WEST AFRICAN E√E RHYTHMS FOR DRUMSET
© 2007 royal hartigan. All rights reserved.
THIS WORK IS DEDICATED TO my PARENTS TO MY UNCLE and to my ﬁrst teacher in E e music
THEY DANCED THROUGH LIFE WITH A DEEP SPIRIT
JAMES AND HAZEL HARTIGAN
NSOROMMA REFLECTIONS OF GOD’S DIVINE SPIRIT 2
Freeman Kwadzo Donkor
SANKOFA RETURN AND TAKE IT/REMEMBER THE PAST
CONTENTS VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV DEDICATIONS Contents HOW TO USE THE DVD WITH THIS BOOK Digital Video DISC contents
Adinkra Honoring the drum CREDITS / copyright / production INFORMATION Contact and ordering information PROLOGUE FOREWORD
2 4 7 8
13 14 15 INSIDE FRONT COVER, 17 19 23
INTRODUCTION HHHHHHH Background The colonial holocaust Paths The drums in a new land The e e people of west Africa Origins Historical overview Environment Political, social, and spiritual dimensions Sources consulted
27 29 31 33 34 34 35 36 38 40
AKPESE LLLLLLLLLLLL BACKGROUND ENSEMBLE SONGS AND PATTIGAME VARIATIONS DRUMSET STYLES CONVERSATIONS AMONG SUPPORTING INSTRUMENTS PATTIGAME RHYTHMS Bass Drum / High hat VARIATIONS IMPULSES AKPESE HIGHLIFE STYLES AKPESE REGGAE FUNK FEELS AKPESE HIP-HOP BEATS UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES
46 48 49 51 51 57 59 60 60 63 64 65 66 74
SHIFTING TIME Feelings WITH High Hat, Bass Drum, AND LEFT HAND SHIFTED STARTING POINTS AKPESE rhythms with Brushes BRUSH / STICK VOICE TONES AKPESE RHYTHMS With HANDS SUMMARY
74 79 84 86 87 91
GADZO GGGGGGGG BACKGROUND ENSEMBLE AND SONG KAGA VARIATIONS AXATSE VARIATIONS DRUMSET STYLES IMPULSES HIGHLIFE styles REGGAE Grooves GADZO HIP-HOP (A.K.A. GAMELAN FUNK) TALKING DRUMS UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE Gadzo Dialogues TIMELINES 12/8 DRUMSET TIMELINES SWINGING THE TIMELINES TIMELINES IN A BEBOP GROOVE TIMELINES IN A JAZZ TRIPLET STYLE LEFT HAND TIMELINES IN A JAZZ TRIPLET STYLE Bass Drum and High Hat TIMELINES IN A REGGAE FEEL TIMELINES IN A FUNK GROOVE MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES SHIFTING TIME FEELINGS WITH High Hat, Bass Drum, AND Left Hand Time Layers inside each beat SHIFTED BEAT SERIES AND STARTING POINTS TWELVE POSITIONS OF THE SHIFTED GADZO TIMELINE FOUR BEAT FEEL TWELVE POSITIONS OF THE SHIFTED GADZO TIMELINE SIX BEAT FEEL TWELVE POSITIONS OF THE SHIFTED GADZO TIMELINE THREE BEAT FEEL GADZO rhythms with Brushes BRUSH / STICK VOICE TONES GADZO RHYTHMS WITH HANDS SUMMARY
94 95 96 98 99 109 109 113 116 118 130 133 136 139 143 145 148 150 151 154 154 163 168 170 174 178 183 186 187 189
KINKA ddddddddd BACKGROUND ENSEMBLE DRUMSET STYLES KINKA TIMELINE / CYMBAL VARIATIONS UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE SUMMARY
192 193 194 195 199 222
ADZOHU VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV PPPPPPPPPP Background KADODO ADZOHU KADODO DRUM ENSEMBLE KADODO SONG KADODO GA KOGUI VARIATIONS KADODO KAGA VARIATIONS AGO ADZOHU AGO DRUM ENSEMBLE AGO GA KOGUI VARIATIONS KADODO DRUMSET STYLES KAGAN-KIDI / SOGO CONVERSATION I CROSS STICKS AND TOMS LEAVING SPACE IN THE RHYTHM SNARE/TOM VARIAtions KAGAN-KIDI / SOGO CONVERSATION II ADDING BASS DRUM KAGAN-KIDI / SOGO CONVERSATION III SNARE CROSS-STICKS AND TOMS without CYMBAL KUSHI RHYTHMS UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE ATSIME U DIALOGUES WITH KIDI AND SOGO IN KADODO AGO DRUMSET STYLES KUSHI, KAGA , AND AXATSE RHYTHMS UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE ATSIME U DIALOGUEs WITH KIDI AND SOGO IN AGO IMPULSES KADODO CYMBAL VARIATIONS AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS aze u bell timeline NORTH AFRICAN RIM SOUNDS BASS DRUM / HIGH HAT VARIATIONS IN LAYERS OF TIME Time LAYERS INSIDE EACH BEAT ADZOHU HIGHLIFE STYLES KADODO ADZOHU HIGHLIFE STYLES AGO ADZOHU RHYTHMS WITH BRUSHES BRUSH / STICK VOICE TONES ADZOHU RHYTHMS WITH HANDS SUMMARY
226 227 229 230 231 231 232 234 235 236 241 242 245 246 248 251 260 263 264 276 276 278 284 286 288 294 299 303 306 310 311 315
It’s after the end
of the world VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV APPENDIX drums, bells, rattles, and their sounds The drum language of the E e E e Letters and PRONUNCIATION GUIDE GLOSSARY BIOGRAPHIES EPILOGUE
317 318 344 345 353 361
HOW TO USE THE DVD WITH THIS BOOK
