Wednesday, May 18, 2005

You can't force the djembe....

My teacher Abdoulaye Diakite has told me many times that, "If you try to force the djembe, the djembe will force you.". His teacher Suncaru Jara gave him the same saying. You cannot force a rhythm to happen. The spirit with either accept and allow a rhythm to be good or the spirit will hold back. Sometimes we may really want to play a rhythm right, and it may even be a rhythm that we can normally play very well, but for some reason that day the spirit says, "No!". We have to understand and respect that each rhythm has its time and place and we have to be more conscious when a rhythm just isn't going to happen. Many people will keep playing a rhythm for up to 30 or 40 minutes even though it is obviously not working. I never saw this during my travels in West Africa. In Africa if the rhythm isn't working out the drummers stop and move onto another song or rhythm. We need to understand that we are not deciding which rhythms to play, instead we are listening to discover and follow what the spirit demands.

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