Discuss traditional rhythms, singing etc
User avatar
By James
#1656
Someone told me that mendiani's a dundunba the other day, it seemed wrong to me based on that fact that I had assumed that all doudounbas have the same kenkeni and djembe accompaniments?

Famoudou says there are 35 differenct doundounbas.

On my recording of dundunbe from a Famoudoud workshop he says that it's incorrect to call a rhythms doundoundba.

I think bududi was telling me that there is still a family of rhythms called doundounbas though right? I presume that's what there's 35 of.

Anybody know what they are?

I can only think of the below (with much thanks to the back of Hamanagh ;) ):
Dundunbe
tama
bolokonondo
gbunkundo
Tako saba
Kadan
Kuraba don
Takonani
konowoulen
donaba
gberedu
konowoulen 2
demosoni
User avatar
By e2c
#1657
James, did this person say why they categorize mendiani as a doundounba?

(I'm very new to the study of W. African rhythms, but this seems off to me personally... if only because I've been working on Mendiani for a year, and have Michael Markus' recordings of all the different parts as he teaches them, including variations for the doundouns.)
Last edited by e2c on Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Dugafola
#1658
i think depending on where you are and who you ask, you'll get different answers as to what's the proper name of the family of rhythms otherwise known as Dunun Rhythms as per Famoudou. Other djembefolas call them Dununbas. Tomato tomata if you ask me.

i can almost certainly say that Mendiani is not a dununba or dunun rhythm, yet it comes from the same overall family of Malinke rhythms that include Soli, Soko, Kawa, Dununba etc etc.

To add to your list:
Dundunbe or Kon
tama
bolokonondo
gbunkundo
Tako saba
Kadan
Kuraba don
Takonani
konowoulen
donaba
gberedu
konowoulen 2 or Dji
demosoni
fankele
djorro
amaraba
bamekele
soma sangi
tiandian
bada
n'fakaba or donaba 2
balan sonde
gbereduka
bando djeli
nantolomba
damba
kurrisikolon
djeli dunun
konkoba dunun (diff djembe accomps)
User avatar
By e2c
#1659
Hmm... I wonder if the confusion is coming from our (my!) relatively untrained ears? So many rhythms sound (superficially) alike at first, but not after you become more thoroughly acquainted with them... I know that my ability to distinguish between rhythms - and ability to clearly hear various parts of the whole - is only just starting to feel a tad solid. (Mainly because I've been sticking to sangban and bass djembe and thus am getting a chance to really listen to the other djembe and doundoun parts while playing.)

This also reminds me of spoken languages. an example: Dutch and English. They share many characteristics, and can sound a bit similar at times, but if you really listen, you can tell that they're two completely different languages....

At any rate, I can see how someone might get tripped up by certain parts in mendjiani reminding them of other patterns, and ... it can all be mighty confusing! :D

Just my .02-worth. ;)
User avatar
By Dugafola
#1660
e2c wrote: I know that my ability to distinguish between rhythms - and ability to clearly hear various parts of the whole - is only just starting to feel a tad solid. (Mainly because I've been sticking to sangban and bass djembe and thus am getting a chance to really listen to the other djembe and doundoun parts while playing.)
if you are trying to dial in which rhythm is which, i wouldn't pay attention at all to the djembe accomps and not so much the dununba either. follow the sangban. the sangban pattern is what defines each particular rhythm. the kenkeni will be the same as well as the djembe accomps. the only thing that can change with the djembe typically is where they place their accomps in relation to the beat. i'd steer away from following the dununba pattern just because of the amount of variations that are usually played.

I love playing dununbas. when the dancer, djembefola, sangban and dununba player are all tuned in, it doesn't really get any better IMO.
User avatar
By e2c
#1661
Sangban is pretty much where I am right now - what I meant (though maybe didn't express very clearly) is that being back there, in the groove, I can actually listen to how the other parts (kenkeni, dundunba, bells, djembes) all weave together - so that the djembe leads and accompaniments feel far more natural to me now. Getting to be with a line that doesn't change (or that seldom changes), back there with the big drums, frees my ears to hear the spaces in between the notes - and how the other parts fit into those spaces.

Hope that makes sense!

and I agree completely that being on sanbgban is a joy when things are really cookin,' though I feel the same about bass djembe as well. :D But see... I like this music because it's ensemble-oriented.
User avatar
By bops
#1663
wow, impressive lists guys. Some of those I'm not familiar with. The only one I can think of that's not in either list is Sankroba (or Sankranba).

I would also agree that Mendiani is definitely not in the same family of rhythms as these.

One of my teachers in Guinea said that the Mendiani that we're all familiar with is actually Kawa or vise-versa, but I haven't found anyone to corroborate that.
User avatar
By Dugafola
#1667
bops wrote: One of my teachers in Guinea said that the Mendiani that we're all familiar with is actually Kawa or vise-versa, but I haven't found anyone to corroborate that.
i would say good luck finding someone to confirm that. all your teacher needs to do is go see Fadouba in Faranah to settle that one.
User avatar
By Marc_M
#1673
Uschi Billmeier writes in "A Life for the Djembe"

"The dununba rhythms have the following musical elements in common: the tempo is andante; and the kenkeni always plays the same pattern."

There are several other several other paragraphs describing the male hierarchies and how the dances were used to determine which males were strongest amongst the different age groups. Definitely worth a read.

The kenkeni part as I know it is meant to play off the first djembe part:

Bell......|: - + + - + + - + + - + +:|
Kenkeni |: - - x - x x - - x - x x :|

Hope this helps

M.
Last edited by Marc_M on Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Dugafola
#1674
bops wrote:lol, good point... that teacher was Kulipe Camara.
surprising. Kolipe is a good dude and plays nice.

