Stories Archives - African Drumming

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!


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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/

West African Stories: The Road to Kankan (May 2002)

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Following a deep immersion in Bambara rhythms c/o of a one month stint in the dusty sprawls of Bamako, it was time to say goodbye to my friends Abu Kora and Jean Michael from Canada and turn south to embrace the fire of Guinea’s Malinke music. Problem was, my car wasn’t up to the strains of the epic dirt track ahead… so in true African style I decided to “Pimp my ride” and install some XL shockers in the rear. 23hrs, 9 bribes and 374km later i made it to the township of Kankan: heart of Malinke music where mangos grow the size of pineapples. The hospitality was as warm as the weather and the dununs were asymmetric and scarred from years of playing on the humid streets

– Simon

Fraz & Kora

West African Stories: Senegal 2003

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This 3 month trip took me to Les Nez de Afrique or Africa’s most Western tip – Senegal I was privileged to stay with Bouly Sonko (Director of the National Ballet) and his family. Surrounded by musicians and dancers i soaked up the nuances of their music True to the local styles i took up study in Sabaa, Tama (talking drum) and Djembe with the lead drummers from the ballet – all generous & patient teachers A musically rich and diverse hotpot of music, Dakar remains a force for the international Diaspora

Soruba Drummers

West African Stories: Bobo

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Bobo is a special place – it’s one of my favourite places in all of West Africa. I’d bet it has the highest concentration of musicians of any place in the world; talent literally seems to be growing on trees! I stayed in Bobo for 3 months, living with a group of musicians in a typically vibrant “cartier”. For one auspicious ceremony right outside our front door, we invited a man from Mali to come down and share his music and magic with us. What ensued was a two day festival of high octane drum and dance mixed with fetish magic and traditional theatre. Raucous cheering and laughter lifted the theatre of the occasion to new heights on the second day as word spread throughout the town that a Malian witch doctor was here.

There were roosters, horse tail wands, spells, nails & blood… the locals couldn’t get enough of it. It was an awesome experience

– Simon

Bobo Dialasso

African Drumming Calendar 2018