Tag: Approach & Perspective

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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 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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Don’t Force Your Entire Repertoire

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One of the main things you can do to improve the quality of your solo is to decrease the quantity of different solo phrases. Forcing Your Repertoire Many people try to sound better by running through a larg...

Quickly Improve Your Solo

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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 accompaniment...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...