Audio Recordings
Workshop participants are invited to make audio recordings. Sayon will demonstrate all the separate drum parts in the lesson at the end of the class, so everyone can have a clear recording. This way, those who so desire, can continue learning at home. VIDEO RECORDINGS ARE NOT ALOWED.
About Levels... (beginner/intermediate & intermediate/advanced)
The way Sayon teaches is "MULTI-LEVEL" by nature. In other words, if you only want to just learn the djembé parts during class, no problem. Or, you can try to learn basic dunun parts as well as the djembé parts. Or, you can try to learn the arrangement breaks and the dununba variations as well as all the other material. It's like a SMORGASBORD. You can eat as little or as much as you want. Even if you only play djembé during the workshop, it’s still informative to watch the dununs being taught.
So Why Are There Levels?
Offering two levels invites the less experienced drummers to join the beginner/intermediate classes, where Sayon can slow things down a bit and choose the appropriate rhythms to teach at that level. In addition, offering two levels frees Sayon to teach more challenging rhythms at a faster pace in the intermediate/advanced classes.
Be Honest With Yourself
For various reasons some people feel that hand drums are primitive and therefore there is not a lot to learn. “Heck, all you got to do is beat on em and how hard can that be?” The truth is, you could easily spend a lifetime studying West African drumming. If you are not familiar with traditional djembé drumming please don’t sign up in the intermediate/advanced classes. This would be a courtesy to the people who study djembé and dunun regularly and are hungry for an intermediate/advanced class with their peers. Sayon teaches a tradition that has evolved over hundreds of years. No amount of freestyle drumming could possible prepare you for an advanced drumming class at this workshop unless you are amazingly gifted. Maybe you are!..
The Structure of Malinké Rhythms
You will get a lot more out of the workshop if you understand the way traditional rhythms are structured. A bit of study before the workshop will go a long way towards helping you understand what is going on during the workshop.
The Basic Rhythm
Most traditional Malinké rhythms are organized the same way. There is usually 2 djembe drum parts and 3 dunun drum parts. These 5 drum parts come together and interlock to form the basic rhythm.
The Dununs
Dununs are bass drums that are played with a stick in one hand, to beat the skin, and a stick or metal striker in the other hand, to play an attached bell. The smallest and highest pitched dunun is called the "kenkeni". The middle pitch dunun is called the "sangban" and the lowest pitched and largest dunun is called the "dununba".
The Signal
In order to keep all 5 drum parts properly lined up and in sync with each other. A "signal" is played by the lead djembé player. This "signal" is a short rhythmic phrase that tells all the drummers the exact point in time at which to start and stop their respective rhythms.
Solo Techniques
Sayon will not only teach the 5 drum parts that make up the basic rhythm. He will also teach "solo techniques". These are rhythmic phrases played on djembés that compliment the basic rhythm.
Arrangement Breaks
There is also the possibility that Sayon with show arrangement breaks to be played at the opening, middle or end of a rhythm. These breaks frame the rhythm and turn it into a complete performance piece.
Dunun Variations
There is also the possibility that Sayon will show variations (something other than the basic rhythm) to played on the sangban or (more likely) the dununba
Songs and Cultural Context
Sayon will explain the cultural context for each rhythm and might sing a song that goes with the rhythm he is teaching.
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(604) 253-2114