Francis with the 30th Anniversary congas

Because We Love to Celebrate

By Dave Perlowski - The birth of a child. A wedding day. Day 1 of a first job. A birthday. Anniversaries. All reminders of memorable events giving us pause to reflect with gratitude. So, with 30 years of making ultra-high quality hand drums in the rearview mirror, MOPERC has good reason to celebrate that first conga crafted in a cramped Canadian shop by Michel Ouellet. It was that first drum that elevated the standard of excellence by which all conga drums might be judged, and after thirty years, that first conga is still playable! Yeah, we’ve got something to celebrate!

Of course, Michel had already been making bongos, djembes, batas and bingbas (his own invention) for several years while he worked upon figuring a way to craft staves into a conga drum, but once done, he never looked back and the entire drumming community can applaud Michel’s attention to detail and precision that gave us the pure, traditional sound and quality of MOPERC drums. And we can also applaud Michel for selling drums in 15 countries before turning the business over to the worthy care of Francis Mercier, who has further improved upon the perfection of MOPERC drums.

So, what better way to honor that great event than with a special, limited edition, 30th Anniversary Series Congas?  (Thought you’d never ask).

30th Anniversary conga Moperc

Looks Count

To build a drum that appropriately celebrates the history of MOPERC drums, Francis meticulously studied Michel’s creations from over the years. “If you look at some of the first congas made by Michel, they were literally Custom Cubano series with four bands,” Francis said. “But some of his first conga prototypes did NOT have a pronounced curved belly, which is the shape we went with for the 30th anniversary.”

Now, for some who may have been following the MOPERC story over the years, this may conjure up visions of the MOPERC Rumbero series that Michel created as tribute to some of the conga makers from the 50s like Gonzalo Vergara, whose “straight” shape became de rigueur of the rumba, but as trends change, people wanted congas with fat bellies and the Custom Cubano, as we know it today, was introduced. But, as often occurs, we are in a resurgence toward the traditional Cuban style and sound, which is why MOPERC celebrates its 30th anniversary with a 30” straight belly drum with 4 bands.

Variety of Moperc drums

Michel's original Rumbero drums were made from red oak, but he later switched to ash and mahogany and added a slightly larger belly for the shape. Initially, Francis began his first 30th Anniversary prototypes in ash before settling on mahogany. “The ash drums were not what I was looking for. Genuine Mahogany had been used by Michel as well as by many renowned conga makers from years ago, like Junior Tirado, Gonzalo Vergara and Sonoc, so I decided to use this prized wood for these special drums.”

Francis made a set of five prototypes from a single slab of Brazilian mahogany (you may want to consider doing this, too) and the result was well…crazy! He had created a traditional–looking conga drum with modern features including the Rumbero series stainless steel side plates. And now they are ready to go! Au naturel, of course, because who would want to conceal the wood’s beautiful grain and chatoyancy?

So How Do They Sound?

In a word: Traditional. In other words, they sound like MOPERCs! Pure, but with significant differences from other MOPERC models. With a straighter shape resulting in a smaller internal volume, the 30th Anniversary Series drums provide a more focused sound that is warmed by the Brazilian mahogany they are made of. When compared to the larger belly shape of other MOPERC drums, which produce brighter mid-to-high frequencies combined with a lower undertone, the 30th Anniversary drums produce more mid frequencies from the open tones, creating a mellow sound. Because the fundamental note is higher, less skin tension is required to attain a given note, providing a greater tuning range with less ring and overtone.

Judged By The Slaps We Make

Each of us who has learned how difficult it is to finally coax a reasonable slap from an entry-level drum is amazed by our first experience on a MOPERC drum and the 30th Anniversary Series Conga takes that playability to an even higher level. With overtones reduced, so too, is the effort required to attain an attention-getting slap that requires no explanation. The smaller interior concentrates sound waves, sending them out at a higher frequency resulting in a crisp, high-pitched, cutting slap that many bands would be challenged to drown out.

In the Bass(ment)

Overtones are part of the sound of every conga drum and the MOPERC reputation for providing excellent balance between tone and brightness is legendary. Because the shape of the 30th Anniversary Series drums reduces harmonics there is also a reduction of bass note sustain, and with the fundamental notes being a bit higher, the bass notes from these mahogany drums are always pleasant and powerful. 


The MOPERC 30th Anniversary Series congas are destined to “instant classic” status which, like other MOPERCs, will likely improve in value over time. Only 100 of these numbered drums will be made, so don't hesitate and be late out of the gate. 

Some drums are constantly uploaded to our website.

If the online store has no drums in stock, be quick and order your drum sizes to receive your 30th Anniversary Series Congas for delivery within five weeks.

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Tengo bongos. Djembe. Tienen un sonido. Muy particular. Muchas. Grasias. Francis.


ready to ship takes me to a dead link.

arturo riera

Thank you Francis and all the craftsmen @ Moperc – I got my set of 4 not long ago [11.75, 12.5, 13.25, 13.5] ash Yemaya blue with rawhide skins – and really love them. The first drums I ever had [way way back] were mahogany Gon Bops, which sounded great and I also own Skin on Skins, Meinl’s, LP Galaxy drums…I’ll always love my Skin on Skins and love Jay Bereck and his legacy…but the craftsmanship @ Moperc is unmatched…the stainless still is gorgeous and will stay that way forever. One thing I mentioned to Francis that I haven’t heard anyone else say is that these drums stay in tune very well – and with rawhide or any natural skins, keeping them in tune is tricky. I live in South Florida, so the humidity and heat change a lot but even after a two-week trip with the A/C set at 80f while gone, I come back and they stay the way I tuned them [verified with a tuning gadget]…keep up the great work and remember to give TLC to those of us who prefer natural skins, because the feel and sound are incomparable – merci beaucoup/mil gracias! César

César M Melgoza

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