Discuss traditional rhythms, singing etc
By mrswilsn
#10871
Perhaps I'm a little late to this thread. I'm new to the site and this conversation is very fascinating to me. Currently taking a class in "Music and Globalization." Preparing for an ethnography project... I feel I've only dappled in West African drumming, meeting once a month to play "traditional rhythms."

Ultimately, I would love to pursue my interest in world music. Wondering if my interest in the subject stems from, being from the "Occidental" and lacking a true musical heritage of my own, wanting something genuine/engaging to latch on to.
e2c wrote:I've got some friends who've done intense study of various non-Western classical/traditional instruments. And some of them have worked closely with teachers who are deliberately adding *new* things to the traditions and culture surrounding those instruments. Their teachers do get slams from people who feel that that kind of innovation is wrong, but one of the teachers has stated publicly that they believe it would literally be disrespectful to not be working on finding new contexts for the instruments, along with new and innovative ways to play, adding new pieces to the repertoire, etc.
With the globalization of music, is there a fear out there that soon there will not be a traditional. Will the new things that are added to the music become the norm and the traditional forgotten or replaced? Who's the keeper of that knowledge if it's constantly changing? Does it matter that it's kept?
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By e2c
#10873
My thought is that all living traditions are - like languages, cultures, and people themselves - undergoing a constant process of change.

I used to believe that traditions were extremely fragile; now I'm more of the opinion that intense efforts focused only on preservation - at the expense of innovation - tend to produce the musical equivalent of dragonflies trapped in amber. Amber is beautiful, but not a medium in which anything can live.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the great stalwarts of *any* repertoire were once innovators, and perhaps not always well-received in their day...

I also don't believe that "globalization" is a new thing in terms of music... trade routes and port cities have always made for places where ideas are traded as well as merchandise. If you look into Cuban music and Congolese popular music (and the way that one has affected the other), you can see that happening. (You might want to take a look at Gary Stewart's book Rumba on the River to get an idea of this.) Cuban popular music has also been highly influential in W. Africa, as has calypso, and James Brown, and... And the exchange of music goes both ways.
Last edited by e2c on Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By boromir76
#35868
Interesting indeed. I haven't been to w africa yet, to learn music there. I learn here (in europe) as much as I can from workshops, literature, CD's, etc. As former kit drummer which played rock- funk- electro music styles, my path of getting to know this kind of music is a litlle different, than for someone who beggins with the djembe from zero, with no musical drumming expiriences, I guess... Yes, it is W african tradition, but on the end of the day it's music. It's elements can be and were aplied in other genres and styles of music (blues, jazz, etc), so it is really hard for me to identify with problem of what to do with this kind of specific knowledge outside of it's cultural area...
Last edited by boromir76 on Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:33 am, edited 3 times in total.
By JSB
#35871
boromir76 wrote:...As former kit drummer which played rock- funk- electro music styles, my path of getting to know this kind of music is a litlle different, than for someone who beggins with the djembe from zero, with no musical drumming expiriences, I guess... Yes, it is W african tradition, but on the end of the day it's music. It's elements can be and were aplied in other genres and styles of music (blues, jazz, etc), so it is really hard for me to identify with problem of what to do with this kind of specific knowledge outside of it's cultural area...
I share the same background and I couldn't agree more.
In the traditional context, it's not only music, BUT...it's music too.
#35872
It has never even occurred to me to question why I do what I do. For me the point is that I love the music, pure and simple!

Plus even when I play 'non-traditional' the fact that I can now access the proper sounds make everything that I play more beautiful than before.

Jon
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By korman
#36825
This thread resonates with some of thinking I've had lately.
Ok, so I'm learning this instrument (djembe) and the right technique and the traditional rhythms. I've gotten to the point where I'm somewhat good and can enjoy the way I sound myself. There are a few people who also like the instrument, and we rehearse once a week and I play by myself maybe one or two times a week. But I can't help noticing that most of my playing happens in a sort of sterile classroom environment - rehearsals, occasional workshop I go to. A few times per year I perform somewhere, but the performance is more like one-way exercise, because the audience listens passively.

In my country there is no chance for this music to live in its original, social setting. There are no fetes, and almost noone can dance west african dance. So, yeah, sometimes I wonder - what's the point? Why take workshops from africans, buy books and cds to learn the traditional rhythms, if I could just learn the instrument technique and play with modern music bands (rock,reggae,etc.) or make up my own rhythms and the audience would not know the difference?
Why learn the tradition at all, if that tradition cannot live here?
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By michi
#36828
It can live here, and it does. It's a matter of finding the right group of people (which can be hard, I admit). If you want to watch westerners shredding it, both drum and dance, go to Camp Fareta. There, the music is most definitely very much alive :)

Michi.
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By korman
#36829
Yeah, but when you get back from the camp, the magic dies until the next year?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying traditional rhythms should not be studied, I am doing it myself. The goal I would like to achieve is to form a local community that plays and dances west african rhythms on a regular basis. But it seems so far away, almost impossible to achieve, that I've recently hit a low point of sorts in terms of finding motivation.