Discuss traditional rhythms, singing etc
By djembeweaver
Wow...great work Jurgen!

This is my favourite ballet part, which I learned from Sidiki Dembelé:
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I like to put this together with the simple ballet part:
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Which together sound like this:
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If you score it in straight 12/8 it sounds all wrong to me, so I swing it out a bit so the spaces are slightly elongated towards 4/4.

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By djembefeeling
Hi Jon,

your djembe parts are identical with MK's, right?
I think your two ballet duns are interesting. Although they aren't in their own, they interlock nicely. Would be nice to teach those when teaching the ballet style duns to students.
By neuroanimal
djembefeeling wrote:Did you notice how this Cuban rhythm is pronounced? wah-wahn-ko. Ring a bell? Siko laiko, right! We have MK singing the words of the same exact rhythm on Djole, which in turn is close to Macrou. In the booklet to MKs CD it is said that the lyrics are untranslatable, mixing nonsense words and words of different languages. Only Siko is given as the traditional drum Djole is played on. Now I at least understand the refrain part of the song. So this rhythm is well known to the musicians of his generation and must have been very popular.
I had notice it before, but I was thinking, that this kind of searching relations could be abusive, excessive, that it could be my obsession only. But it looks, that more people can have the same feelings or ideas about which may be related to which. And the Siko/Sikko/Shiko is another great theme, which deserve to a dedicated topic on the forum board.
djembefeeling wrote:I looked up "Macrou" or rather "Makuru" in many variants in the Susu dictionary and couldn't find any match. Perhaps it is also Malinke? In the Friedländer glossary to her textbook I couldn't find a direct match either, but we could synsthesize it from ma and kuru. Kúru can mean group, society, association, union and the like, while kùru connotes with mountain, range. Since Yankadi-Makuru is about this erotic group dance, I go with the former. Ma also comes in at least two different versions. As it is a preposition standing for lots of meanings, among them: in, on, to, from, through, against, for and the like. In group could be a possible meaning, but Makuru is supposed to be the part where the rows of boys and girls disintegrate and people dance individually. So my bet is on the upward accent, again, since is a morpheme of negation, so it does to the group exactly that: disintegrate. Hence, I estimate má kúru is Màninka for not (in) group.
Wow, you really think, that you have a dictionary huge enough to find there such a word? Names of rhythms, songs, cultural manifestations are changing in time, especially when it is a collision of the civilisations. How much words there are in your Susu dictionary? Btw. What if Makuru is a word from Baga ethnic group (speaking Atlantic-Congo: Mel languages), as the Baga culture has been assimilated into the Soussou culture, and we can see its trace in the "Baga Giné" song? Or what if the word comes from the Bantu peoples (speaking Atlantic-Congo: Benue-Congo languages), which have such words as mäkumba (cults from Ambundu people), maküta or makúta (ceremony for coronation of Kongo kings), mambo (conversation with gods Nkisi), and others with prefixes ma-, mu-, etc. Both relations can be still only the folk etymology misrepresentations. Djembefolaw states, that Makru is from the Soussou people, and Yankadi too. It looks, that both rhythms are related to the full-moon phase. Remember, that old mask ceremonies of close their neighbours like Sörsörnë or Kakilambé were in the Bagatai country. What if the rhythms found today are just adaptations of the older ones from assimilated ethnic groups?
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By djembefeeling
neuroanimal wrote:I was thinking, that this kind of searching relations could be abusive, excessive, that it could be my obsession only
No, you are not alone! :uglynerd: :giggle: I don't think I can really match your obsession, but sometimes I go crazy on something. The problem with compiling data is that, as pure data, the are senseless. You have got to connect those data, you've got to tell a story. The problem with that, on the other hand, is that such a story can be misleading, constructing relationships that are simply not real.
neuroanimal wrote:Wow, you really think, that you have a dictionary huge enough to find there such a word?
No, I don't. Frankly, I have got no clue about the Susu language and didn't even try to compose the word from syllables as I did with the Maninka. But the constructed meaning from the Maninka does fit neatly to the rhythm, doesn't it?! What are the odds that it would do so?

