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One Letter in front of the Other by 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....

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3 Comments Viewed 19045 times
Djembe Troubles by bill on Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:34 pm
Greetings to All from St. Lucia, West Indies.
As a newbie to the world of djembe, I am seeking some advice. A few months ago I purchased a drum from http://www.goldcoastdrums.com in London. The drum is fine (although not the specific drum ordered) with good tone and resounding bass. Last week I took delivery of a second djembe which was kindly and carefully delivered by a friend traveling from England. This one is a complete disaster. The wood appears to have dry rot and crumbles away at the touch of a finger. There are a couple small cracks, just superficial. Wherever the chisel made grooves in the wood, it is crumbling away. On top of that, the skin was loose, pressing a finger on it showed a fairly deep indent. The bass was a dull thud.
So I used all the rope available a did diamonds but the skin did not tighten. I undid it all and tightened the verticals and ended up with about three feet of extra rope...

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Teaching Youth the Djembe by PeacefulWarrior on Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:13 am
I recently started sharing the little I know about playing Djembe with youth’s ages 8 to 11. It is challenging to hold their attention but so rewarding when I see the youngsters 'get it'. I am motivated to share with the youth because to me the future of maintaining the integrity of the traditional West African rhythms is in found in the hearts, minds and spirits of youth inclined to view West African rhythms as important. Trouble is even for the ones that demonstrate a strong connection with the rhythm they must divide their attention with the computers, cell phones and I-pods. I am introducing this topic because I would like to hear stories of teachers of the rhythms, to especially the youth. What are your experiences your triumphs and techniques used to effectively reach the youth?

2 Comments Viewed 18377 times
Red Tweneboa Djembe Review by michi on Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:53 am
Way back in March 2009, we had a discussion on Ghanaian djembes. This was followed in August 2010 by a similar discussion.

The upshot of these threads is that a number of experienced drum makers and players expressed doubt about the quality of Ghanaian djembes, the majority of which are made of a wood called Tweneboa. That wood is very pale (almost white) in color, has a spongy texture and low weight, and is very soft (soft enough to make a dent with a finger nail). In my opinion, (white) Tweneboa is utterly unsuitable for djembes. All the Tweneboa djembes I ever dealt with sound anaemic, lack overtones, and don't achieve proper volume. I would prefer an...

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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...

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