The DVD PLAYBACK MODE menu has two options: 1. PLAY THROUGH examples This option will play through all the examples of one of the dance drumming pieces, Akpese, Gadzo, Kinka, or Adzohu. The light blue selection color indicates you are currently in the PLAY THROUGH examples mode. 2. LOOP EACH example This option will loop a particular example within a dance drumming piece. The orange selection color indicates you are currently in LOOP EACH example mode. This allows you to view, hear, and play along with a specific example in a continuous repeating manner. At any time when watching a particular segment within a dance drumming piece, press MENU on your DVD remote to return to the example list for that piece. You can also press TITLE or TOP MENU on your DVD remote to return to the main menu.
symbol indicate that example is available As you follow along in the book, music examples that have a for viewing on the DVD. The number with this symbol refers to the DVD menu number for each dance drumming piece. Feel free to explore the DVD on your own in both modes.
DIGITAL VIDEO DISC CONTENTS
AKPESE LLLLLLLLLLLL 01
02 ATOKE TIMELINE 03 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 1 DRUMS, SONG, AND DANCE 04 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 2 TRUMPET 05 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 3 DRUMMERS AND DANCERS 06 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 4 DRUMS, TRUMPET, AND DANCE
1:05 :27 2:24 :52 1:18 :57
07 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 5 DRUMS, SONG, AND DANCE
08 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 6 DRUMS, WHISTLE, AND TRUMPET
09 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 7 DRUMMERS
10 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 8 DRUMMERS and DRUMSET
11 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 9 DRUMMERS
12 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 10 TRUMPET AND DRUMSET
13 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 11 WHISTLE AND DRUMS
14 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 12 TRUMPET AND DRUMS
15 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 13 DANCERS AND DRUMSET
16 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 14 SONG, TRUMPET, AND DRUMSET
17 AKPESE ENSEMBLE 15 TRUMPET AND DRUMSET
18 AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 4 8
19 AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 5
20 AKPESE HIGHLIFE EXAMPLE 2
21 AKPESE FUNK EXAMPLES 1 AND 2
22 AKPESE HIP HOP EXAMPLES 1 AND 2
√UGBE EXAMPLE 4 AKPESE √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 8
25 AKPESE BRUSH EXAMPLES 1, 3, AND 4
26 AKPESE DRUMSET HAND EXAMPLE 1
27 AKPESE DRUMSET HAND EXAMPLE 2
AKPESE track TOTAL
GADZO GGGGGGGG 01 GADZO ENSEMBLE 1 DRUMS, SONG, AND DANCE
02 GADZO ENSEMBLE 2 DRUMS AND LIBATION
03 GADZO ENSEMBLE 3 SLOW TEMPO
04 GADZO ENSEMBLE 4 DRUMMERS
05 GADZO ENSEMBLE 5 DRUMMERS AND DRUMSET
06 Gadzo ensemble 6 drummers and drumset
07 Gadzo ensemble 7 drummers and drumset
08 GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 1
09 GADZO DRUMSET Examples 12, 13, AND 14
N VARIATIONS 1 KAGAN VARIATIONS 2
10 GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 14 KAGA
11 GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 14
12 GADZO HIGHLIFE EXAMPLE 5
13 GADZO HIP HOP Funk EXAMPLE 2
√UGBE EXAMPLE 2; √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 2 GADZO √UGBE EXAMPLE 3 GADZO √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 3 GADZO √UGBE EXAMPLE 4 GADZO √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 5
16 17 18
0:41 0:39 0:46
19 GADZO TIMELINES EXAMPLE 3A
20 GADZO TIMELINES EXAMPLE 4A
21 GADZO TIMELINES EXAMPLE 5A
22 GADZO TIMELINES EXAMPLE 6A
23 GADZO BRUSH EXAMPLES 1, 5, AND 6
24 GADZO DRUMSET HAND EXAMPLE 2
GADZO Track TOTAL
KINKA ddddddddd 01 KINKA ENSEMBLE 1 DRUMMERS
02 KINKA ENSEMBLE 2 DRUMMERS
03 KINKA ENSEMBLE 3 DRUMMERS and DRUMSET
04 KINKA DRUMSET EXAMPLE 3
05 KINKA DRUMSET EXAMPLE 5
√UGBE EXAMPLE 6 07 KINKA √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 7 08 KINKA √UGBE EXAMPLE 7 09 KINKA √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 8 10 KINKA √UGBE EXAMPLE 17 11 KINKA √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 20
KINKA Track TOTAL
0:15 0:39 0:25 1:26
ADZOHU PPPPPPPPPP 01 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 1 DRUMMERS
02 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 2 CALL TO SHRINE
03 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 3 DANCERS
