Category: Oldstyle Philosophy

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You Can’t Force The Djembe…

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Originally published May 2005 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. My teacher Abdoulaye Diakite has told me many times that, "If you try to force the djembe, the djembe will force you.". His teacher Su...

What Style Do You Play?

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Some people say that a true Djembe Master is required to play all styles and rhythms. Don't be fooled by this statement. There may be some truth to it, but it's misleading. If you misunderstand it, you'll tend to w...

What Is Clave?

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Clave is a term used by Afro-Cuban musicians. It refers to a type of underlying timeline pattern in the music. Most rhythms from Cuba have one of these clave patterns. In Afro-Cuban music, the Clave can be very...

Two Extremes To Think About

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Here's a djembe-related false dichotomy: I make the music happen vs. IT just streams through me. The "I make the music happen" Extreme Now all too common, unfortunately. A modern and juvenile approach to pla...

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...

There is Only One Mande

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. Many people in the djembe community are talking about “Guinea Style”, “Mali Style”, “Senegalese Style”, etc. It seems that separati...

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...

The Incredible Djembe!

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Originally published April 2006 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. The djembe never ceases to amaze me. Once you embark on the path of the djembefola your life will continually change and grow along ...

The Endangered Three – Oldstyle Djembe

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Think of "Roots" djembe music like Roots Reggae, Classic Rock, or Oldies. It's old-style music from a few generations back.  Djembe music is changing. Today, younger people usually play modernized djembe music ...

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 ...

The Djembe Can bring New Opportunities…

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Originally published October 2005 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. Once you embark on the path of the djembe you will learn so much. You will meet so many different kinds of people with so many dif...

The Difference between Soko, Sogo, Sojo and Soho

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Originally published August 2004 by Jeremy Chevrier on his Djembe Essays Blog. There is a lot of confusion in the djembe community surrounding rhythms called by slightly different names or rhythms with the same...

The 4 Handing Systems

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Four notable handing techniques to consider when playing djembe are: Hand-Over-Hand (as your default handing) Leading with your Dominant Hand (as your secondary handing) Random Handing (to be used when nee...

The 3 Ways To Play Djembe Accompaniment

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There are three ways to play djembe accompaniment: 1. Half-Assed-Waiting-To-Solo Half-Assed accompaniment playing has become popular in big cities. It's a favored style among hotshot "soloists" the world over. A...

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 ...

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 ...

Solo Rides

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Solo Rides are solo phrases that are like accompaniment patterns. In modern ensembles, they sometimes become "accompaniment #2," "accompaniment #3," or "accompaniment #4," but they were originally played by the so...

Solo Meditations

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A solo meditation is a practice exercise in which you focus on one single solo theme, represented by a root solo phrase. Meditations help to develop an intimate relationship with the rhythm. Here's a great...

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...

Slicing & Building

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Working with "slicing and building" is how we refer to one of the most ancient soloing techniques in djembe music. It's done by taking a basic phrase and extending or shortening it to build and release musical ten...

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...

Series: Jeremy Chevrier’s Djembe Essays

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We're happy to republish a handful of articles originally written a decade ago by Jeremy Chevrier, founder of Rootsy Records as well as The Djembe Hotel in Bamako, Mali. Jeremy, and the recordings he re...