One way to understand polyrhythms is to mess around with the Polyrhythm Beat Generator. Or check out these amazing videos.
Brazillian percussionist Renato Martins plays the udini, a smaller version of the udu, sometimes known as “water udus” (see the vid below to find out why “water” is in the title).
Here’s Hadero’s short talk about finding inspirational sounds in the most ordinary places. She hints at the creative kind of practice mentioned in the last blog post, and covered more deeply in The Practice of Practice and Practice Like This: Songwriting as practice. It’s a particularly powerful form of practice because you own what you’re doing, it’s exploratory, and best of all, it’s fun and can make time fly.
Jazz and popular music of today owes a huge debt to Africa where the driving steady rhythm, swing, and accenting beats 2 and 4 come from. Most audiences in the US don’t know this, and don’t feel that kind of beat. Because of this, audiences frequently end up clapping on beats 1 and 3, as they’re doing in the clip below. Harry Connick Jr. knows better, and he also knows how to turn the beat around so he can help the audience clap on 2 and 4 (that happens around the :39 mark in the video below). His drummer is happy about it and gives a double-fist pump right after Connick makes the switch. Notice how much more hip the sound is!
The song in this video is “Jarabi.” Sona Jobarteh comes from a long line of Griot masters, a musical and cultural tradition from West Africa that is at least 700 years old. When Europe was at the tail-end of the Dark Ages, travelling Griot musicians were bringing news and ceremony throughout West Africa in the Mali empire.
Yesterday I had the honor of talking with Sidiki Dembele and his wife, Vivian who helped translating some more difficult concepts (thanks, Sidiki and Vivian!).
Sidiki is a fantastic musician from Abidjan, Ivory Coast in West Africa and now living in Manchester, UK. He plays many instruments (ngoni, balafon, kora…), but his main instrument is the djembe. He overcame some serious hardships and put in an amazing amount of time practicing, and it shows.