Discuss traditional rhythms, singing etc
By bubudi
the djembe is a great teacher. the purpose of playing its music is to connect and harmonise with others, but also to hone one's skills, making it necessary for us to learn discipline, self mastery, coordination and technique. for me the most important lesson the djembe has taught me is to share unconditionally with others. it has also taught me how to listen.

so by request, here's a thread dedicated to wisdom gained from this instrument that we all love. please share your lessons, but try to keep your posts short.
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By rachelnguyen
The biggest gift my djembe has given me is that I now think of myself as a musician. To me, that is totally extraordinary.

About a month after I started taking lessons with Sidy, I was telling him that I dreamed of being a musician someday and he said,

"your dream has come true. You are a musician now."

I will never forget that moment. It was the moment that my sense of myself changed.
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By e2c
Playing djembe and dunun has taught me...

... to listen

... to have more balance between music and silence

... hear and think in a different way

... learn new skills; things I never dreamed I could do

... know that every voice is valued and valuable; that there are no "small" or unimportant parts in the ensemble (or in the people who play them)

... that dance and music are one thing; dancers move, they give their music/movement to us, and that calls forth a never-ending dialogue between those who dance and those who play the music

... to be more at peace with myself

... to be happy in the moment, to have real joy in music and in life

... that impossibilities are possible - what I could not hear, I now can play, or will be able to play.

... that music and dance can create community; not competition, but a desire to call forth the best in others and in myself

... that watching others grow (in music and in dance) is a beautiful thing, and that perhaps I was/am able to help them in that growth, to encourage them to come forward and just be.

... that patience and humility are vital.

... that I'm not alone

I'd say that's a pretty good start, no? ;)
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By the kid
jembe taught me that African culture is great. All over Africa people developed thousands of instruments songs dances to play with each other and enjoy life together. I think this is a huge gift to humanity from the wise and ancient cultures
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By rachelnguyen
I think one of the greatest gifts I have gotten from my playing is my relationships with my teacher and all my new friends in Mali. I couldn't even point Mali out on a map before I picked up a drum, and now I have people there I consider my family.

Mali feels like home to me because there are people I love there.
By komadich
It thought me that at the end of the day, the most important thing is having fun... In turn that reflects back in the music: if you are not having fun and if you are not expressing it, nobody will dance and nobody will have fun. Somehow it brings some hedonistic spirit in your life, doesn't it?

It also thought me that in life there's no need to complicate things too much. I somehow overcame the need of some deep artistic expression, creating what has never been done before, making some outstanding achievements in the field of abstract music, etc. It brings me to my first point again.
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By rachelnguyen

I LOVE the part about letting go of the need for complication, LOL. I am probably happiest humming along on the accompaniment right now. It has taught me that being the backup is a great place to be.

When I was in Mali, my teacher, Sidy, had a recording session for some of the new pieces he had written. He had a big group of drummers... all of whom got a bit of time on solo. The tama, the other djembes, the dun duns. My sweet Griot teacher didn't want to take solo time. He was content to sit back and play the accompaniment because he knew this was Sidy's gig and he wanted Sidy to really shine. I was very moved by that.

By michel weelen
Should we say "taught me & also gave or brought me " ... ?

Hum i like this thread .... because it's brings the question : why did we choose djembé ?
I agree with all off your list e2c and the others too ... every word off it could be mine ...
thanks to you Bubudi ...

i'd like to add that Djembe also gave me the opportunity to meet with .... great persons belonging to another culture, great musicians (not all off them are great persons), gave me the opportunity to enlarge my vision, to confront myself with uses that i wasn't aware off, to meet an extra Europeen culture ect,ect ..................................
I made a livin' around Djembé music & playing so i'm thankfull ... but i owe it also something !!!
What was good for me can be for others ... so i, we have too pass it on ...
The guys i met did not hold informations they spread it out generously through their playing that we could record ... for nothin' ... through the experience we shared together while playing .... so more to say ....

But the question remains .... Why did we picked Djembe ?
Bububi says because off conecting & harmonising, some talk about exprecing oneself ....
I usualy tell my pupils that they didn't pick Djembe bye chance ... i tell them that Djembe called them ....
Obvouisly there a side off expression, i'm not talking about estetics, is it a good chorus or not, techniques, skills ... all this will come at a time with work, devotion & implication ... I'm talking about the sensation that expressing yourself, in front or in the middle off others, brings you ... The joy one can feel connected to the sensation off belonging to a group, the sensation you get when you have the feeling that you're taking part in something that is bigger then you .... but not only .....

Djembe is becoming a major instrument in terms off teaching .... I don't know in the States but in Europe, it has become the instrument used to teach rythm ....It's quite a simple instrument, its technic is based on single strokes, even though its music is complex, its a very versatile instrument it carries a wide range off frequencies, it's music come from ages .... its used from therapy, drum-circles, serious music ....

I picked up Djembe because it brought me structure, i beleive that i made myself a self musical-therapy trough my years off learning & practice .... I have the sensation that we all are members off a long chain that started somewhere in west Africa, that in recognising the genius off this people we repair something ... it's a need for them but also for us, children off those who built the world we're sitting on .....

I'm not mystic but i met Djembe 32 years ago, i saw it becoming big very big so i'm asking myself questions .... I've got the how, but i don't know why ???

So what about you ? & sorry if i'm not clear but english is not my first language ... hope you'll forgive !!!!
By VagabonTribe
From Sega Sidibe:

"Learn to play one rhythm well, the others will be easy"

From Mahamadou "Commando" Traore:

"the first time my father saw me play, I was about 10 years old, he went home and cried"

From Abdoul Doumbia:

"never beat your wife - beat your djembe"
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By Djembe-nerd
"Learn to play one rhythm well, the others will be easy"
I can relate, I didn't knew it till now, but it happened in this exact way.

Djembe has given me
- new dimensions in music,
- freedom to be creative in playing it,
- a lot of stress relief from work etc,
- lack of boring moments (cos I pick it up whenever I have nothing to do),
- new accuaintance to a different culture,
- three djembes, 2 shoulder straps, 2 waist straps, 1 pulling tool, 2 bags, and a hardcase on order,

I am thinking more, but these are the immediate ones that came to mind, for a instrument that I play with heart :-) (Or from the stomach as some teachers will teach you in India, play it from here, and they will point somewhere between the heart and stomach)