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Drums

Preparing for an evening of drums

The Heartbeat of Music

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The drum is one of the oldest known musical instruments, being played in various forms by nearly every people group in the world, producing a huge variety of sounds fashioned in many shapes and sizes, the drum provides the foundation to most traditional and modern day music.

For over 4,000 years drums have been used in many diverse situations, e.g. in religious celebrations, for sending signals or messages, on the battlefield during the Civil War, to help African slaves overcome the boredom of hard monotonous work, storytelling in China, carnivals in Brazil, healing, dancing, and entertainment. Read More

Coconut Festival – Kaua’i

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It was great to meet up with Tepairu Manea again to learn more about the art of Tahitian drumming. Also very honoured to join him for the Coconut Festival at Kapa’a – met some more great players. Here are some of the instruments we were using during the event.

Marimba de Chiapas

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Today whilst wandering around a local market in Cancun, Mexico we met Enrique and Porfirio – marimba players. They played a song from Chiapas, where it is thought that the origins of this wonderful wooden instrument came about. Versions of this instrument from Africa i.e.. balafon came to Central America and a musician from Chiapas, expanded the original marimba to include the chromatic scale by adding another row of bars, like the black keys on the piano.

I read in one article that “It is indeed difficult to walk down any street within the state without hearing “las maderas que cantan” or what Chiapans affectionately call “the wood that sings.”

So are there any similarities with our modern day xylophone? I am glad you asked – yes. It is the same instrument with two noticeable differences. Firstly, in the Mexican tradition most of the time there will be several musicians performing on a single instrument, and secondly the instrument has a very distinctive “buzz” that is an integral part of the Mexican sound.

Making West Coast (Native American) drum.

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We spent a wonderful few days with Jerry and Leslie Chapman in Washington State learning about the stories and traditions behind drum making. Jerry, Stó:lō Nation, has been making drums for a number of years and together we shared our respective drum restoring and designing traditions.

Drum Song

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A moment of spontaneous drum music during a gathering at the Santa Ynez reservation in California. The two voices are a male Pueblo Indian chant and a female voice singing in Hebrew.

Chumash percussion

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DSC02325The Chumash from Santa Barbara used different shakers as percussive instruments for keeping time – here’s a split-stick rattle (wansaq’), and they also used deer toe rattles and clam shell rattles (clam shells are filled with small pebbles and mounted on a stick). Listen.

Taiko drumming

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DSC01784I find it fascinating how different styles of drum groups evolve. I have found a taiko group here in San Diego that have been playing together for many years and get together to practise a few times a week. ( I managed to get in for a couple of lessons) I was first introduced to taiko through a workshop i did in the UK with the Kodo drummers who are based on Sado Island in Japan. Read More

Thai recording – Bangkok

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Thai recording

Thanks Paul for this short clip – we are in Bangkok, Thailand and have been working on a wonderful new piece of music, drums and voice, with Yam Bongkote. Yam has a real understanding of how to mix the traditional Thai vocals with a more modern style of singing. The picture gives you an idea of what I used – bass drum, floor tom, gongs, small Thai drum, Khmer mahori drum, shaker and a skateboard!

Drum Orchestra

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DRUM ORCHESTRA

CCAMS have now put together a drum orchestra – we are hoping to go out to Cambodia again end of October to help them record 3 new tracks – one of which will be this drum orchestra and a male vocalist.

Latest News – air tickets bought!