west africa Archives - African Drumming

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!

Teacher Profile: Jacqui Dressens – Autumn Retreat

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One of the great things about our Weekend Drum Retreats is the great opportunity to connect with drummers & teachers from all across Australia.

We are excited to have some of Australia’s most experienced and inspiring facilitators join us at the AUTUMN DRUM AND DANCE RETREAT (April 17 -19th)

We are so privileged to have the incredibly talented JACQUI DRESSENS sharing her dance moves with us all on Saturday, and she’ll kick the Sunday off with a movement and Yoga session.

Jacqui is a community arts practitioner in choreography, lecturing at Deakin University in Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Arts Education. She has extensively studied dance styles of the African Diaspora over the past 25 years with a plethora of artists from Caribbean, Cuba, Brazil, Congo, Tanzania, South Africa, Senegal & Ghana.

Jacqui’s company Wild Moves was founded in 1994 and is her dedication to Mother Africa and all the mentors who have shared their cultural wisdom and influences on her own Afro-Surf Coast style.

All the information on the Autumn Retreat is right here:

Sign up to the camp by emailing [email protected]

Jacqui Dreessens


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/

Bouba1Autumn Retreat 2015 - web

Rhythm Power Tour back on for 2016!

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Excited to announce we will be heading back to Burkina Faso in 2016 as part of our annual Rhythm Power Tour …it will be a 5 week tour across Ghana and Burkina …. last year 24 students were blown away by our teachers Adama Koita and Burkina Azza who will be hosting us again ……
Burkina Faso has some of the sweetest traditional music in West Africa, with it’s focus on djembe and bobo balafon

Here is a taste. More details on our upcoming tour coming soon

Sessi Sessi – Community Music Ensemble

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Sessi Sessi

Sessi Sessi is our energetic West African drumming community ensemble that’s made up with our advanced student group. Uplifting and high energy performances that gets the crowds moving are their specialty. Our talented students are lead by seasoned professionals who warmly welcomes everybody  to dance and groove. Whether it be at a fund raiser, sports events, block parties, street festivals…..you name it: we’ll perform there!

Be part of the action and check out our Sessi Sessi facebook page


Download our Sessi Sessi Bio:


Here’s a video of Sessi Sessi playing in the background for October 2013 vNews Live from Flashjam






Tribalism September 19th!

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photo 3 (1)photo 1 (1)photo 2

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!

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!


African Drumming Calendar 2018