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Mamady's workshop in San Diego - Page 4 - Djembefola - Djembe Forum

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By michi
#7651
Day 5...

The intermediates started on Kotedjuga today. Mamady finished teaching Wassolonka to the advanced group and taught us a rhythm called Dai, which is one of Mamady's own compositions. It is named after a Japanese young man who is a friend of Mamady's. We learned a reasonably easy intro for this, but no breaks or solos.

Level 4 of the pyramid is Soli des Manian. Mamady spent all afternoon teaching the intro to this. It has one rather challenging very off-beat and surprising phrase in it that took the best part of an hour to learn, even though the phrase is no more than five or six seconds long. I could sense Mamady's frustration at times. In the end, pretty much everyone got it, but it was touch and go there for a while. I suspect that people will regress overnight but, tomorrow, at least it will be easier to recapture the phrase than it was today.

Tomorrow, no solos or breaks, but lots of different rhythms to add to the collection. (Mamady gave a little speech today saying that some people are here to collect material for teaching, so he wants to spend the morning simply throwing rhythms at people to record. The usual sangban, kenkeni, dundunba, accompaniment 1, accompaniment 2 type of stuff.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By michi
#7668
Ok, I'm really trying here... I can almost hear it the way you guy's are talking about...
Here is a sound clip with Mamady playing the whole phrase very clearly and slowly.
Balakulania phrase
(1.8MiB)Downloaded 503 times
Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By Carl
#7674
michi@triodia.com wrote:Mamady gave a little speech today saying that some people are here to collect material for teaching, so he wants to spend the morning simply throwing rhythms at people to record. The usual sangban, kenkeni, dundunba, accompaniment 1, accompaniment 2 type of stuff.
Interesting that he said that... I'm not sure how I feel about it. I understand that some people want to have "a bunch of rhythms to teach" but if I was at an "advanced" class, I would want to be pushed rather than just transcribing....

my 2 cents.

C
User avatar
By Carl
#7675
michi@triodia.com wrote:
Ok, I'm really trying here... I can almost hear it the way you guy's are talking about...
Here is a sound clip with Mamady playing the whole phrase very clearly and slowly.
STE-025.mp3
Cheers,

Michi.
Thanks Michi, that clears it up perfectly... This is the second time that I've taught myself a lick off of a recording, only to find out that it is much easier than what I worked out...

Yet another reason to work with a teacher... you can never completely trust your own ear.

C
User avatar
By Dugafola
#7679
Carl wrote:
michi@triodia.com wrote:Mamady gave a little speech today saying that some people are here to collect material for teaching, so he wants to spend the morning simply throwing rhythms at people to record. The usual sangban, kenkeni, dundunba, accompaniment 1, accompaniment 2 type of stuff.
Interesting that he said that... I'm not sure how I feel about it. I understand that some people want to have "a bunch of rhythms to teach" but if I was at an "advanced" class, I would want to be pushed rather than just transcribing....

my 2 cents.

C
there a bunch of rhythms that he teaches that would be considered "advanced" that he can't or doesn't teach at your normal weekend workshop.
By bubudi
#7682
it obviously takes a lot of time to teach each rhythm to the whole group, even in an advanced class. all the teachers who turn up to mamady's workshops are obviously at various levels in terms of playing ability and the speed and accuracy in which they pick things up. i'd say letting them record the parts to work on in their own time allows them to come back later (e.g. following year) and learn those same rhythms properly at a more level rate. if anything, it would be a chance for mamady to prove to others that you cannot just learn a whole lot of rhythms off a recording and be able to play it well enough to teach it. but that's what quite a few people (in my experience) want to do... perhaps a select few people could pull it off. it's a challenge to find a way to please people yet educate them with the full integrity of the rhythm, swing, technique, culture etc, as mamady does.
By Garvin
#7683
Michi,

I gotta say, I love this thread. So much great stuff here for those of us out in the boonies. I've downloaded all the clips as well and followed the discussion on the licks. That tone-slap flam is something I've always loved, but never gotten into figuring out. I've been messing with it all week though and am thoroughly looking forward to rehearsal tomorrow to see if I can make it sound any good. Great discussion here in general.

Bubudi,

Your last point about learning a bunch of rhythms in order to teach really struck a note with me. I've only in the last year been in a position where I've had to "teach". Its weird to think that I've played dozens of different rhythms for hours, but really don't have enough of a grasp on the whole picture in order to get it sounding right, or even know that I'm hearing the parts correctly. I've honestly stuck to Kassa, Kuku, and a little Soko the whole time I've been teaching. I've learned so much by teaching the same thing over and over. Each time, I have those little epiphanies about how the conversations develop within the rhythm. It really opens up a lot of vocabulary. By slowing down and listening to a couple parts at a time, even for a couple hours, you tend to pick stuff out which otherwise would be completely obscured.
User avatar
By e2c
#7687
Garvin - I think part of the paradox is that this is ensemble music.

