Learn Djembe Online – Rhythm videos – Ballet Duns

Searching for another resource to advance your djembe playing? Well, look no further. It is with great pleasure that we present this fabulous content produced by Learn Djembe Online. Thorough, easy to follow and covering rhythms from levels 1 and 2 of Grandmaster  Mamady Keita’s Djembe Academy curriculum, these downloadable videos are a must have for any djembefolas’ reference library.

In this fully downloadable resource, Australian djembe player and teacher Tara Tucker presents 18 West African rhythms suitable for beginner and intermediate djembe players.

Tara has been officially certified by Mamady Keita to teach his djembe and dunun curriculum  She presents the rhythms as she learnt them from him.

In the ballet dun package Mohamed Bangoura and Tara Tucker demonstrate ‘ballet style’ dunun patterns for all 18 rhythms featured in Learn Djembe Online’s Levels 1 & 2 (listed below). This pack includes demos, breakdowns, box notation and play along MP3s of individual djembe and full traditional dunun accompaniments at 3 or 4 different speeds.

At just $35 for all these resources you’ll be hard pressed to find better value for money than this!


Yes please, I’d love a copy!

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Q: What are duns and what do you mean by ballet duns?

A: Dununs or ‘duns’ are the 3 bass drums which provide the melodic rhythm on top of which West African djembe drums are played. The duns are called, in order from low to high pitch, the dununba, the sangban and the kenkeni. A typical djembe ensemble consists of a set of duns and at least 2 djembes. Traditionally, duns are played horizontally with one player on each drum. Each dunun player strikes one side of the drum with a stick and plays a bell with the other hand. The interplay of the 3 dunun parts results in a melody that is the signature groove of that particular rhythm.

‘Ballet style’ is an adaptation whereby the duns are played vertically, with 1 person effectively playing the role of the 3 drummers. This individual plays a composite version of the 3 dunun parts that reflects the signature ‘song’ of the combined 3 dunun voices. A good ballet dun pattern expresses the essence of a particular rhythm. While the ballet dun set up is not traditional, it’s a popular, convenient and accepted way of playing.

Balakulandjan – Malinke initiation rhythm, Kurussa region, Guinea

Djole – Temine mask rhythm, Guinea & Sierra Leone

Senefoli – Malinke harvest rhythm, North East Guinea

Moribayassa – Malinke women’s dance, North East Guinea

Denadon – Malinke rhythm played before the Mendiani festival, North East Guinea

Dallah – Malinke fishing rhythm, North East Guinea

Kanin – Original rhythm by Mamady Keita

Toro – Malinke initiation rhythm, North East Guinea

Soli Rapide – Malinke initiation rhythm, Guinea

Kuku – Popular Manian rhythm, Forest Guinea & Ivory Coast

Fankani – Popular Malinke rhythm, Wassolon region, Guinea

Soliwoulen – Malinke rhythm for master fetish-maker, North East Guinea

Soli Lent – Malinke initiation rhythm, Guinea

Fe 1 – Popular Malinke rhythm, North East Guinea

Kono – Original rhythm by Mamady Keita

Djagbe – Popular Malinke rhythm, North East Guinea

Soko – Malinke initiation rhythm, Faranah region, Guinea

Kassa – Malinke harvest rhythm, North East Guinea

Please note:

This material requires just over 3G of space. For convenient transmission, the files have been bundled into 5 ‘zip’ files, one for the notation pdfs, one for the demo videos, one for the breakdown videos, and two for the MP3s (audio tracks). You cannot download the zips directly to an iOS device like an iPad. So please first download the zip files to your computer or external hard drive, unzip the files and then transfer them to your device(s). Thank you!