Category: Oldstyle Philosophy

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The Soloist’s Progression: Theme-Based Soloing

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The soloists progression is a basic formula for a good solo. It's not to be followed rigidly. In fact, the whole point is to increase fluidity and let your solo progress organically. The concept of the soloist...

The Need for Speed

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. In the past, speed was only one skill or facet of being a good djembe player. Today it has become one of the most important...

Slowly, Slowly The Bird Builds Its Nest…

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Originally published August 2005 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. You cannot learn the djembe overnight. This is impossible. Djembe is a lifetime learning experience. You can never stop learning wi...

Intro To Active Accompaniment

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"Active Accompaniment" describes a style of advanced dynamic accompaniment playing we hear in Roots Djembe music. It has to do with the presence and priorities of the accompanist. A player who plays Active...

It Feels So Good To Hit The Djembe…

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Originally published April 2006 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. It really does. Let's admit it. And the better you get the better it feels. There is nothing better than hitting your djembe when ...

Beneath The Surface: Timeline Patterns

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In the Underlying Patterns series we dig in to the many kinds of patterns that we find at play under the surface in djembe and dundun music. In ethnomusicology, these patters are called by many names, such as "...

Problems With The Phrases-Based Approach to Djembe

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I recommend you adopt a themes-based approach to djembe rather than a phrases-based approach. If your teacher or someone else seems infinitely better than you at djembe, a theme-based approach may be one of th...

Is It My Turn to Solo Yet?

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. My teacher always emphasizes the value of good accompaniment. Accompaniment is number one. If a djembe player cannot play really go...

Pillar #2: Prioritize Musicality

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Good-feeling music before technical tricks and showmanship is the second of “The Endangered Three” – a group of three qualities that, when combined, embody Roots Djembe. And unfortunately, it’s becoming rare to fi...

Tips For Playing Active Accompaniment

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We introduced the idea of Active Accompaniment a while back, in this post. Here are some simple tips to get you started playing Active Accompaniment quickly. Start Playing Active Accompaniment A Word Of Ca...

The Djembe is My Religion

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. Why not? Everything that I have learned from the Religions of the world I have found within the djembe. Treat people kindly ...

How To Anchor Yourself To The Beat

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Once you understand where the beat is, then you can move on to apply proper swing to your playing. Did you know there are a couple of musical elements you can easily look to when you want to find and anchor you...

Pillar #1: Honor Tradition

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Honoring the tradition of djembe music is the first of “The Endangered Three” – a group of three qualities that, when combined, embody Roots Djembe. And unfortunately, it’s becoming rare to find them all together ...

The “Ripping” and “Shredding” of Traditional Djembe

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. People play djembe for a variety of reasons. Some play for fun. Some play because they want to show off. Some play to attract a mat...

The “Other Dimension” of the Djembe

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. The djembe has the power to transport people to other dimensions, or at least that’s what it seems to me. I have played many times ...

Quickly Improve Your Accompaniment

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Broadly speaking, there are two areas of djembe playing that we can always improve on so that the music just keeps getting better and better all the time: Accompaniment Solo. We discuss solo in this...

Thank God for Our Djembe Community!

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Originally published January 2005 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. What an amazing community it is! I have met so many interesting people through my studies of the djembe. I often tell my students ...

GOOD NEWS! You’ll Never Know the Djembe!

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. Absolutely. It is nice to know that our studies of this drum and African culture have no end. This means that if you are having fun...

Intro to Hand-Over-Hand

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Keep Your Hands Moving Hand-Over-Hand is a technique where you keep your hands moving while you play. Your hands move up and down constantly, alternating back and forth, sometimes even pitter-pattering on...

Signature Phrases

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A Signature Phrases is a phrase that's associated with very few rhythms (or only one rhythm), so when you hear it played, it's as if the rhythm is "saying it's own name." Many Dundun parts are signature phr...

Playing Just Accompaniment For Years

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You might have heard stories of djembe players in africa playing accompaniment djembe for years before being allowed by their master to solo. You may have thought to yourself "Man, why are they so mean to t...

How Much Money Does Wisdom Cost?

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. How much money do you have to pay a master to teach djembe? If you paid the master $100 for an hour-long private class should you g...

A Theme-Based Approach to Soloing

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The difference between a phrase-based and theme-based approach to djembe is profound. It may be one of the biggest reasons why many students will never sound like their African teachers - no matter how long or har...

1 Drummer, 2 Drummers, 3 Drummers MORE?

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. How many drummers make a good ensemble? 3 djembes and 2 dunun players? Hmmm… How about 4 Djembe accompaniments and 1 soloist and on...