Kakilambe Intro Explained

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The unexpected tutorial
I was intending to summarize some concepts and instructions at the end of a workshop but after while I realized I had laid down a pretty decent tutorial. So here its is for everybody.
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4/4 Backing Track

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Binary Groove requested
Someone on Youtube asked for the backing track of this video but unfortunately I had to I realize I lost the audio files of this project. I found another binary groove you can use to practice your embellishments technique or whatever. The beginning is a little harsh but if you have Quicktime on your computer it will allow you to copy/paste like a loop and make the track as long as you need. Enjoy.

Get it here

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Pattern Embellishment

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Pattern embellishment - explained
It's not easy to see what is hidden behind advanced embellishments. In this tutorial I will explain the "what" the "why" and the "how" from one isolated sound to a classic solo pattern you certainly have already heard.
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Focus On Patterns!

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I was first exposed to djembe music in 1973 when I heard Fode YOULA playing on Claude NOUGARO’s album "Locomotive d’or". A few years later I went to Africa and began to learn. Over years I have seen changes happening about the way this music is taught by Africans. Emergence of beat tapping is one of them.
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The Djembe Slap

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This is the sound everybody wants to get right on the djembe
A lot of advice and strategies are given here and there, during workshops, regular classes and… on the web. First class teachers teach what they do while some good-sounding musicians don't feel comfortable when it comes to breaking the process down in pieces. Unfortunately a lot of lucky guys teach unlucky students ways of getting the slap sound that pros don’t use. In these last case a novice can stay stuck for years with a poor-sounding still-painful slap.
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Try Yourself With A Bass Djembe

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Rhythms, sound, technique…
Sometimes it's just good to play it simple. Time to take some rest with speed, sharp slaps and other killer licks.
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Improving Your Inspiration

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Playing is not housekeeping.
Generally students try to improve their playing by mastering timing, phrasing, and tone quality. This is a working approach. It allows you to concentrate on specific aspects that participate in making the whole thing sounds as it should. Although necessary, it's certainly not the definitive approach, it's not enough. 
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Great Djembe Solos - Koungbanan CONDE | 4/4

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LESS IS MORE
This solo doesn't come with all the fancy ingredients of today's players (tight tuning - high level - double-tempo patterns) but every measure of this solo, the way patterns blend into each other with logic and humor, reminds all of us what playing with rhythm really is.
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More About My Bell Technique

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More bell
The technique I developed on bells to obtain certain embellishments comes from natural effects of relaxed movements. The first thing is to avoid the eight bit sound quality too many people seem to take for a standard. An african bell should not sound like a pen on a desk!
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Easy Kakilambe

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Some grooves are difficult to play because of structure, phrasing, speed.
Some are easy because their individual parts just blend nicely already without the use of advanced skills. I arranged EASY KAKILAMBE for three djembes with this option in mind.
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Liquid Playing

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When can we play liquid?
In accompanying situations, basic djembe patterns are expected to be played with a steady groove. I call this "solid" grooves. In other situations - intro, long rests from the soloist, solo situation - playing "liquid" is a better choice.
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Coordination VS Independence

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Weedie BRAIMAH on dununs
I believe choice of words can do a lot to clarify what a student should look for. That's why I think educational material talking about "independence" is bringing unnecessary confusion or even worse: unreachable expectations. Independence is a myth that we, musicians, try to make the listener believe in. Students don't need this. Independence is a state of no relationship between different entities. On the contrary coordination is the ability to execute different actions linked by a specific goal. We have only one brain so it's somehow more limited than two separate parts coordinating themselves but there are some tricks that allow the musician to play several parts at once giving the illusion of independence.

This is what Weedie BRAIMAH does on dununs in the above video.
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Djembe Tutorial | Playing On Beats

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In some situations masters and beginners play the same patterns.
The most obvious is when playing basic rhythms. There are differences in sound, phrasing and general vision of the music but the patterns are identical. It happens in a solo context too.
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Dunun Tutorial

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DOING SOMETHING WITH THE BELL
One of the things that often bores me about how djembe music is played outside of Africa is the low level of bell playing. In this video I demonstrate some of the techniques I use and teach.
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Dunun Tutorial | Dunumba | Kenkeni

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The Kenkeni pattern of Dunumba is one of the trickiest rhythms
It will enable you to experience the power of displacement and discover the equal musical value of inner beats in djembe music.
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Dunumba Intro

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This is an intro/outro I set up years ago
Still working.
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Playing Together

flexible
Playing a djembe music groove together
Doing it without thirty minutes warm-up or discussion is not as easy as it should be for many djembe students. In most cases they have the necessary instrumental knowledge but no method for group working. The one used by native African players...
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Mare SANOGO - Mendiani

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Mare SANOGO - MENDIANI
Percussion Ensemble CD -Transcription from 2'08" to 3'34".

Get your copy of this transcription here

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Ternary and Binary

What is the difference between ternary and binary?

This is one of the questions I am most frequently asked. A rhythm is defined as binary when the beats are divided by multiple of two and ternary when divided by three.
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