Moises Mauricio Mejia

Aztec Peg-drum Making

Aztec Peg-drum Making
Moises Mejia drumming at Carnival festival in San Francisco 2022. Photo: Mejia’s wife.


Moises Mauricio Mejia began working on drums over twenty years ago, honing his technique after learning to construct peg drums from Jaime Lemus, an Aztec dance teacher from Sacramento. He also gained secondary insight from another teacher: Benjamin Ignacio, from Guerrero, Mexico. Drumming is one of the main foundations of the Aztec dance tradition, and the drum itself is the heartbeat and center of prayer. For Mejia, his work is a source of pride; he carries the identity and discipline of a Native dancer and drummer wherever he goes. He has taught these traditions to his children and plans to share them with his grandchildren when the time comes.



Apprenticeship Program


Aztec Peg-drum Making
with apprentice David Gerardo Partida

David Partida at his home with some of his instruments. Photo: Quilatzli Partida.


Mejia will teach David Gerardo Partida to create a peg drum from scratch: what types of wood and supplemental materials (such as tools and skin) are needed; where to find them; and the proper, sustainable techniques for assembling them. Partida will also learn to remove a drum’s skin from its pegs and replace it, a technique which elongates the instrument’s lifespan.





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