Tuesday, August 11, 2009

African Drumming on a Saturday...

On August 8th, a small group of BUGS Students went to the Creative Alliance in the Patterson Park area to participate in the African Drumming Workshop. The class was taught by Baba Changa.
The students that attended this workshop were taught the Kuukuu rhythm. It's a rhythm that is played as a celebration for the return of the harvest. The rhythm is played on 3 drums: the Kikinii, the Sounba, and the Djembe. The Kikinii keeps the timing. The Sounba is the driving force. The djembe plays the rhythm. The students had an opportunity to play on each of the drums. They were taught the 3 sounds that the Djembe makes - tone, slap, and bass. There is a particular way for the hand to be held in order to get those sounds. The Sounba was being hit by a drum stick. There is an action called a press which is the pressing of the drumstick to the drum after striking it. By the end of the 2 hour drumming lesson, the kids were able to know the origins of the drums, what they were made of, and the importance of drumming in the African tradition. They learned new words and were able to be transported out of their usual surroundings to experience the beauty and magnificence of African drumming.

Ronoah plays the Kuukuu rhythm on the Djembe. She played this rhythm so much her hands were getting a little sore but she persevered.

Jeremiah switched to the Kikinii and had to keep the timing for the other drummers. The timing was very basic. There wasn't any change in the actual beat but the spacing between each hit of the Kikinii had to remain the same. Some of the kids made a few mistakes in the beginning but when they got the hang of it, they were unstoppable.

Quante, on the Sounba, had to keep the driving rhythm for the rest of drums. When all of the drums were playing together, they were called the Djembe Orchestra. Having all of the kids play together was a really wonderful thing for them. They learned how to work in a group and what a group working together can accomplish.

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