Robert Murchison Forkner


1977 in Lousiana


Drum Builder and Master of Geology


Curly hair, no TV since the 80's

Rob Forkner is born on a paddle-wheel gambling boat in Louisiana, after his mother tried to quell his natal rebellion with a small amount of red wine. Some time later, Rob moved away from the boat and was fortunate enough to spend time living in many parts of the world.

While living in Alaska, he discovered irish music after a friend gave him an old cassette tape with a small man with a mullet haircut and pastel golf clothes on the front cover. Since it was too cold to hunt for bears or go combat fishing, Rob decided to learn how to play the bodhran after hearing the playing of the great Johnny McDonagh. However, for that Rob needed a drum, and because it was impossible to find a suitable bodhran in Alaska, Rob just started building his own drum in the basement of his parent's house out of birch bark and salmon skin.

Many years have gone by and Rob used the time to refine his drum building skills. For fun, Rob started studying Geology and ended up at the University of Texas which gave him a free ticket to Euro-land all summer, as well as a fine session to attend.

Rob's not only a maker, but also a pretty good bodhran player. He's an active member of the Tea Merchants and a regular sit-inner with Cluan, both local Austin irish music bands. Rob has also competed in and medaled in a few of the fleadhs both in the US and in Tipperary. And yes, it is a long way to Tipperary.

About 2 years ago, Rob called in an expert for coloUr and stains: Larry, his dad, who is now working on the drums as well, and doing an incredible job. Rob's lovely wife, Stefanie has also gotten onboard, helping to keep das boot afloat!

About 7 months ago, Rob made the jump over the pond to Europe, landing first in the warm and friendly country of Denmark (ha!). Unfortunately, that ended up in a perfect storm of circumstances that limited his drum making, so Rob chose to move again to his wife's hometown of Eupen, Belgium, where he is now based. Rob is currently working closely with Darius Bartlett on heads, shells, and other lab-based science and is sure that the best is yet to come!

If you want to see a few pictures about their exciting drum-builder-life, click here.

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