African Kicked My Ass

It was awesome!

We played 2 rhythms I don’t know, though we started class with one that has a standard accompaniment I am familiar with. There are 2 basic parts that carry through most rhythms. Usually, one or the other pattern supports the harder accompaniment, and Quinn, who solos and holds us all together.

The second rhythm knocked me out! Quinn had to modify it so I could keep up. I wasn’t the only one, thank god, but man! My hands, arms, and shoulders are aching now!

Typically, 4 or 5 drummers make up that week’s corp. Today, we had 6 on djembe and a full dunun section behind us! (3 separate standing drums and rhythms, as opposed to the one regular fella who plays a version – ballet style – that blends what the 3 drums would do together. Sorry, can’t explain it better than that.) I can’t tell you what it feels like to have that music pulsing through your body, buzzing from head to toe and shaking every cell! It’s as though you can feel the space outside of your skin.

On the drive home, at high noon, a murmuration of starlings danced overhead. It was directly above me at one stop, and so big that you could watch it in the sky as the shadow surrounded you beneath. It felt like the refracted light of crystals in a sunny room, landing on you, teasing you. I felt like I did in class, like I was part of something bigger than myself, like touching the space outside of me, being part of it.

ballet style

Dunun for one, known as Ballet Style

dunun

What we had today! L – R: Dununba, Sangban, Kenkeni with attached bells … You can get a lot more sound behind and around, with 3 people on 2 rhythms each.

Advertisements