risking and compromising the quality of the final product.

When we speak of woods there is also the need to define the measures and by extension the weight that each pair of drumsticks may have, still allied to the personal taste of each musician. If there are those who prefer longer drumsticks and heavy, there are others who prefer drumsticks shorter and lighter. The same goes for the time of life of this valuable tool can have. Some lasts a lifetime, others just about 30 minutes. Everything depends on the performer, repertoire and instruments played.

From the prototype to the final Drumstick

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The design of a model of drumsticks does not always translate into a peaceful process. For Miguel Ralha can develop a prototype with a musician that means working manually 10/12 pairs of “wooden chopsticks”, each of which can take five / six hours to get ready. For the craftsman, the stop only happens when the musician says: “This is what I want.”

And if Miguel Ralha had initially thought just making prototypes which wore then reproduced by another craftsman, the truth is that this demand has become fruitless, and the lack of rigor has been a major obstacle to overcome this idea.

Miguel Ralha states that the complicity and friendships that are created with the musicians and the fact that they are monitoring the entire creation process makes his work far more interesting. Incidentally, confesses that his greatest pleasure is to see the musicians perform their art with a pair of drumsticks Made in MISSOM®.

Instruments designed to detail

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Quality, innovation and ability to meet the demands of each musician are the watchwords that Miguel Ralha imposes on his work in MISSOM®, where the models are designed to the last detail, since they have a specificity that can go to the tenth millimeter.

Contrary to what one might think, the drumsticks also have sound and it is on the cymbals where it usually becames more complex. The rigor that involves each creation associated with the precision that some musicians impose on their art and how to perform leave no space for errors.

Since the beginning of the brand MISSOM® the challenge was high and, therefore, “it is essential that we have always this strict quality control so that we can ensure that the final product is impeccable,” said the artisan, noting that “we are not creating the gun powder dry. We are in a market where there are very strong companies that distribute throughout the world and have an amazing production capacity. To keep the brand MISSOM® it is necessary that our work allows us, on one hand, to innovate in certain aspects, and on the other side maintaining a versatility that responds to each request to us, since they are requests that a large company can not give. ”

Precisely because MISSOM® started working together with musicians recognized in the area of classical music and jazz, the words responsibility and requirement are two essential criteria of the brand.

MISSOM® DRUMSTICKS: Three musicians explains why

Paulo Bandeira, Pedro Carneiro and André Hollanda not only have in common the connection to the music. They are three of the musicians who are already part of the list of those who developed drumsticks MSSOM ®. Meet the opinions of each of the musicians on the models developed in conjunction with MISSOM ®, covering areas as diverse as jazz, rock and classical music.

Paulo Bandeira – Jazz Drummer

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The jazz musician, Paulo Bandeira, developed a model of drumsticks baptized with his own name, who conceived along with Miguel Ralha.

The Drumsticks Paulo Bandeira are made with wood rosewood and have replaced the American model used in years by the musician, who met the craftsman through a mutual friend. Combining curiosity about the work of Miguel Ralha with MISSOM ® has joined the call to work together and the result is obvious: a model of drumsticks that came to meet his needs while performing.

Classically trained, but switched to jazz for several years, Paulo Bandeira always played with an American model who was changed by itself before being used. “The drumsticks I used were the ones that came closest to my natural sensibility, but I always went back to them to change the tips, scraping with a knife,” he recalls. It was precisely from these changes that the study of his own model began to be worked and with whom he has played in the last seven months. For Paulo Bandeira, the appearance of drumsticks MISSOM ® represents “have access to a national product that turns out to be cheaper compared to those who arrive in the United States or Germany, but due to its quality it is of better level of any brand that is the market. ” Paulo Bandeira divides his time between his trio and jazz quartet.

Pedro Carneiro – Classical Percussionist

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Pedro Carneiro is currently the Portuguese interpreter with greater international projection and a rare percussion instrumentalists to devote himself entirely to a solo career. It was through the composer Luis Tinoco that Pedro Carneiro take notice of the work of Miguel Ralha. The meeting between them brought the development of his own model of drumsticks. A pair of drumsticks designed in Ipe which by the way was hewn allowed, “projecting the sound of the box with the precision that is essential, making it also the timbre richer,” he explains.

The strong connection of Miguel Ralha to music is, according to Pedro Carneiro, one of the advantages that the craftsman has over other builders. “The passion he has for his work and the desire to make tools with the musicians to express themselves freely, makes Miguel Ralha MISSOM ® and an real ally,” concludes the musician, that already with only 30 years had played in debut absolute more than 70 works.

André Hollanda – Rock Drummer

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André Hollanda is nowadays the drummer of the solo artist Jorge Palma, but is a drummer more focused on rock and also developed a model of drumsticks with MISSOM ®.

Confesses that he never imagined that one day he could come to work with someone to have their own model of drumsticks tailored to his specific needs. For André Hollanda, it is a “pioneering initiative, not only because we are talking about a Portuguese craftsman, but because his work has developed among local musicians.”

Adding that, “also reached the height of Portugal gain visibility in this aspect.” Currently playing alongside Jorge Palma, André Hollanda was a member of the rock band named Zen and, in parallel, has been developing other projects.

MISSOM and Friends

Miguel Ralha and Toni Flores - a good friend from the south

Miguel Ralha and Toni Flores – a good friend from the south

Miguel Ralha with António Santangelo

Miguel Ralha with António Santangelo

Miguel Ralha with Edith Habraken at Fermo - Italy - 2011

Miguel Ralha with Edith Habraken at Fermo – Italy – 2011

Miguel Ralha with Emmanuel Jay, a friend and a partner

Miguel Ralha with Emmanuel Jay, a friend and a partner

Miguel Ralha with Filippo Lattanzi

Miguel Ralha with Filippo Lattanzi

Miguel Ralha with Pierre-François Resta, a friend and a Master
Miguel Ralha with Pierre-François Resta, a friend and a Master
Miguel Ralha with Roberto and Riccardo Angelini, good Italian partners and excelent constructors of mallets

Miguel Ralha with Roberto and Riccardo Angelini, good Italian partners and excelent constructors of mallets

Miguel Ralha with Sérgio Izquierdo - at Llíria, Valencia, Spain

Miguel Ralha with Sérgio Izquierdo – at Llíria, Valencia, Spain

Miguel Ralha with Rogério de Sousa

Miguel Ralha with Rogério de Sousa

Miguel Ralha with Nino - At Fermo - Italy

Miguel Ralha with Nino – At Fermo – Italy

Miguel Ralha with Nicolas Matincioux - at MISSOM® factory, Oporto

Miguel Ralha with Nicolas Matincioux – at MISSOM® factory, Oporto

Miguel Ralha with Maria Santangelo - Italy

Miguel Ralha with Maria Santangelo – Italy

Miguel Ralha with Momoko Kamiya

Miguel Ralha with Momoko Kamiya

Miguel Ralha with Kunihiko Komori - in MISSOM®, Porto

Miguel Ralha with Kunihiko Komori – in MISSOM®, Porto

Miguel Ralha with  Kuniko Kato - Festival Tomarimbando, Tomar, Portugal

Miguel Ralha with Kuniko Kato – Festival Tomarimbando, Tomar, Portugal

Miguel Ralha with Kuvin Bobo, Marcelo Orrego e Mª José Opaso - Riba-roja de Túria, Valência, Spain

Miguel Ralha with Kuvin Bobo, Marcelo Orrego e Mª José Opaso – Riba-roja de Túria,
Valência, Spain

Miguel Ralha with  Jonh Beck at Fermo - Italy

Miguel Ralha with Jonh Beck at Fermo – Italy

Miguel Ralha with Giorgio Angelini - Italy

Miguel Ralha with Giorgio Angelini – Italy

Miguel Ralha with Francesca Santangelo - Italy

Miguel Ralha with Francesca Santangelo – Italy

Miguel Ralha with Claudio Santangelo

Miguel Ralha with Claudio Santangelo

Miguel Ralha with Ney Rosauro, hearing his opinion. Thank you, Ney

Miguel Ralha with Ney Rosauro, hearing his opinion. Thank you, Ney