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Status symbol? - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

For chatting and discussions.
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By michi
#7241
I've always been under the impression that the seke seke on a djembe represent some sort of status symbol or sign of achievement: the lead djembefola might have three seke seke, the first accompaniment player might have two, the second accompaniment player might have one...

Also, years ago, one of my teachers told me that it would be inappropriate for me as his student to put seke seke on my drum during a performance where I'm playing with him.

At the recent Bundagen camp, I asked Epizo about this. To my surprise, he said that it would be totally OK for everyone at the performance to put seke seke on their drum, no matter what their level of skill is, and that it would be totally OK to do this anywhere, even in Guinea. (So, I ended up playing with my seke seke for the performance :) )

Does anyone else have any opinion or experience regarding this? Was my teacher from way back simply protecting his status?

Cheers,

Michi.
By Garvin
#7242
Good question. I've always felt like those were reserved for the main soloist, or the masters. No real background knowledge, though I'm sure someone will be along shortly to inform us.

I use them up where I live, but I wouldn't use them around my teachers, or anyone who I know has lots of experience.
User avatar
By Rhythm House Drums
#7247
I use to drum with the sege sege on all the time. I like the added texture and I think they look nice, add a new dimension to the drum in both sound and appearance. I had been told by some "white folk" that I drum with that only the lead should have the sege sege, and only if they have achieved a certain level of confidence/skill on the djembe. I complied and take them off when I play with other people.

However I've talked with both Abou Sylla and Fode Camera about the sege sege. They are both in agreement that they are there to (in Abou's words) "Make the drum beautiful".

I still leave them off when I'm playing with a group for the sole purpose that I don't want to be the only one with them on and give peeps the wrong idea... I am no masterfola and know that a lot of people do view having these on as being reserved for the djembefola, or at least the lead/soloist.

I've also heard that they were put on to hide the hands so people cannot see your "trickery" but I fail to believe this. I've heard that they were used at times of war, to add more presence to the ranks.

Maybe an insight to their origins will help clear up what is acceptable sege sege usage??
User avatar
By Dugafola
#7249
Rhythm House Drums wrote:I use to drum with the sege sege on all the time. I like the added texture and I think they look nice, add a new dimension to the drum in both sound and appearance. I had been told by some "white folk" that I drum with that only the lead should have the sege sege, and only if they have achieved a certain level of confidence/skill on the djembe. I complied and take them off when I play with other people.

However I've talked with both Abou Sylla and Fode Camera about the sege sege. They are both in agreement that they are there to (in Abou's words) "Make the drum beautiful".

I still leave them off when I'm playing with a group for the sole purpose that I don't want to be the only one with them on and give peeps the wrong idea... I am no masterfola and know that a lot of people do view having these on as being reserved for the djembefola, or at least the lead/soloist.

I've also heard that they were put on to hide the hands so people cannot see your "trickery" but I fail to believe this. I've heard that they were used at times of war, to add more presence to the ranks.

Maybe an insight to their origins will help clear up what is acceptable sege sege usage??
they were used in times of war in the pre-colonial era to protect the drummers who would accompany warriors in the battle field. the drums were used to convey signals over long distances and to communicate with the warriors.

i think that over time they became a sort of djembefola gri gri in that they would shield off the bad energy from people or other djembefola when playing at a festival or competition...and also to hide your hands a bit.

now they are just a djembe bling bling. i play with them often...at least when i remember to grab them.
By Paul
#7253
We go out and play on the street alot in Ireland.. Drunk people/hippies come up and want to hit your drum.. So they ward them off... I sharpen the sides just to make sure..
By Garvin
#7260
Paul wrote:We go out and play on the street alot in Ireland.. Drunk people/hippies come up and want to hit your drum.. So they ward them off... I sharpen the sides just to make sure..
Hahaha! Take that hippies!!!

Kudos Paul...
User avatar
By Dugafola
#7261
my wife was dancing dununba for me at a party and she ended up impaling herself on the tip of one because she got too close. :bandaid:
User avatar
By michi
#7327
Interesting, thanks for that. I'll ask Mamady next week. He may have something to say about this too.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By e2c
#7329
I've been wondering if this (status) is more of a ballet-related thing... sounds like it could well be.

There are lots of African instruments that make use of the kind of buzzing sounds that the sese produce - it seems odd to me that they would be reserved for masters, in villages and towns, at least. But professional troupes are a whole different world.
By bubudi
#7330
quite the opposite. segesege have lost their significance in the ballets. having said that, i'm not sure if all villages traditionally associated them with status. mainly the reports about segesege being a status thing have come from senegambia. it would be useful to ask more malinke and bamana masters from mali/guinea about this subject, particularly those who took their apprenticeship in the village - fadouba, famoudou, koungbana, mamady, wadaba, bolokada, etc.
User avatar
By e2c
#7333
I'd think that the fact that sese are often (in Africa) made out of commercial tins would argue against them being a "status" indicator, and more for them being an extra sound-maker on the drum, but hey, that's just me... The only reason I don't have (or use) them at this time has everything to do with the perception that only master players are allowed to use them. (Which seems to be the way many people in my small part of the US view them.)
User avatar
By rachelnguyen
#7373
Paul wrote:We go out and play on the street alot in Ireland.. Drunk people/hippies come up and want to hit your drum.. So they ward them off... I sharpen the sides just to make sure..
LOL, this is great. But it made me think of the fact that when I play with my teacher, I get absolutely no respect. What I mean by that is that if we are playing at an event or something, people think nothing of walking up and asking if they can have a 'turn' at my drum, but would NEVER ask Sidy such a thing. My standard response is an emphatic but polite 'no'.

I think I will have to try the sege sege and see if it helps.

And maybe I need to start another thread about respect.

Love,
Rachel
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