All I did here was just informed guesswork. That is, of course, not decisive reasearch work. Would have to learn languages, do fieldwork and the like. I guess it wouldn't hurt to have studied musical ethnology for a couple of years to avoid the most common pitfalls in a quest like this.
Can't do all that, unfortunately :( So, my second best way is to discuss my theses here on a public forum and wait to be corrected. It is a sad thing we do know so little about these rhythms.

I just started to take lessons this Monday from the Susu guy (Mohamed Sylla) here in Hamburg and did some Yankadi with him. He said Makuru is a rhythm from the Baga. But I am not that sure if he isn't just guessing, too. He learned drumming from Malinke guys, as his first and most important teacher was Koungbana Konde, later Famoudou Konate and Mohamed Bangoura. He also played for a short while with Percussion de Guinee. It was reall fun to learn from him and I will continue to do so on a regular basis...
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By djembefeeling
After my second repetition with Mohamed Sylla, it is clear that Mákúru is not a word in Susu. He thinks it could be Malinké and my translation as no group is possible. Trying to confirm if the rhythm is from the Baga, he said he doesn't really know. Susu or Baga, he thinks they are much related, it doesn't make any difference to him.

But with his competence in his native language, I feel prepared to discuss the next important topic of Yankadi. There is still much left to be discussed, like the soloing on Yankadi and the rhythmic feel. But for now let us see into the songs for Yankadi.

Searching for songs, I asked a friend for what he sings on Yankadi, because I liked his song very much. The lyrics are just a few words in Malinké:
Eh, kele mandyóna, eh kele mandyó, Yankadi bara woulio.
There won't be war soon, so let's get up (and dance) the Yankadi.
When he taught it to me on the phone and I struggled with the rhythmic aspect of the words, he told me to go with the clave. Talking about the clave, he could only mean the son clave:


The son clave is known from Cuba and is much used as a (often hidden) structure even in popular music today. But more and more people doing research in diasporic African music realize that even though the structure of clave was conceptualized first in Cuba, it is also the background of most West African music. The most songs in binary rhythms of the Malinke, I guess, are also structured by the son clave. Take, for instance, two of the songs for Soliba called Balakuandian and you can hear immediately how the son clave points right to the accents of the song:
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So I did just the same to the Yankadi song:
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For the most time, it works just fine. But then there is this little deviation from the third attack of the son clave in the end, the only part where this third attack could be matched but isn't.
Let's get some common ground in terminology here. The clave is divided into two cells. The first half of son is identical to a rhythmic pattern called tresillo in Cuban music: |x..x|..x.|
The second attack point right before the second beat is called bombo, while the third attack point, right between the second and third beat, is called ponche. The ponche is delayed in the rumba clave: |x..x|...x|..x.|x...|
But in the above Yankadi song, the ponche, though in it's right place of the son clave, seems to be a pulse to late for the accented Yan-ka of the Yankadi. It would be more in accordance with an advanced ponche like this |x..x|.x..|..x.|x...|

Listen to the song with this altered clave:
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While it is not uncommon for songs to deviate from the underlying structure of the son once in a while, it struck me that the same deviation of the ponche being advanced by the accented words by one pulse can be found in almost every other song for Yankadi.
Last edited by djembefeeling on Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By djembefeeling
Let us listen to the song of MKs Yankadi:

Tela fa n'ma dugui donkhè ra tela
Eh tela yanfa dununyama mayo tela awa yire
Tela dugui donkhe donfe mufan tela
Eh tela yanfa dununyama mayo tela awa yire

