Discuss djembe masters and prodigies here
By Malinois
I just thought I would leave a little review.

I have been playing djembe for 10 weeks. I started out going to Ianto Thornber's group in Leeds which I thoroughly enjoyed. I then got an invite to go and learn with Jon Weaver (DjembeWeaver on this forum). Jon's classes are much smaller and it is difficult to hide in a corner with lots of emphasis on technique and musicality, he even gets beginners playing solo's (intense but great lessons).

I had bought a Kambala pro djembe and as it was ringing too much I thought it might be a good idea to go straight to the horses mouth so to speak and go directly to a djembefola for it tuning so I contacted Iya Sako in Hebden Bridge near Halifax UK.

After some initial communication problems by email we arranged a day for me to go over and have my drum tuned. I told Jon and he said "are you going to have a private lesson". Typical me said no I am not good enough!

Jon encouraged me to have a private lesson with Iya, he said don't think you are not good enough to get a benefit from drumming with a djembefola, do it!

So lesson booked I drove the 40 miles from my house today to see Iya and his wife Steph (Hope Steph feels better soon).

I arrived 15 minutes early and Iya greeted me at the door. I went in and met Steph. Iya then made me a coffee and we all sat down for a chat. After around 30 minutes Iya began to tune my drum.

I have come to appreciate that a Kambala drum although good is not a Guinea drum which is next on my list. Iya put almost a whole row of diamonds on the drum to tighten it for me.

Steph made herself scarce and my lesson began. We started off with slaps and tones so he could see I could produce the difference and that I was also self aware enough to know that I had done them wrong. We did both the popular accompaniments and then we got into some switching exercises where I would play a base with my left then a tone or a slap with my right with a series of slaps and tones interspersed with a base etc, etc. It's difficult to explain although I did record my lesson for later review.

It is fair to say I was sweating buckets, the pressure was on but all Iya would say is relax, its just you and me, nobody watching you are good, you have good technique, you know when you are wrong.

There was lots of laughing and the whole hour was for me intense but at the same time light hearted.

I can say that I learned lots although I am not sure how I am going to assimilate it all yet. I certainly had my game raised and was stretched to do more than I have done in the past 10 weeks but as I say it was all in a relaxed light hearted way.

I will be going back for more lessons with Iya and can say to anyone in the UK who is interested in having a private lesson with a djembefola from Guinea that Iya is more than worth the £25.00 for the 1 hour lesson, he even threw my drum tuning in for free. You can't say fairer than that!