People who teach Western classical rep. aren't playing - and teaching - all of the various parts to a string quartet.

But with this music, you really have to be able to have a grasp of the whole - and the ability to play it all - in order to teach.

That's a tall order, I think! :)
By bubudi
#7688
yea it's more useful to master a few rhythms than to know bits and pieces of dozens of rhythms, especially if you find yourself having to teach. but the music has to be played and felt over and over, with other people, in order to properly learn it. do you have any access to good teachers in michigan?
By Garvin
#7689
Yeah, down in Ann Arbor there are some folks I play with, and I play with a group of folks about an hour and a half south of me as well. Everyone is at different levels though and we didn't learn stuff from the same teachers (or even the same countries).

I've been at this for about 10 years. 5 pretty heavily with great teachers, and about 5 bouncing around going to camps and workshops whenever I can. I've kind of been in "permanent student" mode and really try not to have to "teach" as much as possible. But its better to catch students early and keep them from forming bad habits. Really most of what I teach is just basic technique and instrument care. I'm trying to develop enough interest to bring up a real group up eventually. I'm probably a solid decade away getting anything like a TTM workshop going up here though :)

My wife gave birth to our second son this year right during spring when I normally go to Bantu camp, so I missed that, then I was planning to go Michael Markus' camp in New York, but I got super booked up with other bands, and needed to take those gigs for $$$. I make it down to Ann Arbor a lot though, about once a week I get to drum for dance classes, as well as study some of the other stuff I'm into. Its not ideal for growing my djembe vocab in leaps and bounds, but its the best I can do and keeps my callouses going.
User avatar
By michi
#7696
bubudi wrote:it obviously takes a lot of time to teach each rhythm to the whole group, even in an advanced class. all the teachers who turn up to mamady's workshops are obviously at various levels in terms of playing ability and the speed and accuracy in which they pick things up. i'd say letting them record the parts to work on in their own time allows them to come back later (e.g. following year) and learn those same rhythms properly at a more level rate.
I think that's pretty much the intent, as well as passing on more rhythms. I guess it really is much the same as if I buy one of Mamady's teaching CDs or DVDs--I get sangban, kenkeni, kenkeni + sangban, dundunba, dundunba + kenkeni + sangban, accompaniment 1, accompaniment 2, and each accompaniment with the dundun ensemble. So, I have the complete rhythm, all played by Mamady himself for the initial demonstration in perfect clarity.

At least that's something I can learn and pass on, if I choose to.

Yesterday (day 6), he spent the morning teaching a few rhythms to the intermediate and advanced groups. The intermediates did Sundiata Fasa, Sira, Billi Billi, and Toubuka. These are all Mamady's compositions.

Sundiate Fasa is a rhythm for kings. Sira is the name of Mamady's mother. Billi Billi was written for persons with a large personality (in a good sense--people of importance and who can inspire others). Toubuka means "from Toubu" and is about a griot love story.

The advanced group did Keiko, Dai, Baradossa, and Djigui. All are Mamady compositions, and some of those have really interesting hand parts. The Djigui main accompaniment is very similar in technique to the Balakulania phrase we discussed, and so quite challenging to play.

Keiko is a rhythm Mamady composed after hearing a young girl in his village clapping a rhythm and singing a song. The song is a song that girls sing to each other, substituting everyone's name into the chorus. The song is a teasing song: when a girl is seen to eye off a young man, other girls sing the song which, translated, says something like "So-and-so is chasing after men--be careful, men are dangerous. (Keiko literally means "behind man".)

Dai is named after a Japanese friend. Djigui means "hope". Bara is a place where people play and celebrate. Baradossa is about cleaning the place up after the rainy season (pulling the weeds and such) to make it ready for the next round of celebration.

The afternoon was spent working on the pyramid. Haven't reached rhythm 5 yet--instead, Mamady spent most of the time working on the intro for Soli Des Manian. There are some phrases in that that are technically not hard to play, but placed very unusually across the bar and that require a lot feel. Many people were struggling quite seriously with this. But it's coming together. I expect we'll start on rhythm 5 for the pyramid tomorrow. And, the way Mamady has been going, I expect the mother of all intros for the final pyramid rhythms...

Cheers,

Michi.
Last edited by michi on Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By Dugafola
#7700
bubudi wrote:pretty hectic day! i think baradossa is a trad rhythm though, no?
both Fams and Billy Konate teach Baradossa. I'd guess that Mams is different then theirs.
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