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This song is hinting at the small clothes of the girls dancing the Yankadi and blames it all to the taylor, who allegedly has kept some of the cloth. This is not that uncommon as I could experience in Kouroussa for myself and might be one of the favorite excuses of the girls when their parents scold them for their sexy outfit.
Anyway, it again fits the altered clave much better than the son clave. After some consideration I figured that this is similar to MKs second accompaniment and thus a reduced form of the cascara. Singing the song to the complete cascara (x|x.xx|.x.x|x.x.|xx.) it becomes so obvious that this is the structure along which the song is composed:
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You might think that this is an exception, that MK is closer to a binary form of Yankadi and thus pics a song that fits with his version. but there are other songs that fit as neatly into the structure of the cascara as does the taylor song like this one I found on youtube:


Bere mu sorbè kana fory ah eh
Bere mu sorbè kana fory eh
Eh woi yoh, bere mu sorbeè kana fory ah eh

Wise (I guess literally it is rather: old [see the furie in the last song]) people say "there is a time for work and a time for play. It's the truth."

The lyrics of the song remind much of the first song in Malinké above. The joy of Yankadi is justified by pointing to the severity of life in other situations. This justification might reflect a time where it was still contentious to use a grave ceremonial rhythm for joyous occasions of the young folks.

Listen to the song with the cascara:
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It fits almost as neatly as the taylor song of MK.
Last edited by djembefeeling on Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:11 am, edited 3 times in total.
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By djembefeeling
Still, I like it better with the reduced form of the cascara that is like the son clave with an advanced ponche:
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Another song reflects that you and I have different styles in doing Yankadi (dance and music) and that is good. The whole world has different styles, which is good:
Mutanga Yankadi, Yanka(di) berin dina -- Ma yeré wurali -- Duniya a Yankadi, Yankadi berin dina, ma yeré wurali:
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You can find a different version of this song on Solo Keitas second CD album Fokan, track N°6.

The song that I like most is thought to be an old song for Yankadi by Mohamed Sylla. It is a welcome song for the old people (furie) of a country, town, or village:
Eh woyala, woyala -- wonowalio
Muro re buma, Lagine furie, wofa mama wonowalio

It would be in line with what I consider to be the ancient layer of Yankadi as an old ceremonial dance for respected people (= older people):
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which contrasts to the more "recent" version of Yankadi as an erotic group dance for young people like those girls with little cloth on in the taylor song.
Last edited by djembefeeling on Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By djembefeeling
This "more recent" might already span a time frame of 60 years. I have two more songs with this topic of love affairs. The first can be listened to on Boka Camaras CD Allah Nana, but here it is with the reduced cascara marking the accented words:
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Tana muna, defambore, tana munena
Tana muna, nafamiri, sana na
Atanto chrono chrima, mise ferabare do amun tulesa.
C'mon ca va, defambore, c'mon ca va les,
viva bien, nafamiri, viva bien.
Itanto chrono chrima, mise ferabare do imun tulesa.

How are you, my friend, how are you my girlfriend -- he is here.
Why is he angry, what happened, he didn't call.
Why are you angry, what happened, you didn't call.

The same typical tension of hope and despair in a lover is reflected in the last song:

Eh kola muna chrera muna
Eh kola muna chrera muna
Yakosi kele surufe
Kola muna chrera muna
Kedi na chrera ra

Hey, (I have) neither a kola nut nor a messanger (to advance towards you)
yes, I take one! - neither a kola nut nor a messanger -
(but) this piece of paper (letter) will deliver my message (to you):
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This is by far not a complete list of songs for Yankadi. There are many more. But this list of my personal choice should suffice to establish that the cascara is the underlying structure of Yankadi at least when it comes to the songs.
There are exceptions from the rule, like the Malinké songs on Famoudou Konatés new CD mentioned ealier (which I guess comes from some other background than Yankadi) and on the CD of Ibro Konaté that comes with the book of Sylvia Franke. That song of Ibro rather goes with the son clave.

