djembe Archives - African Drumming

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year from the team here at African Drumming!

Simon is currently in Burkina Faso on our Rhythm Power drumming-intensive tour, as you can see by our current January vNews above!

– Our community drumming classes are starting back up this week! If you happen to miss this week, be sure to jump in on the second week of the cycle next week. For more information on our drumming classes, head to our website!
– Our community drumming ensemble Sessi Sessi has an incredibly special performance coming up; a stint at this year’s White Night!
–  St Kilda Beginners Class teacher Davey will be hosting a jam a little later in the month on Sat Jan 30th – head to the Facebook event page for more information! If you’re a keen djembe drummer and have been interested in potentially joining Sessi Sessi on their community performance pursuits, then drop Jeremy an email for more info: [email protected]
– We would like to thank everyone for their generous donation of soccer and football boots for our friends in Accra, Ghana. Simon has taken all of the boots over with him on our current Africa tour.  Stay tuned for some pictures when he does the big hand out!
– Our Summer drumming retreat is returning to the great Otoway National Park. Happening 19-21st February, you can find out more here.

Rhythm Power Highlights 2014-15

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For the past 15 years our director Simon Fraser has been running the Rhythm Power tour through West Africa.  Last tour he travelled from Ghana to Burkina Faso, where he experienced so many highlights and serendipitous moments.  Here’s a selection of his photos of his trip…..

Click here for more info on the next Rhythm Power tour

Next Guinea container shipment arriving in 2 months

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After almost 3 months of waiting it looks like our Guinea container will be hitting the water within a few weeks … hoping for smooth sailing from here.
Conakry Signature Series djembes, hardwood duns, goat skins, feleke ( hats), balafon, flute ……
Will keep you all updated on timing …exciting!

Check out what went down at Tribalism last week….

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Last weekend was one of the best Tribalisms ever… just loved the venue (Kindred Studios) and the student ensembles came up with such great arrangements.  All topped off with a dance floor showdown led by AfroSuperGroup Allstars.

Thanks to everyone that made it a great afternoon

See you all again in 12 weeks’ time – Friday July 3rd Kindred Studios

Check it all the pics here:

Drumming Classes: new cycle starting this week!

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Calling ALL drummers!

Our next 6 week class cycle starts this week – BOOK IN HERE!



Our director Simon is back at the helm teaching Beginners and Intermediates again full time in St Kilda. Simon started our school back in 1997 and is pumped to be nurturing the next generation of Melbourne drummers!
Big thanks to Djulz who has done a wonderful job over the last few years

Here’s our schedule –
Monday: Advanced in St Kilda with Bouba
Tuesday: Beginners and Inters in St Kilda with Simon Fraser
Wednesday: Beginners and Inters in Camberwell with Jeremy P and Hampton Park with Alena

Don’t forget we also have our Affiliate schools in Footscray, Wangaratta and Bendigo …plenty of options across town and beyond.

Visit our Classes page for more details:


Profile: Boubacar Gaye – Autumn Drum Retreat

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Boubacar Gaye has been delighting Melbourne with his drumming talents for over 5 years now. Bouba’s passion for the djembe ( and the dun for that matter) is rare and his enthusiasm to share his knowledge with students a blessing to all that meet his path.

Bouba first laid his hands on a drum in Senegal at the budding age of 14. Inspired by the musical mentors around him he became a member of the infamous Mama Afrika. Under the guidance of ballet professor Joseph-Raphael Bouschanzl, Bouba’s skills and passion grew quickly and soon he was also a member of the renowned Foret Sacre Ballet. In 1997 Bouba ventured to Europe and then onto Japan where he established himself as a leading African percussionists. With an energy and peace of mind that resonates from deep within – Bouba speaks a thousand words with his drum.

Come and study with Bouba at the AUTUMN DRUM & DANCE RETREAT – just 2 weeks away now!
Check out all the details here https://www.africandrumming.com.au/tours-and…/autumn-retreat/

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Special Bali Drum Camp Offer – free djembe worth $500!

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special-0031(mahog-12.5in-63cm-9 (1) special-0032(mahog-13in-63cm-8 (1) special-0030 (mahog-13.5 in-63cm-90kg) (1)There is still time to join us in Bali for our annual BALI DRUM CAMP May 17 -27.

We have a SPECIAL one-time offer of a FREE 12-13″ Special Series djembe to anyone that signs up in the next 8 weeks ….valued at $500, these hardwood mahogany djembes are beautifully carved and finished with exceptional natural goat.  PLUS we will custom design it to your specifications (height and diameter)

Download all the Bali camp information right here!


Profile: Tara Tucker – Autumn Drum Retreat

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We are privileged to have the wonderful Tara Tucker teaching at our Autumn Drum Retreat on 17 -19 April.

Tara has been playing West African percussion for over 15 years. She has studied traditional drumming with Masterdrummers and ensembles in Guinea, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Her teachers include Mamady Keita, Famoudou Konate, Mohamed Bangoura, Nii Abia, Lamine ‘Lopez’ Soumah and Nii Tettey Tetteh.


Tara is one of only 2 djembe teachers in Australia to have been personally certified by djembe Grandmaster Mamady Keita as a teacher for Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy International, his international school of West African drumming. This certification is an official acknowledgement of her musical ability, rhythmic and historical knowledge of the djembe and was awarded to her personally by Mamady Keita after many years of intensive study and a lengthy practical exam.

