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Drumming under water, part 2 by michi on Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:12 pm
The waters in Brisbane have mostly receded, but there are still many places that are inaccessible. I went to help friends of mine yesterday in one of the flood-affected areas. They were the lucky ones, living in a high-set house. They had three feet of water under the house and over their entire block. Despite the relatively mild flooding they experienced, the devastation is incredible. Everything is caked with mud, up to a foot deep in places. The smell is overwhelming: not only mud and rotting plant material, but sewage that got pushed out of drains and toilets during the flood. I saw many houses that were far worse off in the same area, some of them inundated to the roof line. People living in these houses have lost absolutely everything.

Traffic is chaotic with many roads closed. Those roads that are passable are covered in mud up to a foot deep. Driving along a flooded road, there are endless piles of destroyed household goods, furniture, clothes, books, and appliances lined up along...

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Fanka Fellas (Singapore Djembe Group) by monotone on Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:25 pm

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Mama Africa festival 2010 by James on Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:20 pm
I have moved this post up to the main blog for technical reasons :)

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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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Mini-Guinea San Diego, May 2010, day 8 by michi on Wed May 05, 2010 10:56 pm
Day 8 (Wednesday) of the camp.

The intermediate group continued to work on Deniya, including three different breaks, which took up most of the session. Towards the end, Mamady demonstrated the parts for a new 4/4 rhythm called Balandugu Sila. The rhythm was inspired by the trip to Balandugu where Mamady did a pyramid with his students. (If you buy a copy of the volume 4 DVD, there is a great documentary in the bonus material about that trip. Also, listen to Taylor's interview, where he tells a few stories about the horror trip they had to get there. It took forever due to bad roads and technical problems with the cars.) The intermediates will start learning this rhythm tomorrow.

The advanced group finished off Yankadi. At the end of the session, Mamady improvised to Yankadi, which was a joy to listen to. Technically quite simple phrases, but they are placed "just so" and flow out with...

[ Continued ]

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