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Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 6:30 pm
by the kid
Inspired by these comments i thought i should start a new tread.

Quote Jimbo "an offering is made to the tree (usually a chicken, some cola nuts and money). there's a person in the village who is entrusted with the job of making the offering and talking to the tree. he asks a series of questions and tosses an open cola nut. the way it lands gives the answer."
Adam wrote: I am just amazed sometimes by cultures and underlying similarities.

In India also the breaking of cola nut is a traditional way of starting something (like breaking the wine bottle on the launch of ship), and it is believed that if the cola doesn't break the first time it is hit on the ground, it is not a very good sign.
I'm pretty sure other cultures used Corrie shells for divination and as a currency as did African cultures.
I wonder are there more similarities between African cultures and other cultures around the world.

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 7:55 pm
by Djembe-nerd
I see a lot of djembefolas bowing to a master in respect during playing, before playing or after finishing there solo, and the master putting his hand on their head.

In India they touch the feet of elderly or teachers to take blessings and show respect, and the person puts his hand almost the same way to give the blessing or accept respect shown. I don;t know if this is exactly similar but same intention.

Dis-similarities : Indian musicians are very particular about approaching their instruments, something very close to considering them sacred. A student washes his hands and feet before touching them, they bow to the instrument before playing it and never put their feet on it.

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:19 pm
by e2c
I suspect that some of the similarities you guys are talking about can be found in other parts of the world, too...

this might be a bit off, but still: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowry

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 12:44 am
by dleufer
My djembe teacher in Cassamnce, Malo Sonko, had an absolute monster cowskin djembe and I asked could I play it one day and was told "No. You'd have to wash in a special way before you played it."

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 1:37 am
by michi
dleufer wrote:My djembe teacher in Cassamnce, Malo Sonko, had an absolute monster cowskin djembe and I asked could I play it one day and was told "No. You'd have to wash in a special way before you played it."
I think there is a lot of ritual and mysticism around the djembe that is gradually getting lost. Is Malo Sonko an older guy or, alternatively, someone who grew up in a village rather than in Conakry? If so, it makes sense for him to be steeped in the tradition more than the young generation of players who have never left Conakry.

Mamady talked a bit more about the seven secrets in San Diego. For example, he says that it is possible to use the djembe to communicate with a still body of water, such as a still pool, or water in a large bowl. But you have to do that at a certain time of day (he didn't say what time). If you play correctly (and at the right time of day), the water will move with the sound of the drum.

He also related another story about the circle of djembefolas, and the importance to protect yourself from bad juju coming from the other djembefolas by wearing the right fetishes and using the right herbs in the appropriate way. One way (bad) djembefolas attack each other is to take a needle and to find the certain kind of tree. The bad djembefola sticks the needle into the tree (presumably with the right ritual and incantations) in order to harm another djembefola. If the attack is performed in the right way, the victim will feel as if he is hitting the needle every time he strikes his drum.

So, if your teacher told you that you have to undergo a certain ritual before playing his drum, that doesn't surprise me at all. Be grateful for having heard that story, even if it means that you didn't get to play his drum...

Cheers,

Michi.

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 2:25 am
by e2c
michi wrote:Mamady talked a bit more about the seven secrets in San Diego. For example, he says that it is possible to use the djembe to communicate with a still body of water, such as a still pool, or water in a large bowl. But you have to do that at a certain time of day (he didn't say what time). If you play correctly (and at the right time of day), the water will move with the sound of the drum.
While I haven't seen this happening, it doesn't really surprise me - someone called my attention to my water bottle once, during a dance class. The water was moving in synch. (though to what part of the accompaniments, I'm not sure! Most likely the lowest bass notes - we were on a wooden stage in a school auditorium, and you could easily feel the floor vibrating under your feet when things were cooking.)

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 3:08 am
by michi
e2c wrote:someone called my attention to my water bottle once, during a dance class. The water was moving in synch. (though to what part of the accompaniments, I'm not sure! Most likely the lowest bass notes - we were on a wooden stage in a school auditorium, and you could easily feel the floor vibrating under your feet when things were cooking.)
Yes, physically, that makes sense. If you have a bit of still water in a container, the size and shape of the water will determine at what frequencies there will be resonances. Whenever the frequency and the propagation speed of water waves across the container hit an even multiple, there will be a resonance. You can get the same effect by putting a speaker close to the surface of water in a round bowl and sending sine waves of various frequencies to the speaker. Adjusting the frequency causes different resonance patterns (which are quite pretty, by the way), but only at certain frequencies that match the resonance of the water in the bowl. At the in-between frequencies, there is little or no movement, and no stable pattern.

Cheers,

Michi.

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 5:45 am
by e2c
i think Mamady is probably describing something that's not mystical per se re. the water, though i can also see why it might be viewed that way... am wondering if a still body of water might be more responsive (or less so) depending on shifts in atmospheric conditions?

i can't help thinking that many natural phenomena have been understood as supernatural (comets, meteors, eclipses, earthquakes, floods) in the past - and likely in the present, in some parts of the world. Yet none of these things are supernatural, unless by that we mean things that are surprising - perhaps frightening - and entirely beyond human control.

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 6:42 am
by michi
e2c wrote:i think Mamady is probably describing something that's not mystical per se re.
Right. There is nothing mystical about setting up resonance waves with a djembe in a bowl of water. (It might turn out to be quite difficult though--I'm sure it would take a fair bit of experimentation and patience to make it happen.)

On the other hand, the story with the needle in the tree definitely falls on the mystical side of the fence for me. (Voodoo, anyone? :) )

Cheers,

Michi.

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Fri May 14, 2010 3:43 pm
by e2c
I'd classify the needle thing as folk religion...

Re: Corries, Cola nuts, Cultural links:

Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:23 am
by Brian Lynch
e2c wrote:I'd classify the needle thing as folk religion...
could folk religion still not be considered mystical