There are several different ways for serious students to learn and to study traditional and folkloric drumming from other countries. Today I am going to talk about two different approaches, completely different and both are valid in my book. We can try to be universal, find commonality and study the underlying principles and basic structures of different types of hand drumming.This means studying different styles from different countries. Often there are different hand patterns, playing techniques, arrangements and language or what I like to call “languaging”. The other style of learning is the one thing at a time approach. One style from one place.Each style or type of learning has it’s pluses and minuses and it really depends on you, who you are as a musician and drummer. In the …
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I am very happy and excited to tell you about an amazing new film documentary by Aja Salvatore called “Music In Mali: Life Is Hard, Music Is Good”. This feature-length documentary is about the musicians, dancers and everyday people of Mali who are creating inspiring heartfelt music in some of the most difficult living conditions of West Africa.
Let’s face the facts. Until Mamady Keita arrived in the USA we were playing djembe ass backwards. For example, Mandiani was more often then not being played backwards as Soli, (Donba in Senegal) or visa versa. We were doing the best we could at the time as there was very limited resources available in the late 70’s and very few instructors as well. It was prior to the internet and consumer cmcorders were still years off. All we had was cassette recorders. We westerners needed to be shown and taught “the one”, *(the starting beat or first “pulse” as we call the 4 beat that goes through all of west african drumming and djembe music). We were hearing the music wrong and needed to be shown correctly. It was as …
My first trip to Africa was to Mali ,West Africa. I was always scared to go to Africa even though all my friends and students had already gone and the reports were always very positive. I was scared of getting sick. I heard the horror stories of people getting sick there, the poor hospitals, bad conditions and everything else. But in the back of my mind since I first started playing in the 70’s I knew I would go, I knew I had to go. I was just waiting for the right timing,
Very athletic and amazing dancers solo and perform at a “dununba” community drum and dance celebration. Dununba refers to “strong mans dance” as it was originaly called and used as. This djembe drum and west african dance party takes place at my friend and teachers house, the late, great and legendary Konoko Sano of Ballettes Africans fame.
Memorial Day weekend was beautiful and truly “memorial” with Carnaval 2010 in San Francisco and also the well attended and amazing West African, Afro Cuban, Ewe (Ghana) and Brasilian (Brazilian) drum and dance party in Mosswood Park, Oakland , California! [smooth=id:42;]