Well folks, it is finally here! After a very long road of playing, videoing, shooting, editing and re editing I am very excited to let you all know that my all new DVD, “How To Play Djembe” Volume 1 is now available at X8drums.com. It is over 1 hour and 40 minutes long and covers every possible aspect of how to play the djembe!
One thing I have noticed in my many, many moons of drumming is that although someone may be trained in west african drumming music, djembe or dununs and technically be a great or at least a knowledgable djembe player or even drum teacher, it does not mean they know how or can play djembe solo or more accurately lead djembe for a dance class.
West African hand drumming and specifically speaking, “traditional djembe drumming” is based on a system of fundamentals or “basics” just like any other type or form of drumming be it Indian, Afro Cuban, Brazilian or even the western drum set. There are rudiments or “basic fundamentals” of djembe playing that can be similar to drum set rudiments but also have some other important factors that are often missed in the learning process of many djembe players of all different levels. And what are djembe rudiments? They can consist of techinque, basic rhythm structure concepts, composition (how pieces are formed and go together), “the feel”, learning the basic djembe hand patterns and learning the dunun. It is also important to learn about the history of the music you are playing and the meaning of the pieces as well. I will discuss some of these items now.
Have you heard of the Mano Secreto? It is the secret hand technique used and first made popular by percussion legends Changuito and also Giovanni Hildago. Prior to these great conga players there was another player named tat Guines in Havana Cuba who was developing this technique. Why is it secret? Because until recently (well about 10 years or so ) no one else could do it. Now everyone is doing it but there are not a lot of great instructional videos about it unfortunately.
A few nights ago I was invited to play congas and percussion at a nice sushi and jazz club in Legion, Bali where I am teaching drums, performing and visiting right now. The jazz club is very similar to Yoshi’s in the bay area of San Francisco and Oakland, California (in the USA). I had eaten dinner downstairs before during the day, but never been into the music section of the establishment.
Are you a percussionist, drummer or musician and are ready to go out there into the “real world” and make a go at it as a pro? If so I have some solid suggestions I have learned along the way I can share with you here. If you follow these tips you will be well on your way.
One thing I have noticed over the years and a very important life lesson for me has been that it is not usually the most talented or best player that get’s the great gigs, it is the person with the most outgoing personality, the person who networks and get’s out there. It’s an undeniable fact, and one that needs to be acknowledged if you are going to try and be in the music business.