- Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:15 pm
I was thinking about bringing this subject up also, glad you did it. It has been discussed a lot already (look for threads on hand dominance/dominant hand on search).
I had a workshop with Fode Seydou Bangoura, who grew up playing in Les Ballets Africains and Les Merveilles de Guinée, so, a ballet djembefola.
I noticed during the workshop that he would start all his rolls with his left hand; not only rolls, but a lot of other phrases and techniques that most of us naturally play starting with the dominant hand. Some of my buddies who were with him at his camp in Conakry had already wondered about if he is left handed, but no, he's not.
So, I got myself wondering the reason why he would start rolls with the left hand, knowing that Mamady Keita also has this particularity.
One of the reasons that has been pointed out here in the forum on the discussions on this matter is the fact that a lot of rolls, starting on the right (or dominant) hand, and ending usually on the week hand, would force you to resume playing after it with switched hands, or to double a stroke for it not to happen. (I hope I'm making myself clear - english is not my first language).
But I really don't know if that would be the main reason to start rolls with the non-dominant hand.
Most of rolls, I believe, end with the opposite hand to wich it has started. In a lot of these occasions, the accent is on the stroke that ends the roll. So, if you start the roll with your strong hand you will close it with your non-dominant hand on the stroke with the accent. You end up putting the emphasis on the start of the roll, and having to do the accentuation with your week hand. So, if you start the roll with the non-dominant hand you sort of get things in place, so to speak. This is one of the justifications I came to. It makes sense to me, but I haven't checked it with anyone with authority/knowledge for it.
One other thing that I believe is a fact is that if you start a roll with your dominant hand, it will have an emphasis on its beggining. If you start the roll with the non-dominant hand, I think the roll will get more even, uniformed, along its duration. Starting with the week hand will give it a totally different swing, more delicate, or at ease, than if you start a roll with the dominant hand, wich gives it that emphasis on strengh.
So, to the deciding matter. What would/should one do?
My buddies are a lot more advanced players than me. I've noticed that they don't follow this thing, they start their rolls with their dominant hand, eventhough they revere Fode. I guess they have it already too deep in their habits to change now, or they don't see a strong enough reason to change.
These matters are kind of delicate and it always depend on how serious you take your playing and how deep you want to go. And you should have a teacher, or a master on whom you can trust entirely, who can advise you in these and other matters.
One useful thing would be asking one of these djembefolas that do this (start rools with the non-dominant hand) why they do it. It would be really nice if we could get one of them to give a non-evasive answer...
Last edited by davidognomo on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.