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 with a whole different set of tastes and motivations.
The classic style is dying along with the old masters who grew up playing it. But some of us still prefer the rare djembe style from a few generations back, and we’re actively studying it before it’s gone.
The Endangered Three
Roots music is special because in this style, we can often find “The Endangered Three” together in one place.
1. Tradition (What Gets Played)
Classic Music: Time-honored phrasing creates each rhythms unique flavor.
Classic Instruments: Warm, deep sounding djembes with a sweet, rich tone.
2. Musicality (How It’s Played)
Played For Melody: Today, many people forget that the djembe was once a melodic instrument – and that it still can be.
Played For Good Feeling: Technical tricks are used sparingly. Good feeling is the priority.
3. Open Heart & Mind (Who Plays It)
Connection: When there’s a sense of community and respect, the music actually gets better.
Humility: It’s ok to be a teacher and student at the same time. Have good will. Stay open to learning, and you’ll never stop improving.
Cooperation: Cooperation is the child of connection and humility. It’s not enough to just be together in one place. We also need to work together in harmony. Form a team.