Less than three months after Sabian shocked the percussion world with its purchase of GonBops, the venerated SoCal conga builder, Marshall, the famed home of Marshall Amps, is jumping into percussion with the purchase of Natal Percussion. Given Marshall’s enormous global distribution, drummers throughout the world will soon have the opportunity to sample Natal’s products in their local stores.
“From those very first amplifiers, built in the back of Jim Marshall’s music shop in ’60s London, right through to the present day purpose-built factory in Milton Keynes, Marshall Amplification has always supported British design, innovation and manufacturing. It’s this ethos that has made the Marshall name, and of course the Marshall sound, recognised the world over. Constant research and development, the manufacture of high quality product and the active search for new opportunities are at the very heart of what we do. This is the reason why Marshall Amplification is proud to announce the recent acquisition of renowned British percussion company Natal.
“Natal was originally conceived in the late ’50s by sought-after British percussionist Alan Sharp who, unable to find the exact instruments he wanted, commissioned their individual parts from various companies and assembled them himself. Orders for Alan’s new Afro-Cuban bongos and congas soon began to flood in from his students and contemporaries, eventually leading to the foundation of the Natal Percussion Company in 1965. While based in swinging ’60s London, Natal enjoyed huge success, especially with their revolutionary fibreglass congas, which found favour with the likes of Santana, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Led Zeppelin. Our own Dr Jim Marshall, a drummer himself, even sold Natal instruments in his London store whilst building amplifiers for some of the major rock and pop bands of the era, and has kept a keen eye on the company ever since. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s the company continued to design, develop and manufacture world class percussion instruments, shipping congas, bongos and tambourines as far as Australia and New Zealand. The early ’90s brought the introduction of Natal’s first wooden conga range – the Fusion series, which combined unique Natal design with the warm natural sound of premium Ashwood. For the past decade the company has concentrated solely on its UK market, continuing to design, refine and produce instruments of the highest calibre with the sound its customers crave – a doctrine shared by both Natal and Marshall.
“So what does this mean for both companies? From Natal’s point of view it provides a huge new investment in its brand and products. Established Natal percussion ranges such as the UK designed Spirit, Fusion and Classic are being given a new lease of life, with the high-end Cubana series now set to be manufactured at Marshall’s UK factory. The brand new Fuego series is also ready for production and there are some very exciting products in the percussive pipeline! This deal also gives Natal access to Marshall’s extensive world-wide distribution network, which will soon make these and many other Natal products available in all four corners of the globe. For Marshall, it demonstrates a strong commitment to British design and manufacture, and an excellent opportunity to reinvigorate, develop and expand a company steeped in British music history.
“One thing is certain – this latest chapter in both company’s history promises to be hugely creative and productive. With over thirty Natal instruments in a variety of finishes, colours and sizes ready to go, not to mention Marshall’s own amplifier development schedule, 2010 is going to be our busiest yet.”
For more information about Natal products, go to http://www.nataldrums.com