What is really interesting is that we can find that the the cascara is played on guaguancó (wah-wahn-ko), so that we find the relation to Yankadi/Mákúru once again:


Also, the scarf that MK mentions in his book as a symbol for love has a prominent role in guaguancó, as you can see in some old dance videos on the rhythm.
Last edited by djembefeeling on Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By djembefeeling
Arriving at the solo side of Yankadi I have to acknowledge first that on many recordings, there is lots of balaphone (or chora, or harp) and singing, but hardly any soloing (listen for example to Alpha Oulare and Suge; Famoudou Konaté; Solo Keita; Fode Seydou Bangoura; Lamine "Dibo" Camara and Fore Fote; and M'Bemba Bangoura).

For this discussion, I focus on 5 different sources and styles for soloing:

1. Mamady Keita
2. my new teacher Mohamed Sylla
3. Ryan Camara
4. Epizo Bangoura and
5. Boka Camara

I also like the style of Mohamed Bangoura on the CD "Tamani", but think it is very close to MK's style. Billy Konaté is playing a style very close to ballet style, but for that Boka Camara is doing a much better job IMO.

So let us start with MK as he teaches soloing on Yankadi. For that, I transcribed some additional patterns from his improvisations (I use these geometric symbols like in Sylvia Franke and Ibro Konaté book: triangle = slap, circle = tone, square = base; a muffled sound has a line through the symbol):
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He plays in a call-and-response structure, where the call is a modified first accompaniment, so he is also demonstrating how to play a solo from the base of an accompaniment. This leads to a basic cycle of 4 measures.
Mostly, MK plays the typical crossrhythmic relations of 2:3 (solo 1, 4, 6 + 12), 4:3 (solo 3, 5, 15, 16, partly 13) and 8:3 (solo 18) - typical if you play for 12/8 rhythms especially of the Dja family. Through doubling, he sometimes displaces these crossrhythms (solo 9 + 10). Very influential is it in solo 11, which is at the same time a 9-pulse (subpulses!) displacement and has become a standard solo idea for Yankadi.
Mk doesn't support the fundamental beat structure that often, and if he does, he makes it some kind of spectacular with rolls (solo 7 + 17), a very advanced second pulse (solo 2 + 14) or a quaternary pulse structure for every beat (solo 20 + 21).

My new teacher Mohamed Sylla is also soloing in a call-and-response structure, but does the response usually on the second beat of the second measure, resulting in a shorter, two measured cycle. He also draws on the typical crossrhythmic relations of 2:3 (solo 1 A-E + H-I), 4:3 (solo 1 G + J-O) and 8:3 (solo 1 F; 2 A + B; 3). Just like MK, he does support the fundamental beat structure rarely and only with some kind of special effect (solo 4 + 5). There is also the repeated motif of an advanced second pulse, especially after the second beat:
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Ryan Camara plays it differently. Not, though, in respect to the call-and-response structure. He plays a variation to MKs response, also resulting in a 4 measure cycle. After I transcribed all the soloing from the youtube source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFDy-GJAQJY
I saw that it is well composed in one respect. One of the leading principles of West African drumming and music in general is repetition by the use of variation. The soloist really masters this principle. In the first part (solo 1-5), he is varying the call and sticks to the response - only in the middle, for solo 3, he is also varying the response.
In the next part (solo 6-8), he is varying the complete call-and-response structure by repeating the call two times and using the signal (cut) as a response (he varies this, again, in solo 8 ).
In the third part, he is returning to the response of the first part, but again varying the complete call-and-response structure by also spliting the call into a kind of call and response, varying the second measure. This really is true mastery of repetition by the use of variation as a principle for composition!
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And yet, listening to the soloing I couldn't help this square feeling, a certain lack of thrill. First I couldn't quite point my finger on it. The sounds are decent and the quality of timing is also good. There is, for sure, a very advanced player soloing on Yankadi. But in another respect, it deviates from what I analyzed in the soloing of MK and Mohamed Sylla.

