Traditional west African rhythms, adapted for the modern drum set
During the last decade, one could recognize a growing interest in traditional African rhythms amongst drummers all over the world. However, there are only a few attempts to adapt these ancient rhythms, played on the traditional instruments, for a modern drum set.
The mandingue people from west Africa are famous for their superb djembe-drumming. The traditional ensemble consists of one to six djembe players and one to three players for the bass drums, called kenkeni (high), sangban (middle) and dundun (low) which play the supporting rhythms. The bass drums are played with one hand whereas the other hand strikes a small, high pitched bell with a thin metal stick.
My book “Afro-drums” shows, how the interweaved rhythms of the kenkeni, the sangban and the dundun can be adapted for the drum set. The resulting grooves can be used in many different styles and, though most of them are really old rhythms, they never sound old-fashioned. Beyond that, I have arranged many rhythmic phrases from the djembe for the drum set. These exercises are excellent material for soloing and give the ambitious drummer a bunch of musical ideas. The rhythms presented improve your playing skills on all levels. They combine technique with musical taste and they all have a strong inherent melodic element.
The book includes a CD with 17 play-alongs and many music examples. I have composed the play-alongs together with my band mate Peter Herrmann and they cover a wide spectrum of musical styles. With the aid of these play-alongs it should be easy to bridge the gap between learning the grooves in the rehearsal room and playing them in an actual musical situation. I hope, that my book contributes to spread the fascinating rhythms from the mandingue people.
The book is available since December 2005 and can be ordered by: