duga, why would the 3 dunun setup have the effect of making the rhythms more 'straight' ?
these days in bamako it's not at all uncommon to see that kind of setup.
michi, there are some guinean rhythms with a lot of swing. definitely the sankaran and wasolon rhythms. also, balakulandian and yankadi. when the rhythm is slower it tends to be more swung. in conakry they like to start fast and this has also influenced the villages as most of the good drummers go to conakry to increase their opportunities.
in bamako they also like to play fast but they tend to start slow and swung. when malians switch to fast sunu, it sounds fairly straight to me (although not very similar to the sunu that mamady keita recorded). in the mali style most of the rhythms actually have different dunun/djembe parts depending on the phase/tempo of the rhythm. they often go from a swung binary to a more straight ternary feel, but they actually still bear some resemblance. intuitively, you're playing the same rhythm but changing the feel and dropping/shifting some notes. take the ballet dunun for sunu for example:
d . . d|. . . s|. . s .|s . . d
drop the last dununba and the second sangban stroke and put the first sangban stroke on the beat and you've got the fast pattern:
d . d | . . . | s . . | s . .
you have to hear some recordings of malian sunu to appreciate this:mali
siaka doumbia et al - mali drums: young guns, tracks 5 & 7
donkili: call to dance: festival music from mali, track 3
ibrahima sarr - porte 386, track 5
mady keita - traditional djembe music from the bamana & manding peoples, track 1
soungalo coulibaly - naya, track 8
mare sanogo - fourassi (one of the last tracks)
francois dembele - san toro, track 5
sega sidibe - sega kan do (cd, dvd & book instructional package)
mamadou kante - drums of mali, track 5
abdoul doumbia (self titled), track 4
abdoul doumbia - denbaya, track 4
moussa traore - mali foli, track 2guinea
fore fote - wonbere, track 7
africa sabou njouma (feat mamadou delmundo keita) - house of roots, track 1
mamady keita & sewa kan - live at couleur cafe, track 6
mamady keita & sewa kan - nankama, track 6
karamba diabate - journey into rhythm, track 8burkina faso
surutu kunu - african percussion, track 4senegal
thione diop - kham saa thiossane (one of the last tracks)
abdoulaye diakite & mamadou sidibe - jebebara: the bamana djembe, track 4
abdoulaye diakite & leon mobley - mandingo drumming (last track)
papa assane m'baye & tam tam magic - mame michelle lam, track 3