Here, the support of the fundamental beat structure is dominating the complete solo. Solo 1 and 5 are rare exceptions, and even there the tension from the crossrhythmic relation is resolved at the of the pattern. Solo 11-13 do have crossrhythmic relations of 2:3, but by starting the relation fresh on ever second beat with his choice of sounds, it is primarily stressing the beats. His advanced second pulse is only mildly advanced, even in patterns directly taken from MK (solo 8 = MK solo 2).
Especially interesting is the response to solo 3, which is almost within the prominent structure of MKs solo 11. Almost, because the second doubling is usually consistently done after the second "1", but here it is done towards the second "1", thus resolving all of the built up tension into this second "1" and resulting in the usual 12/8 bell pattern of the Dja family, which I have never heard being played on Yankadi by anybody else.
So, the complete soloing seconds the fundamental beat structure instead of challenging it, as is often said to be one of the important roles of solo (master) drumming. The result is a nice and smooth solo, supporting the fundamental beat structure, but just a bit too nice and smooth if you already internalized that...
Last edited by djembefeeling on Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:54 am, edited 5 times in total.
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By djembefeeling
Talking about the structure of MKs Solo 11, we can find this is also highlighted in Epizo Bangouras performance for Yankadi/Mákúru on his DVD Djembe Instruction Vol.2 (see solo 8-11):
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Apart from that, he often supports the fundamental beat with his patterns (solo 2, 4, 6, 7, 12 + 13), or plays some 9 pulse displacements (solo 5 + 14) or off-beat structures (solo 3 + 15-17). His support for the fundamental beat is to some extent balanced by his vivid show while he performs on two djembes, you've got to see his soloing, not just listen to it.
Perhaps he is supporting the beat that much because his call-and-response structure is different. Basically, he plays a response along the lines of MKs, but his starts already with a very close pair of tones on the "4" of the second measure, leaving him with less space for the solo patterns than MK, but also providing him with lots of tension in the response.

To summarize: In soloing on Yankadi, it is very common

a) to play within a call-and-response structure;
b) to play crossrhythmic 2:3, 4:3, and 8:3 patterns as it is quite often done in 12/8 rhythms;
c) to play an advanced second pulse, especially after the second beat of the second measure;
d) to play 9-pulse displacements, especially this Boka Camara thing and MKs solo 11.

While the songs are clearly structured by the cascara, the soloing is more along the lines of the 12/8 SML or rather SLM family, like Manjanin, Konden, Soli and the like. That would to some extent explain the advanced second pulse. But what still puzzles me ist the prominent place of the second pulse after the second "2". I wonder if that has something to do with the cascara, if it is the typical thing to do with a very slowly and hard swung played cascara...

Last, but not least, I will have a glimpse into Boka Camaras style of soloing on Yankadi.
I am fascinated by a short passage close to the mid-break of his track, which highlights IMO the art of his ballet style soloing. It is his masterful and marvelous playing with time, a sort of contraction and expansion of time by mixing all kinds of rhythmic deflections, from binary to triplet and just unintelligible stuff, once playing dense and then light again, but alway completely precise.

It is not at all practical to put that in notation. in order to reproduce what he plays, I put it in a percussion studio file and kept correcting it till it was still in synchronicity after 15 repetitions with the original source.
I put the djembe in 3 lines so you can follow the solo and break. here you have a "notation" of this passage in percussion studio and a sound file from this pcc file:
Boka Camara pcc.jpg
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This is a completely different style of soloing compared to others above. And, as the mutanga song suggested: the whole world has a different style doing the Yankadi. And that is good!
Last edited by djembefeeling on Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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By djembefeeling
bubudi wrote:thanks for that! i really like the mutanga song
you are welcome! glad you like it. My personal favorite is the wonowalio, but I like all of them.
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By djembefeeling
Now, finally, the last question to consider for me on my journey trying to understand Yankadi is the question of it's feel, if it is binary or ternary and how to notate Yankadi, which seems to be the topic of an endless discussion in the djembe community.