04 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 4 DRUMMERS AND SINGERS
05 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 5 DRUMMERS AND DANCERS
06 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 6 DANCERS and singers
07 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 7 STILT DANCER
08 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 8 DRUMMERS, DANCERS, AND DRUMSET
09 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 9 DRUMMERS, DANCERS, AND DRUMSET
10 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 10 DRUMMERS, DANCERS, AND DRUMSET
11 ADZOHU KADODO GA KOGuI PATTERN
12 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 11 KADODO DRUMMERS
13 ADZOHU AGO GA KOGuI PATTERN
14 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 12 AGO DRUMMERS
15 ADZOHU ENSEMBLE 13 AGO DRUMMERS and DRUMSET
16 ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 1
17 ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 2
18 ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 8
√UGBE EXAMPLE 1 ADZOHU KADODO √UGBE DRUMSET Examples 1-7 ADZOHU KADODO √UGBE EXAMPLE 3 ADZOHU KADODO √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 6
19 ADZOHU KADODO
23 ADZOHU AGO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 1
24 ADZOHU AGO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 3
25 ADZOHU AGO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 5
26 ADZOHU AGO
√UGBE EXAMPLE 1
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 1 SOLO DRUMSET ADZOHU AGO √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 1 ATSIME√U AND DRUMSET ADZOHU AGO √UGBE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 2
27 ADZOHU AGO
30 ADZOHU TIME LAYERS DRUMSET EXAMPLES 1, 2, AND 3
31 ADZOHU TIME LAYERS DRUMSET EXAMPLES 4, 5, AND 6
32 ADZOHU KADODO HIGHLIFE EXAMPLE 1
33 ADZOHU AGO HIGHLIFE EXAMPLE 1
34 ADZOHU BRUSH EXAMPLE 3
35 ADZOHU BRUSH EXAMPLE 4
36 ADZOHU DRUMSET HAND EXAMPLE 2
37 ADZOHU DRUMSET HAND EXAMPLE 3
38 ADZOHU DRUMSET HAND EXAMPLE 5
ADZOHU Track TOTAL
AKPESE 36:46 GADZO
DVD Track TOTAL 118:50
gye nyame the omnipotence and immortality of the creator
Adinkra Adinkra are traditional images that refer to wisdom, proverbs, stories, or other sayings. These images originally were stamped with bark ink on cotton cloths for funerals (ayie). Adinkra translated means ‘farewell’ or ‘good-bye,’ hence the use of the special cloth on these occasions. The words that express the meanings of the adinkra in this work are from Twi, a language of the Akan people of central-western Ghana. Many Ghanaians speak Twi in addition to their local laguages.
Adinkra images and background information is credited to the research by Prof. Ablade Glover, ATD, MEd., PhD. FRSA, College of Art, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana 13
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV Honoring the Drum 1916-2006
The first time I worked with David McAllester was in class at Wesleyan University in January 1982, and we sang Navajo songs. His life was pursued on many paths: exploring New England woodlands, a commitment to Native American culture, seminal scholarship in world music and anthropology including the works Peyote Music (1949), Enemyway Music (1954), and Navajo Blessingway Singer (with Charlotte Frisbee, 1978) - a founder of the Society for Ethnomusicology (1955), a major force in the creation and development of the renown world music program at Wesleyan University, a political activist for non-violence and cultural, economic, political, and social equality, a teacher and mentor in the highest sense for thousands of students and colleagues, a vocalist. It was not simply what David accomplished in his 89 years, but how he connected with each thing through time and space. He lived the music he studied, wrote about, taught, and performed, with an integrity and commitment to its origin and meaning. He advocated a wholistic approach to music learning and making on all levels, humanizing it from elementary beginnings through world-class professional expertise. Within this, beyond this, David embraced the lifeways of the worldâ€™s peoples with an open heart and gave unconditional love and spirit to us all through dance and sounds. He is a unique soul and this is the greatest gift to us: David taught us what it is to be human, who we can be, and what the divine must feel like.
