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By Rhythm House Drums
#7165
I'd love to see some Ballet djun-djun rhythms up here!

I know it's not traditional, and a lot of it seems to just be improvised from the traditional rhythms... A lot of times I'll go through Mamady Keita's book A life for the djembe, and figure out how to set up the djun section ballet. Sometimes it requires leaving out a hit or two and deciding which is most important to the rhythm.... one example is that I've been playing Moribayassa ballet style and the sangban closed hits line up with the kenkeni... the kenkeni is consistent throughout the rhythm, so I leave off the closed hits on the sangban to keep the kenkeni strong.

It seams some ballet setups are very different from the traditional djun section... I don't have an example on hand, but I've heard a few.

So how about it? Anyone especially drawn to a specific rhythm on the ballet djuns, one that just feels like it rolls out of your soul and that you can't sleep at night because it's pouring into your head??

I'd love to learn some of your fav's... and I'm sure there is other interest here as well.... especially for someone maybe coming off drum kit.... that feels very comfortable playing ballet style.... wow... I use these "..." a lot... :)
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By Carl
#7166
Ok, I'll bite.

One I've used for a while is Mendiani, Left hand play's sangba, right hand plays dununba, right hand plays the kenkeni part that fills the hole in the dunun part (the only thing missing is the kenkeni part which is covered by the dununba.

I played with a way of getting all of the parts in (right and left hand get the kenkeni part missing above) While it is theoretically possible, it is not practical at normal tempos. :)

My next step is to work out a variation for the dununba... :twisted:

One that is a great chops builder would be djoli, Left hand for kenkeni (all upbeat doubles!) right hand for sangba/dununba. Also Zaouli; Very fun with breaks!

My general rule is to drop the mutes when they are covered by another part (or if they are physically unplayable at tempo!)

On a side note, when the dunun heads are resting on the ground, I refer to it as Ivory Coast style, and when there are two dununs on one stand so that you can still play the bell, I call it ballet style.

For the 2 drums on a stand style I like Djaa II, Konowulen II, Djansa, Kanin II, Demesolikulen.

The big down side for me in all of this is trying to work in variations. Once you add the other drum (or drums) it's much harder to reinforce solos and or dancers!

C
User avatar
By Carl
#7167
Just thought of another... Soli des Manian

Kenkeni and dununba on right hand Sangba on left. Have to work in a way to get dununba variations? Maybe a combined sangba/kenkeni on left hand, then variations with the right????

I see more time in the woodshed in my future....

C
User avatar
By bops
#7170
Carl wrote:On a side note, when the dunun heads are resting on the ground, I refer to it as Ivory Coast style, and when there are two dununs on one stand so that you can still play the bell, I call it ballet style.
:?: Why IC-style? Ballets from all over West Africa play dununs that way.

Back to topic, I like sunu.
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By e2c
#7172
Ditto bops' question (and comment). it's done in Mali and Guinea and... gosh, who knows where all else?

I like a lot of the ballet arrangements (basic and "advanced") that Fara Tolno recorded for the Rhythm Reference Project, btw.
By bubudi
#7178
Carl wrote:One I've used for a while is Mendiani, Left hand play's sangba, right hand plays dununba, right hand plays the kenkeni part that fills the hole in the dunun part (the only thing missing is the kenkeni part which is covered by the dununba.
must try. that seems a bit difficult.
One that is a great chops builder would be djoli, Left hand for kenkeni (all upbeat doubles!) right hand for sangba/dununba.
that's what i normally do if i get to play dunun on djole. epizo showed it to me years ago. it's not very hard.
My general rule is to drop the mutes when they are covered by another part (or if they are physically unplayable at tempo!)
i played bata for a while. between lessons my teacher had all 3 bata drums strapped to a stand and a few times he showed me how some of the rhythms we'd been working on were played by one person. then he asked me to try. because bata has tones and mutes played on one hand and slaps on the other, it was fairly easy to work out the handings and i only needed a bit of help, mainly to know how to handle the mutes. most of them were left out. being able to play all 3 parts simultaneously is a fantastic skill to have, but you do lose a lot of the subtleties of the music.
For the 2 drums on a stand style I like Djaa II, Konowulen II, Djansa, Kanin II, Demesolikulen.
i actually really like playing 2 or 3 dunun horizontally on a stand as opposed to vertically on the ground. it's more physically challenging and uses different muscles.

as for the bell, you can mount one on the kenkeni in a vertical ballet setup.
By bubudi
#7179
bops wrote:Why IC-style? Ballets from all over West Africa play dununs that way.
i guess both the vertical style and the one with 2-3 drums horizontally tied to each other/on a stand can both be called ballet style.

the vertical style is traditional to part of the forest region of guinea and ivory coast (although only 2 dunun were played that way). but i think that the way dununs are played in ballet contexts is different.
I like sunu.
sunu rocks! especially when it switches into the ternary bit.
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By Carl
#7196
e2c wrote:Ditto bops' question (and comment). it's done in Mali and Guinea and... gosh, who knows where all else?
We came up with that for clarification.

Ivory Coast uses the drums vertically in their tradition. (as Bubudi mentions) That was the first place I heard that as a traditional practice. Generally we do not differentiate between "traditional" Ivory Coast style (bao, zaouli) and "ballet arrangement Ivory Coast Style" Mendiani - 3 parts, Djoli - 3 parts etc.

