to boldly go.....PURE PERCUSSION


Senior Member
A friend of mine runs a charity and he said that they need an act to fill up a 1 hour slot this Saturday. He asked me if I would consider doing a 1 hour drum solo. I told him that I already know that the general public won't go for it, however if I could get my good friend with his congas or DJEMBE I might consider trying to fill up 1 hour with something that the public WILL LIKE. (small farming town so we'll see) So my friend said ok. So I'm playing pure percussion Saturday afternoon in a band shell with Thundershowers and 87degrees forecast!

Now I find out that this "charity" venue is much larger than I expected with thousands visitors each year and a Bongo player has also signed up, so we'll be a percussion TRIO. I'll try to videotape this.

Anyone here have any experience with pure percussion or drum circle type things? I'm working out ideas this week and jotting them down. I even have something in mind for audience participation.



Senior Member
I'd bring lots of gear so I could go from one to the other (ie:kit to timbales to congas to multipul perc to etc, etc.). It might be fun. Trade solos or do duets and trios.
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Senior Member
Very good suggestion!

Maybe I'll bring my congas too.....if I can fit them with me, the Djembe player and his Dejembe in my PT CRUISER !!

However it may be a nightmare trying to set all of this up in only 10 minutes!!


Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I once played with a modern dance troupe when a student at UCLA years ago. All congas, bongos, roto-toms on the was very strange for me. But my hands were in pure pain at the end of their show!


Gold Member
I think the most difficult thing is going to be avoiding repetition. To combat this, I would try something like devoting 10 minute chunks of time to different genres. You could do some latin, then funk, then jazz, then metal, etc. That way, you can sort of pace yourself.


Platinum Member
Maybe I'll bring my congas too.....if I can fit them with me, the Djembe player and his Dejembe in my PT CRUISER !!
At this stage, I'd scrap the drum kit idea, and go with Conga, Djembe, and Bongo ... as your core 3 players. Then gather up as much "other" hand percussion as you can get. Cowbell, shakers, tambourine, clave, whatever you got. Take along a bunch of old drum sticks. People can band on a plastic water bottle (those seem to be everywhere) with a stick.​
I'd definitely encourage "audience" participation. Turn it into a full blown, hippiefied, Woodstock 1969, drum circle/rain chant thang. After all, it worked for Carlos ...​

Joe Morris

This is easy just look at like the way the trio would break down in a band. I've done this in concert before. The drummer plays the drums. have the conga player play the bongos and congas of course, and put the other cat on tymblals cajon's and djembes , Everyone is going to catch on to a groove. People like a beat. So lay down a groove on drums, something funky and have them gradually join in. then throw around some solo's. After a good while like 15 min or so end it. You can all end on the one or something without even rehearsing. Then start a new groove and hit it again. Figure that way you do about 4 different grooves and there is your hour. Whatever you do don't just have people playing a bunch of crap, Play some grooving stuff. It will go over a ton better.

last man to bat

Senior Member
In my experience, without a chance to rehearse, it is the solos that are going to keep it interesting. Making sure one person solos over a steady groove from the others, then trade the solos around making sure that you all know when its each others turn.

Also have a call sorted out that you all know, when this is played you can all: stop at the same time, change rhythm or play a simple (2 bar?) break.

playing in 6/8 is a good one to play solos over. /S-tS--/

similar to this

sounds like it will be fun


Senior Member
Here is the first part recorded with only a camcorder. However, the guy on the mixer turned up the REVERB after 5 minutes (what was he thinking?) and the camcorder picked it up from the speakers, but the sound is still usable. We are going to do something similar in the studio soon.