Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Djembe Player with Character...

I had a hard day at work today. It seems I may have bitten off more than I can chew with trying to help others when it's ultimately none of my business. I suppose when you try too hard to help and be accomodating to others, your efforts at times seems to go unappreciated and even insulting to people.

So in an effort to make myself feel better, I looked up various djembe players on YouTube. Perhaps my passion for percussions would inspire me to remember what's more important in my personal life. And remind me what truly makes me happy.

The video below is one of many I will blog about over the next few days and weeks. I'll start with a light video for now. This particular video is of a djembe player named Matthias Spangenberg. Although his playing in the video is not remotely flashy to the likes of many djembe masters, he exudes a flare and a character about him that I was drawn to. Check out the video below and you'll know what I mean.

This is non-traditional percussions at its best, without easily veering towards the pure gut-feel of world music that most djembe players partake in the Philippines (including myself).

I've neglected my Pearl 14 inch fiber glass djembe for quite a while now. I've preferred to use my congas these days because I've learnt quite a bit of traditional rhythms with those drums. I actually miss playing my djembe at gigs these days. I suppose what I miss is the character I had with just knowing only what I've invented in my playing. I guess it is true that once you start learning how an instrument is really played based on traditional theory, you do lose that flare and end up being just a variation of tradition and not something completely unique. Below are old pictures of my djembe when I first got it, alongside one of my congas and my small djembe.

I don't think I've lost that flare in my playing quite yet. As I still retain what I've invented, and injected those new traditional rhythms to my invented style of playing, instead of completely suplanting it. I doubt I'd fully become a traditional percussionist. I'm nowhere near as skilled, nor have the opportunity to be instructed enough to reach that point. Something saddens and relieves me with knowing that. I don't know why.

I used to do hand claps while soloing during gigs with my band. I stopped doing that because it really couldn't be heard and most people found it funny. I suppose I'll start doing that again since this guy does it so well.

So there you go, hand claps. Aside from playing djembe again, it's my redeeming inspiration for today.

Mission Accomplished...


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