When we "stack dununs" on a stand, so that we can play the bell with the two drums, we call it "ballet style"

then there is "traditional" which would be horizontal, on stands (or carried) with bells one person per drum.

Keep in mind that this is terminology used by one band in New England, USA. It can easily lead to confusion (for example, "Ivory Coast style Mendiani" is NOT a traditional Ivory Coast version of Mendiani)

What we call "traditional" should really be called Mali/Guinea traditional, but even then there are inaccuracies and things left out.

Also, there are differences seen in the ballets as well. I've seen players play with one drum on a stand (with a bell) with 1 or more drums on the floor (vertical). Also there is the style where the dununba is vertical on the floor, with what I would call two Kenkeni's strapped to it's side. I've seen this configuration so often that I wonder if there is a name for it? Many times when I've seen this, there has been another player playing what I would call a Sangba in the traditional style.

Finally, yes, each of these modifications changes the feel of the music. Especially veriations. For some songs (like Mendiani) FORGET about veriations. I've figured one possible veriation, and sometime I'll try to put the hours neccessary into it in order to pull it off. Improvisation? Forget it!

By far my preference is to have one person per drum (Ivory Coast or Guinea style) but sometimes, for various performance reasons, this is not convenient. My band is swinging back towards the one person per drum side after having at least half of our performance songs done the other way...

The wheel turns.

C
By Garvin
#7198
I played dun duns for Fara for a few years, and was taught also by one of Mamady's TTM profs. Fara's Rhythm Reference arrangements are great for this.

My observations have been the following:

In the ballet style (3 duns on the ground) you are definitely going to lose some of the mutes. Not all, but some. Also, with the exception of Kuku (in my case) it is not only impractical, but nearly impossible to keep riding the kenkeni while playing the arrangements, at least the rhythms I was shown. And of course you are missing the bells. Occasionally I'd play 3 duns, and we'd have a seperate person playing sangban with a bell, which is freaking awesome. A good sangban player can, over the course of an hour dance class, teach you a whole lot about the rhythm that you never heard and thoroughly rock your world.

On the Rhythm Reference, you are given a good basis for playing ballet style. I would highly reccommend checking it out. But this is not the one and only way. Fara himself would have several different ways of playing a ballet style for any of the rhythms depending on skill level, endurance, tempo, and other factors. It is very much an improvisational thing (I concluded) but you definitely have to understand what the sangban is saying with the dundun in order to play good ballet duns.

In nearly all of the different groups I've dropped in on, folks have different ballet versions they've been taught. I usually just ask the drummers how they usually hear it rather than say "well, Fara taught it to me like this, so this is how I play it" or "Mamady's guys taught me that, so that's the only way I do it" I figured out a long time ago that there is more than one correct way to do things, and you'll find a lot more new spots in the rhythms by trying all the different approaches.

EDIT: I am a kit player and definitely find this to be helpful when learning or playing ballet style duns.
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By bops
#7199
The terms that I've heard used in Africa to describe different dunun setups are:

Dunun composé (combined dunun) : a set of three vertical dununs
Dunun superposé (stacked dunun) : a set of two or three horizontal dununs, played with a bell
User avatar
By the kid
#7201
Carl wrote:The wheel turns.
How many times is that carl? :giggle:

I've heard of 2 more smaller bass drums the same as kenkennies and dundunba which are sometimes used. I;m not sure if this is a Boke style or what.!. Prehaps these were used in guinea before the big dundunbas got popular/built. My guinean mates in gambia rock it out with Krin Bolon, Bungo(gongoma) and 2 small bass drums standing vertically on the ground.

I'm thinking there have been loads experimentation with dundun set up and it'll continue i'm sure. Different things work for different rhythyms and different players etc etc.

What we think is 'not traditional' might really be tradition some where.?>

Back to origional question.. Balakulandjan is nice and easy to play 'ballet' style. I've just really experimented with this and Rumba/Djole, and Bolokonondo(works better sideways with 3 bass drums and bell(basic).
By Garvin
#7202
HAHA! Dundun superpose... I love it!

I can't imagine playing 3 plus a bell horizontally. I've seen it, I just know my own physical limitations. I like to hit those f***ers hard, like they owe me money, you know? I would kill myself trying to play as hard as I do "compose" with one arm.

Kudos on the terminology bops. I'll drop that on some folks and see how they react. "hey man, you don't have to super-pose, just play".
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By the kid
#7203
Yea on Bolokonondo i drop the bell for the bass and sanban intersection. needs more work too...

Yandadee is another ballet classic but i perfer the bass to be constant especially when playing with dancer
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By Carl
#7206
Here's a nice arrangement that works in 4/4 (not traditional)
4 kenkeni's Let's call them 1, 2, 3, 4 (1 highest pitch, 4 lowest pitch)

Left to right the drums would be set up 3 2 1 4 (3 and 2 for left hand, 1 and 4 for the right hand)

11224433 (16th notes, this pattern would be 2 beats, or 8th notes to make it 4 beats)

doubles on each hand so it would go RRLLRRLL

11224433
RRLLRRLL


This makes a nice wash of sound on the high end. Best for wara-wara style tempos. and a major chops builder! For drumset players you can get into doing rolls over the drums for added effect. the tuning should be far enough apart that each drum sounds distinct, but close enough that the lowest drum is higher than the sangba.

C