I noticed the times that i've played with both he and Mito...If Mito is playing djembe, kolipe is playing duns. if Mito is playing duns or not playing at all, Kolipe gets to have at it.
By bubudi
#1682
mendiani is definitely not a dununba rhythm. the word dununba refers to the big bass drum. traditionally, mendiani is played without the dununba. you will see masters like mamady keita and famoudou konate play and teach their own versions of mendiani with a dununba part. however, in wassolon, where the rhythm originated, the dununba was not a part of the ensemble until recent times, and many places there still don't have it.

as for the terminology, this is my understanding from talking to various masters who are native speakers of malinke. dununba (as i have stated) refers to the big bass drum. in hamanah a festival where the dunun rhythms are played is called a dundunbe festival. in conakry this kind of festival is called dundunba. the dunungbe/kon rhythm is one of the first rhythms played in a dundunbe festival. from the dununbe rhythm many others were derived. together they make a family of rhythms which the konate family calls dunun. the word dunun also refers to all the bass drums together. it could also refer to one bass drum, but usually when talking about one bass drum, the proper name is used (i.e sangban, kensedeni, dununba). the word dunun is often used instead of the word foli to mean rhythm. the word foli means play (in the sense of playing music), while dunun in this context specifically refers to drum music (or rhythm).

going back to the family of rhythms, the dununba drum traditionally played a lead role in the dunun rhythms so this family of rhythms is often referred to as the dununba family of rhythms. however, dununbe is the first rhythm in the family so people also call it the dununbe family. famoudou konate prefers to use the term dunun family but as far as i have been told accepts dununba or dununbe when used in this context. however, numerous times he has very emphatically stated that dununba is not the name of any particular rhythm. many people play dunungbe and call it dununba, which is incorrect.

the actual number of dununba rhythms is more than 35. i couldn't say what the current number is. new rhythms in this genre are created from time to time. some others not mentioned yet are:

baninkolo
turane gbanan
kedunun
baradata dunun
douwa
desoninta dunun
mussoninta dunun
diadi
diaka
douwa (sankaranba dunun)
baramadon
koro
sumato dunun
lumata dunun
User avatar
By e2c
#1684
Thanks much for this, bubudi.

I think one of the single most confusing things (for me, at least) is the way terminology - and spellings - can vary so widely depending on locale, what languages are spoken in any given area (since it's generally multiple languages), etc.

I also sometimes feel likes there's a big disconnect between the Konate and Keita schools of thought (in general) regarding history, names of rhythms and more.

Is there any single person teaching in the West who is seen as the sole keeper of traditions? Or is it maybe - for the W. Africans - that there are multiple variants of rhythms, and they don't feel a need to pin down one or another as being "definitive"?

To my mind, it appears that we Westerners are the ones who insist on "authenticity," and that maybe we're missing the point (at times, anyway) when we do so. That's not to say that I think "authenticity" is a bad thing - I don't! but I have a feeling that our (my!) thinking is somewhat rigid, compared to the Africans'.

Just my .02-cents''; I'm no expert on anything and am here to learn, above all.
User avatar
By Dugafola
#1686
e2c wrote:Thanks much for this, bubudi.

I think one of the single most confusing things (for me, at least) is the way terminology - and spellings - can vary so widely depending on locale, what languages are spoken in any given area (since it's generally multiple languages), etc.

I also sometimes feel likes there's a big disconnect between the Konate and Keita schools of thought (in general) regarding history, names of rhythms and more.

Is there any single person teaching in the West who is seen as the sole keeper of traditions? Or is it maybe - for the W. Africans - that there are multiple variants of rhythms, and they don't feel a need to pin down one or another as being "definitive"?

To my mind, it appears that we Westerners are the ones who insist on "authenticity," and that maybe we're missing the point (at times, anyway) when we do so. That's not to say that I think "authenticity" is a bad thing - I don't! but I have a feeling that our (my!) thinking is somewhat rigid, compared to the Africans'.

Just my .02-cents''; I'm no expert on anything and am here to learn, above all.
have you studied a lot with Mamady and/or Famoudou? I feel that they are very closely related having done time with both of them but mostly Mamady. i have learned many of the same rhythms from both Masters as well as all the cultural background and significance. they are very very tight and have been friends for a long time. Mamady has been pushing for the Mamady and Famoudou workshop/camp for a while now - let's hope it happens. keep in mind that Famoudou is Hamanah who pretty much never left the region before he went to the Ballet in Conakry and Mamady is from Wassolon who went all over Guinea in his early ballet days with the Siguiri troupe and then spent time in the Ivory Coast as well. Their respective repertoires overlap some but differ more.

re: the sole keeper of traditions...that's what griots are for. but with it being an oral tradition - an old one that, and the region of the old Mali empire being so vast, the chances of having some thing become "definitive" are slim and none.

i totally agree with you on Westerners being insistent on 'authenticity' and being obsessed with finding 'what's the real ______" or whatever. we as students will be moved one way or another regarding what we learn from our teachers...either we're going to be stoked with it and want to play it or put it in the archive for stuff to be played at a later date. i've always been an advocate of learning from as many different teachers as possible to broaden my understanding of Mandingue djembe music and to be able to play what a dance teacher wants to hear or what other drummers want to hear. i believe it's important to know the differences when you encounter them and to keep stuff separated. with that approach, I can recognize which teachers really have a firm grasp on their tradition and who's just feeding me fluff.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 7