DRUM INSTRUCTION BOOK REVIEW
TITLE: African Rhythms and Independence for Drumset (CD included)
AUTHOR: Mokhtar Samba
(has played with Salief Keita, Youssou N'Dour, Carlinos Brown, Richard Bona, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ultramarine...)
PUBLISHER: Music in Motion Films
RATING: # # # #
TARGET AUDIENCE: Anyone who want's to learn something (for most of us) new and very exciting. Especially interesting for those who like African music.
COMMENTS: I have just been working on a few Doudoumba excercises yet but I will do my best:
"African Rhythms" is billingual (English/French). The book is divided into 6 chapters, each covering an African rhythm style (most of them are in 6/8 or 12/8).
GNAWA (north africa)
MAGHREB (north africa)
The chapters starts with "movements" and moves on to "patterns". There is information about each rhythm's origin and a few listening tips. The movements are excercises that help you develop the feel and coordination that you need in order to play the patterns, the grooves. Many excercises and grooves are easy to play coordination-wise, the hard part is getting the right (African) feel. Mokhtar has a unique way of playing and phrasing that's very cool but difficult to imitate, just listen to the CD!
The sad part is that even though you work with the book, you probably won't develop an "African pocket" unless you really play with an African band. You can use many grooves in a jazz/fusion situation, but how many of us are likely to do a Bikutsi concert?
Despite its limitations it opens up a world of new ideas, and from a part of the world that I personally think has way more inspiring rhythms than music from Latin/Cuban countries. But that's just me...
Vinnie Colaiuta seems to like it too:
"Wow. The grooves just LEAP off the page! Mokhtar Samba's illustrations of African Rhythms are wonderfully insightful, enriching, and masterfully done. Thank you, Mokhtar for enlightening all of us!"
This book is great and deserves more attention, but since so few drummers in Europe and USA (me included) play this music I'm afraid it won't reach a wide audience.