EvanP
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Location: Portland OR, USA
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A Year in the Life of a Djembe Addict
   Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:50 pm

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A Year in the Life of a Djembe Addict

Permanent Linkby EvanP on Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:50 pm

I'm Evan and I'm a djembe addict.

It's been a little over a year since I not only learned what a djembe is, but how to spell it, how to play it (sometimes/mostly), at least names/locations of 25% of the countries in Africa, and about 2% of their culture.

In January I had the opportunity to attend a Mamady Keita workshop. Although I didn't meet the minimum requirement of 1 year of experience, my teacher requested an exception for me and Ali/Mamady approved. All of the superlatives are trite and overused, but it blew my mind. I learned so much, not just about drumming and rhythms, but about pedagogy. Mamady is the best teacher of anything I've ever had. He was able, in a class of 40-50 people, to connect individually with each of us, offering encouragement and pushing to our limits (but not beyond). An added bonus was an amazing party after the second class at a local Cuban musician's house for a rumba. The energy and music was fantastic, and it was great seeing Mamady play conga...

[ Continued ]

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One Letter in front of the Other

Permanent Linkby EvanP on Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:52 am

I've never blogged. To be totally honest, I'm not sure I'm comfortable writing a diary on the 'net, but thought I'd give it a shot. We'll see where it goes.

I'd never heard of a djembe 6 weeks ago. My journey began with a present for a friend, and in the few hours between when I purchased the drum and gave the present, I got hooked.

I've now got two instructors, a quickly growing MP3, CD, and DVD library of Western African music. Oh, and a beautiful lengke drum that sometimes makes amazing sounds (when my technique allows), and always makes me smile.

Right now I'm struggling with rhythms. My western ears and brain really struggle to make sense of the rhythms. The challenge started, however, with making the right noises.

My first challenge was the slap. Bass and tones were pretty easy, but I just couldn't get my fingertips to sting the way they should. Then I hit one. Then another after many failed attempts. Now I'm slapping with ease, but not liking the sound of my tones....

[ Continued ]
Last edited by EvanP on Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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