Tara teaches and performs internationally. Her students appreciate her patience, energy, good humour, attention to detail and her infectious enthusiasm for African drumming.

She is also a Teaching Artist in Residence at Kickstart Arts, an independent arts organisation that uses creative arts to promote well-being and positive social change in Tasmania.

For more information about this camp, visit the Autumn Retreat page of our website

Tribalism is back!

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Pumped for the next TRIBALISM
We have brought together a HUGE & talented team of artists to headline on the day. Rehearsals are under way and The AfroSuperGroup looks ready to go o SUNDAY 12th APRIL from 2pm onwards Kindred Studios in Yarraville


It’s here! – The RHYTHM POWER 2015/16 TOUR PACK

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It’s here – The RHYTHM POWER 2015/16 TOUR PACK with everything you need to know about our next trip starting Dec 28th this year!  It’s a unique trip covering two of Africa’s most diverse musical landscapes – The ancient soul of Burkina Faso and Colour and smiles of Ghana.

DOWNLOAD the Tour Pack here

This unique African drum and dance tour will take you on an immersive 2 part journey into the culture, music and community of some of Africa’s most interesting peoples. Our West African drum and dance tour connects you to like-minded people in a safe & relaxed atmosphere and together you’ll drum and dance your hearts out on the Atlantic Coast in Ghana and the Sahel Region of Burkina Faso .

During the course of the tour, everyone will get the chance to jam with local musicians and take part in some wonderful ceremonies as well as drumming & dancing alongside your teachers.

With accompaniments, breaks, solos and songs for traditional rhythms, you’ll have the opportunity to drum & dance from sun-up to sun-down with the opportunity to advance your playing beyond measure.

Visit the Ekome website for full details of this tour.


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Tribalism September 19th!

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A couple of Fridays ago we had our student performance night, Tribalism for our sixth lesson cycle, at Metropol Bar in St Kilda. It was a great night, with plenty of our students showing off their new skills and the new rhythm learnt over the previous six weeks. It was a high energy, and busy evening, however Jeremy managed to take a couple of snaps on his phone.

Our next Tribalism will be a more family-friendly affair, happening at the St Kilda Bowls Club in the afternoon of Sunday November 9. Great opportunity for the whole family to come down for a BBQ!

Be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page for more info to come!

Tribalism Is Back In St Kilda! Friday September 19

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Tribalism! Friday September 19! Really excited to be bringing the music to back to St Kilda, this cycle’s event happening at Metrapol Bar! We’ll be kicking things off at 8:00pm sharp so bring your dancing shoes, and djembe of course.

Don’t forget the big end to the night… ALL IN JAM too!
It’s going to be HUGE!

Continuing our 12/8 theme with a Short Bell Pattern

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Rhythmic Challenge for the morning is another 12/8 bell pattern ( to continue the theme for this month.)

Get familiar with the “short bell” pattern on one hand (or wok or any other kitchenware you have handy!) 

1 2 3 4 1
x . x . x x . x . x . x x

Now play away from the beat on your other hand.

1 2 3 4 1
x x . x x . x x . x x

You can see a diagram of the different bell patterns on last week’s blog entry, here!

It is tricky, but when you land it, it is so satisfying! Really does something to the pathways in your mind and body.
Something is growing internally and something is discovered, quite an exciting experience!

Hope to see you on Thursday 6:00pm – 8:00pm (and Saturday 10:00am-12:00pm) this week for four hours of rhythmic insight at Simon’s Dexterity Workshop. Dan will be supporting us all on dun as we go on a polyrhythmic journey into our bodies and minds to massage out the rhythmic gristle!


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12-8 Bell Pattern Exer


We have been working hard on our 12/8 bell patterns in the St Kilda Advanced class recently and it’s really coming together!

Using our feet to feel the 6 pulse and playing 5 different bell patterns over the top, then combining them all musically; there is something different about a polyrhythmic Agogo Bell orchestra!

One of the key foundation points is being able to feel the offbeat in our body whilst we walk the downbeat (pulse.) Harder than it sounds but over time our bodies relax into it, and two distinct pulses can be felt internally. Counting 1+2+3+4+5+6+ will help, and going SLOW to start is paramount. If we can feel these contrasting rhythms internally then we are much closer to being able to use them in our drumming. One can explore and execute more sophisticated timing structures and solos, wonderful huh?

Next challenge is to add some vocalisation (chant and song) to the mix; polyrhythmic fun and games with a musical twist!

Getting dexterous and ironing out the rhythmic gristle that binds up our bodies = more freedom for the body and mind.

If you want more, come and study dexterity with me next week!

– Simon.

For more information on Simon’s Dexterity classes, head here!


2014 Rhythm Bible & Instructional Pack!

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Have you read your Bible lately? Where is your faith?
Firmly in the doctrine of the djembe I hope!
Check out our latest edition of our Rhythm Bible ( and CDs) with 25 awesome arrangements, exercises for dexterity and rhythm power; years of material to grow your playing!

Get the Bible here: https://www.africandrumming.com.au/cart/rhythm-bible/
And the Full Pack here: https://www.africandrumming.com.au/cart/african-drumming-instructional-pack/