here on the forum, we have it discussed on two different threads with at least two different opinions. Michi wrote:
michi wrote:Whether you notate it as a binary or a ternary is somewhat arbitrary. Personally, I prefer the binary version because that version comes closer to what the real thing sounds like. (In Mamady's book, it's also notated as a 4/4 rather than a 12/8.) I think of Yankadi as strongly swung 4/4.
Bubudi, in another post on another thread a couple of years before Michi's comment, described it as being rather the other way round:
bubudi wrote:to my ears it's between 4/4 and 12/8, somewhat more towards the latter.

if you think of yankadi as a 12/8, you'll find that in the dunun patterns, djembe patterns and many of the solo phrases, those strokes that are played on an offbeat are usually on the second offbeat, i.e:

. . x . . x . . x . . x

When coupled with the beat, the pulse is like this:
x . x x . x x . x x . x

which is precisely how the dunun bell patterns go.
also all the various calls for yankadi pretty much follow that same pulsation: x . x x . x x . x x . x

that pulse is like a swung version of the 4/4: x x x x x x x x
that's why all the parts have been so easily transcribed as a 4/4. i believe this practice began with mamady keita's book, which was actually written by uschi billmeier, who was responsible for the notations of the rhythms.

it's also worth mentioning that the yankadi call played by mamady keita (as can be heard on his cd "nankama") is a swung version of the common call used in so many 4/4 rhythms: prem petem pem pete patapa... that too is notated in 4/4 in the book and on the wap pages.

all these things go to support the argument of yankadi being a swung 4/4, which of course has some merit, but in reality this pulsation is still quite different to the usual feel of rhythms from west africa that are played more or less in 4/4 time (even when taking into consideration the swing of those rhythms).
Both Michi and Bubudi think the feel of Yankadi is somewhere between 12/8 and 4/4, but differ in their estimation on which side it rather leans to.

Since it's feeling isn't straight binary nor straight ternary, it can be argued that it is somewhere in between. But I think the demonstrations of the inadequacy of a straight ternary version of Yankadi by Michi and Jon in the ROTM section cannot hold as an argument in this question, since I do not know any ternary rhythm in West Africa that is played without some kind of swing. Take the usual SML or rather SLM family (or just SFL for short-flexible-long, as Rainer Polak calls it) and you will find pairs of dunun attacks towards the beat with some microrhythmic deflection.

The most versions of Yankadi that I listened to have this kind of ternary feel. But there are exceptions, and the most important and influential one is Mamady Keita. On the instructional CDs for djembe rhythms that originated in his cooparation with Rainer Arold in Munich, the ensemble plays Yankadi with a binary feel that is to hard for a 12/8 rhythm of the SFL family. The other example that I actually can post a snippet of is a version of Yankadi played by some guys from Guinee for dance classes in the Gambia and might be influenced by MK:
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These two versions of all the versions I know do feel rather binary. As for Mk on the learning CDs, I have no clue why it is so binary. If you listen to MKs version of Yankadi on his album Nankama, the feel is rather ternary to my ears. Did the ensemble for the project with Rainer Arold played it as Mamady liked it or not? In the description for the CDs, Rainer Arold (on his homepage) writes that
Die Djembe- und Basstrommelbegleitungen wurden per MIDI-Sequenzer aufgenommen. Dadurch können die Rhythmen in unterschiedlichen Geschwindigkeiten und absolut zuverlässigem und stabilem Tempo zum Mitspielen wiedergegeben werden.
meaning that djembe and dunun accompaniments where recorded with a midi sequencer so as to ensure an absolutely reliable timing at different speed. this reliability, I think, results in artificiality, since the swing of a rhythm is usually connected to the tempo.

EDIT: I just called Rainer Arold and he said he would put more swing into the groove if he would do it again. but on the other side, MK didn't complain either when he played his solo on top of the groove.

