Dafnis Prieto Clinic at The Long Island Drum Center

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Not unlike your hometown, Long Island can be one of the dullest place in the world. But thankfully once in a while we do get to see some real talent. Seeing Dafnis Prieto at The Long Island Drum Center was one of those times. Dafnis is a drummer you can sit and listen to play and not get bored. If you ever doubted that the drum set were a self-contained musical instrument, doubt no more.


Though from Cuba, Dafnis has an extensive background in classical percussion and is self-taught on the drum set. He says,"that gave me the freedom to do what ever I wanted." And that he certainly does. He approaches the drum set as a classical percussionist would approach it. You can check out his CD "Taking the Soul for A Walk" and see how his drumming never interferes with the texture of the music, but its always a part of what is happening. Dafnis' strength is that although he has good chops and great coordination; his playing is never about showing off his technical prowess. He talked extensively about how he utilizes what he knows for the expression of the music. His dictum is "the rhythm is not the music." If you have a technique, a rudiment, like the paradiddle, a rhythm or a beat, he asks "What do you do with that?" That is the music."

The way you use these ideas expresses your unique approach to the drum set. The creative manipulation and variation that he used was stunning to say the least. The highlight of the clinic, for me, was one Dafnis took a basic guaguanco melody, and used as an ostinato to hold together a drum solo. This melodic idea became the theme for improvisation and creation, as each idea grew from the melody and came back to it. This was an excellent example of "how to perform a drum solo,"

He offered some interesting exercises to take home, as playing the clave against the exercises in Stick Control with the RH being played by the right foot bass drum. He also suggested you do them against a left foot clave.

The clinic was liking looking into a a keyhole into the greater world of Dafnis' drumming and readily suggested where on could take ones drumming. Like every great drummer, Dafnis makes it all look so easy
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Re: Dafnis Pieto clinic at The Long Island Drum Center

Great review, Kenny. Wish I was there : (

I find Dafnis' approach to drumming very refreshing compared to some of the other new gereration 'enfant terribles' .

I dont know if its just me but there seems to be a cookie cutter thing going on with lots of young drummers that I hear these days. They all sound great but they all sound like each other. The ultimate in drumming competence, but somewhat sterile.

Dafnis is a 'horse of a different feather', as my dad used to say.
 

drumhead61

Gold Member
Re: Dafnis Pieto clinic at The Long Island Drum Center

Not unlike your hometown, Long Island can be one of the dullest place in the world.
My hometown does not seem to get the talent here at all and if it does the word certainly is not getting out very well! You put forth a marvelous review of what sounded like a fantastic evening to behold I am envious! I would have loved to have sat and listened to and watched Dafnis! Thanks for sharing.
 

Baddstuff

Senior Member
my first exposure to Dafnis was with Michel Camilo. I had no idea who Dafnis was but his performance was riveting to say the least. He was very sympathetic to Michel's amazing piano style. To now find out he is self taught is quite an eye opener. Being that another in another thread someone was asking when do you know it's time to drop a student that again begs the question, can just anyone be a drummer or be taught to play drums? I think the answer is a resounding NO!
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Re: Dafnis Pieto clinic at The Long Island Drum Center

Great review, Kenny. Wish I was there : (

I find Dafnis' approach to drumming very refreshing compared to some of the other new gereration 'enfant terribles' .

I dont know if its just me but there seems to be a cookie cutter thing going on with lots of young drummers that I hear these days. They all sound great but they all sound like each other. The ultimate in drumming competence, but somewhat sterile.

Dafnis is a 'horse of a different feather', as my dad used to say.
The problem with technique is that you have to have the creative juice to know what to do with it. If you have too much technical ability, but not enough creativity, you can't do anything with it. If you have the creativity but not the technical apparatus to know how to uncover and manifest it, than you end up in Bellview.

Dafnis in that way reminds me of Steve Gadd. Sure there are better funk players, or rock players or jazz players then Gadd. Sure there are better rudimental players, more technical, faster players then Gadd. But musically speaking, he knows how to use what he knows better then most anyone. Dafnis can play left foot clave but he doesn't spend his time learning how to play the most complex rhythms off it so that it can impress everyone. But you can listen to him play, and creatively he sparks your imagination, like none of the 'enfant terribles' will ever do. That is the magic of music.

Abe, here's something to work on. Dafnis plays the songo with a clave in the right hand. Can you do that yet? I've been working on it. Today, I had a break through with it. I played with the songo, and then wanted to write it down. But after I wrote it down, I couldn't then play what I had written. The music is never on the paper. That was big for me, because I have been trying to get my head out of the book for some time.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Re: Dafnis Pieto clinic at The Long Island Drum Center

Dafnis plays the songo with a clave in the right hand. Can you do that yet? I've been working on it. Today, I had a break through with it. I played with the songo, and then wanted to write it down. But after I wrote it down, I couldn't then play what I had written. The music is never on the paper. That was big for me, because I have been trying to get my head out of the book for some time.

Ya, but in spurts. What I'm doing in terms of experimenting with the songo is changing up the accents completley. If you can feel the groove on the 'ands' and then change everything up including the ghostnotes, it can sound pretty 'wild'.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
After a while, I think it is just a matter of what you can do to make the groove work with the song. Most Los Van Van songs don't have a textbook songo pattern. right?. Once you add the clave, you might be doing something else. But these Cuban guys can work off the clave like most rock guys work off the straight 8ths.
 
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