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Why the djembe matters to me (Part 2) by michi on Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:27 am
In 2003, I attended a men's gathering where a group of men congregated in the Australian bush for a few days to talk about men's issues. There were various personal development workshops, ceremonies, yoga, singing, sports, dancing, meditation—you name it. One thing that is popular at such gatherings is drumming and, at this particular event, a group of Australians were (skilfully) playing Mandingue rhythms with a full dundun and djembe ensemble. I remember listening and being absolutely fascinated by the richness of the music, and by its depth and complexity. It was like no other music I'd ever heard before. Whenever there was drumming, I was there to listen and feel the music.

At the gathering, the musicians passed around flyers for an African concert that was taking place a few weeks later, and I decided to go along. As it turned out, Epizo Bangoura performed with the ensemble there, and I got to hear a master djembefola for the first time. This was the most jaw-dropping musical experience o...

[ Continued ]

11 Comments Viewed 189453 times
why i teach by bubudi on Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:04 am
i've been a teacher of djembe and dunun for 4 years, but i've been playing djembe 4 times that long. when people ask me why i didn't start earlier, i tell them that i never wanted to be an authority on djembe, but also i never knew what teaching would come to mean to me.

before i began teaching djembe i had taught esl and health topics. english is a language that opens up many avenues for people - migration, jobs, meeting a wider range of people on travels, etc. health topics, on the other hand, educate the public on health issues and options. often it's a means to create bridges so that people can seek services when they are needed.

when i teach the djembe, it's all those things and more. it's not so much whether they can play with the right technique and feel, but to open up avenues for self expression, working together in harmony, creating bridges between people, inspiring and motivating, improving people's self esteem, the list goes on...

lately i've been involved a little more with...

[ Continued ]

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Drumming under water by michi on Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:32 am
Well, here I am in Queensland (the Sunshine State), and three quarters of the state have been declared a disaster area. The recent floods are the worst natural disaster in Australia's history (in extent, not in terms of loss of life fortunately).

Queensland is a large state. To give you an idea how large, take Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. All together, they are not quite as large as Queensland. You need to add Massachusetts and Connecticut to make up the difference. Or, if you want to put it differently, Queensland is has almost exactly 20% of the land area of the entire United States. Three quarters of that are flooded or severely affected by flood.

Queensland has experienced very serious losses of crops and livestock. Infrastructure is seriously damaged everywhere. Roads, bridges, water supply, electricity, communications, etc. It is difficult to ensure supply of essential goods to many areas that are cut off by the floods. Supermarkets are low or empty...

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6 Comments Viewed 137283 times
winter by Dugafola on Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:56 pm
winter means rain here on the central coast of cali.

rain means humidity.

humidity means my drums go down.

i hate tuning drums when it's soggy outside.

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Mini-Guinea Singapore, Sep 2010, Day 5-6 by michi on Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:03 am
Day 5:

Jeremy did his djembe re-skinning demonstration and also gave an intersting talk about the different types of wood that are traditionally used and their respective characteristics. He also talked about the importance of matchintg the skin to the type of wood. Intersting stuff...

For the reskinning, he used a stitching method to hold the skin tight over the flesh ring instead of the rope loop method I've been using. I can see how the stitching will achieve somewhat higher tension on the skin when it is wet, before doing the wet pull. But then, the method is more labor intensve, and I'm not sure it's worth the extra effort. I think I will stick with my tried and true method for the time being.

Another thing that came as a surprise to me was that he did not use any wrap at all on the flesh ring. In fact, Jeremy claimed that doing so makes it more likely rather than less likely for the skin to slip.

This doesn't match my own experience, but I can see that wrapping too thinly around...

[ Continued ]

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