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How to Play Ballet Style Dununs Playing dununs in the old village style–the traditional setup with bells on top of each drum, one drummer each–is great if you have enough skilled players for each of the three drums: dununba, sangban, and kenkeni. But often only one competent drummer is available to play duns, so the […]

The post How to Play Ballet Style Dununs appeared first on Djembe Rhythms from West Africa.

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It’s a way of life. —Frank Zappa I just finished reading a fascinating biography called Hendrix: Musician, by Keith Shadwick (Backbeat, 2012), which caught my eye in the discount bin at the local music store. I’ve been delving into Hendrix lore since working on the 1968–70 portion of a memoir, My Generation. Hendrix was god […]

The post Hendrix and Jamming appeared first on Djembe Rhythms from West Africa.

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I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. — T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” I went to play music with a friend, and when he showed up he said there had been some upset in his family: his young son having a meltdown after a disruption in his routine. I said I could identify. […]

The post Music = Routine + Life appeared first on Djembe Rhythms from West Africa.

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Recently I have been emailing a school student working on a music project, answering questions about West African rhythms. His latest query asked for exercises or tips for mastering polyrhythms. Polyrhythms, in a nutshell, are combinations of rhythms using different time signatures, played together. Here are some prototypical polyrhythms: With any 4/4 pattern…the Afro-Latin clave: […]

The post Polyrhythms Simplified appeared first on Djembe Rhythms from West Africa.

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New Release! Roots Super Jam: Collected West African & Diaspora Drum Rhythms Roots Jam * Volumes 1, 2 & 3 All three volumes of Roots Jam West African and Afro-Latin drumming lessons and notation are now available to you in one book. Learn djembe rhythms, dunun patterns, and other hand drum and percussion parts, along […]

The post Roots Super Jam appeared first on Djembe Rhythms from West Africa.

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Last week I had the pleasure of witnessing up close some ceremonial drumming in front of the Temple of the (Buddha’s) Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Packing my sangban along on this trip for a February drum camp in Thailand, I was eager to see some of the local dundunfolas in action.Not that the rhythms […]

The post Traditional Drumming in Sri Lanka appeared first on Djembe Rhythms from West Africa.

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Two new publications are available this week for beginning or experienced drummers to learn from. Both written in 1996, these resources now make accessible rhythms and experiental lessons that helped me in the early phase of my journey as a hand drummer. Friday Night Jam is a kind of anecdotal, instructional how-to (and sometimes painful how-not-to) […]

The post Drum Jamming Made Easy (Sometimes) appeared first on Djembe Rhythms from West Africa.

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After a long hiatus, I have recorded and uploaded 2 new free drum lessons to my popular YouTube channel – the Djembe Lessons Playlist. In these video lessons I present the basic techniques and patterns needed to play a selection of common patterns for dununs, particularly kenkeni and sangban, in the traditional style with mounted […]

The post How to Play Dununs: 2 New Free Drum Lessons On YouTube appeared first on Djembe Rhythms from West Africa.

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