Category: Oldstyle Philosophy

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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...

4 Hand Clapping Patterns In Djembe Music

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Hand clapping really adds a lot to djembe music. Unlike percussion music from some other parts of the world, I've noticed the hand clapping in djembe music is on the beat for the most part. It's not too complex, b...

4 Tips To Round Out Your Djembe Solos

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4 Tips For Better Djembe Solos

5 Ways HOH Technique Can Help You

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Adopting Hand Over Hand takes a bit of work, but for us it’s been WELL worth the effort. In the long run, it saves you time and energy, and helps you spot commonalities you might not have noticed before. ...

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...

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 "...

Djembe Friends are My Best Friends

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. My best friends have come through associations within my studies of the djembe. I have met so many wonderful people since I have st...

Djembe Happiness in UnHappy Times…

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Originally published December 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. We are living in some very tough times these days. If we only worry about all the stressful news and economic problems we are fac...

Don’t Tell the Master to Wipe Your Ass

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. Never judge a person before you know them. I have heard so many incredible stories from Abdoulaye regarding embarrassing inc...

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...

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...

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...

How To Play More Fluidly

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Here's an idea: To play more fluidly, try thinking of your role in the music as that of a conduit - not a container. Then work on yourself to become the most conductive conduit you can be. In other word...

Humility : #1 Criterion for Djembe Master

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. A true djembe master is humble. I have never met a master drummer who was not humble. I have met good drummers who were arrogant bu...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

Learning Mode vs. Playing Mode

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At times, we're too heady while playing, affecting timing, flow, spontaneity, and the general feeling of the music. What Happens? Deep thought and analysis help us gain a better understanding of djembe music. (W...

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 ...

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...

Pillar #3: Maintain An Open Heart & Mind

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Maintaining an open heart when it comes to djembe music is the third of "The Endangered Three" - a group of three qualities that, when combined, embody Roots Djembe. And unfortunately, it's becoming rare to find t...

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...

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...