So, if the feel is different in different version of Yankadi by MK already, no wonder we end up in some confusion. But I rather go with the Nankama version than with the midi sequencer version produced by Rainer Arold.
The ensemble as MK has it perform on Nankama certainly feels different and is rather ternary to my ears. But that is just a subjective feeling, no proof.
So here is an analysis of the first cycle of Mks Yankadi on Nankama:
Yankadi swing MK Nankama.jpg
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the percentage of the durations of the pairs of attack of the bell from the 3rd to the 1st pulse of a beat are between 36.3% up to 44.7%, with an average of 39.1%. That is completely in accordance with the SFL family as Rainer Polak analysed it for Majanin:

http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.10.16. ... s.php?id=5
http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.10.16. ... s.php?id=7

or Suku:

http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.10.16. ... .php?id=27

a binary swing would tend to an average of 44%:

http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.10.16. ... .php?id=31

just like the ternarized Malian rhythm Woloso does:

http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.10.16. ... .php?id=33

So, Yankadi is usually just in the normal span of swing in ternary rhythms of the SFL family - even MKs, who is a bit more binary than other versions. If it would swing less (in a binary sense of swing) it would be considered to have a rather binary feel.

If you consider what MK does in his soloing, that is straight 12/8 stuff, too. His binary patterns (N° 20 + 21) are binary over ternary, not just binary. It would be much to complicated to notate all that in 4/4. It's fair and simple, on the other side, in 12/8.

Still, Yankadi has calls known from 4/4 rhythms and its songs and some of its accompaniments are structured by the cascara, a binary pattern. That reminds us that even though most of its aspects are 12/8, there is this deep binary layer of Yankadi, which MK brings out to the open more than others. On his CD Nankama, there is only one bell and the dundun. I cannot hear a sangban nor a sensedeni. There are other instruments, among them probably a boté, with that musical role.

With his transfer to the standard Hamana set of 3 dunduns, he clearly put a more binary feel into the rhythm. It is often said that the call might have induced Uschi Billmeier to use the 4/4 notation, but I think it is rather the kensedeni and the sangban with their binary bell structure that compelled her to do so. With those two patterns, I would have used 4/4 notation as well. The only other source I know of for such dundun patterns is Epizo Bangoura on his instructional DVD. All other sources I found equiped their dunduns with only 12/8 bell patterns.

It can be speculated if Yankadi is a ternarized 4/4 rhythm or a 12/8 rhythm flavored with some binary aspects according to its model of the Cuban guaguanco (wah-wah-nko). I cannot tell. We would have to know about the old Yankadi as it used to be played as a ceremonial rhythm.
As it is now, it has a rather ternary feel to it, IMO, but the binary aspects are undeniable, though in a different form than in other rhythms like Sogoninkun or Woloso. It is not so much the microtiming, but rather of the structure behind the rhythm that has a binary feel. And the advanced second pulse on the second "2" is just one of its characteristics that makes it special.

EDIT: After some consideration, I think I know the reason for the advanced second pulse on the second "2". It's just a reflection of the same quality in the call t.t|s.t|t.s|t.t|s.b|sss|s.s|s..|

And I changed my mind about the notation. Though I still would use, for practical reasons and in order not to overcomplicate things, a 12/8 notation, t I just learned from David Penalosa (The Clave Matrix, p. 226) that the same ambivalence between a binary and ternary feel is found in the Guaguancó. The same discussion is going on there (see p.251, note 26), with many arguing for a ternary structure.
But Penalosa has a good and convincing argument for a binary foundation. He differentiates between two pulse structures, one primary, the other secondary. While all Rumbas are in between these two pulse structures, he makes clear that only Columbia has a ternary pulse structure as the primary pulse structure, while the binary pulse structure is superimposed on that. With Yambú and Guaguancó it's the other way round. Because I see Guaguancó as the model after that the modern Yankadi is shaped and noted that Yankadi is structured along the cascara, it would be technically correct to notate it in 4/4.
Last edited by djembefeeling on Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:50 pm, edited 12 times in total.