David playing back Navajo childrenâ€™s songs To Benjamin and Tom Wilson Yazzie, ages 6 and 7, at Tse Bonito, new mexico, July 1955.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV CREDITS, copyright, and production information
LEARNING UGBE IN KOPEYIA VILLAGE
ll existence is the domain of the creator. People in many traditional societies see themselves as custodians of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual entities for the creator. While the ideas of property and ownership may be foreign to many societies and peoples, myself included, this book and digital video disc (DVD) are being developed in a western society that values property and ownership. To prevent the misuse and theft that has been the historical and continuing result of colonial, neocolonial, and industrialized contact with indigenous peoples of the so-called ‘third world,’ I locate the source and ownership of our work in the following manner.
The traditional music, language, and dance that are the sources for this book and DVD are the property of the E√e people of Ghana, Togo, and Benin. The musicans, dancers, and people that I have worked with in Kopeyia, Aflao, Denu, Ho, Accra, and Anyako have given me permision to use images of their life and music in this work. The arrangements of traditional music, song, language, and dance are the result of my study since 1981 with Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, Helen Abena Mensah, Vivien Darko, Kwabena Boateng in Middletown, CT; Godwin Kwasi Agbeli, Emmanuel Kwaku Agbeli, Nani Agbeli, Frank Kofie Agbeli, Esi Agbeli, Yaotse Agbeli, Yaobright Agbeli, Edward Tekpah, Blankson Sodzedo and Agbeko Sodzedo in Kopeyia village, Volta region, Ghana; Mary Agama in Accra,
Ghana; C.K. Ladzekpo in Oakland, CA; Kpeglo Kofi Ladzekpo, Olu Nudzor Gbeti, Emmanuel Kwasi Yevutsey, Kobla Dogbe, Dorni Ekpe Ahlidza, Francis Biam Ladzekpo, Seshie Adonu Ladzekpo, and Daviza Damali in Anyako village, Volta region, Ghana. While all these colleagues have also assisted with translations and interpretations from E√e to English and, in some cases, the related drum language, the book’s final version is based on my work with Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, Helen Abena Mensah, Vivien Darko, Godwin Kwasi Agbeli, Emmanuel Kwaku Agbeli, Frank Kofie Agbeli, and Kpeglo Kofi Ladzekpo. The adaptation of traditional drumming, song, language, and dance into the drumset is royal hartigan’s. Other sources are listed below. We are custodians of these expressions. This book was developed between 1981 and 2005 in Kopeyia village, Aflao town, Anyako village, Ho and Accra cities, Ghana, West Africa; Pittsfield, MA, San Jose, CA, Oakland, CA, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and UMASS Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, MA, USA. Musicians on the video: Akpese, with the DzigbOdi BObObO group from Tarso Anyako village, Volta Region, Ghana,
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV West Africa, 6 June 2002; drumset rhythms, royal hartigan, Anyako village, 7 June 2002; Adzohu, with the Adzohu society, Aflao town, 9 June 2002; Gadzo and Kinka with the Lashibi community, Anyako village, 11 June 2002; additional traditional and drumset rhythms with Samuel Elikem Nyamuame, Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, Helen Abena Mensah, and royal hartigan, Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, 24 September 2005
Cover Design: Book Design :
Stephanie Wooten royal hartigan, Stephanie Wooten and Ben Ghobadi
Videography: Ziddi Msangi, with assistance from Kpeglo, Kofi, and Gamali Kwami Ladzekpo, Kobla Dogbe and Daniel Nocero
Digital video capture:
Digital video editing and DVD authoring and mastering:
Joel Fuller, plebeian productions www.plebeian.org
Photography : royal hartigan, James Edward Hartigan, Hazel Clark Gay Hartigan, Ray Hart, Weihua Zhang, Susan McAllester, Fancis Cancian, Don Victor, Leon Lee, Godwin Kwasi Agbeli, Ziddi Msangi, Heidi Mitchem, Idit Kubitsky, Victor Grant, Nancy Lane, Robert Lancefield, Robert Levin-Kopeyia Ghana School Fund, Andy Nozaka, Dee Confar, Justin Maucione Heather Tripp, Kristina Hines, James Almo, Tim Kao, Amanda Fraser, Angela Cerci, Aziza Williams, Joshua Nierodzinski, Li Tienan, Thinking Hands, and the Dashanzi International Arts Festival
Ben and Sue Ghobadi at Print Tech Publishers Technical Assistance/people who calmed me down when i was about to take a hammer to the computer, and spent endless hours helping me with layout/formatting : Edward Clark Walton Sr., Wei-hua Zhang, Anna Davidson, Michael Andrade, Kenneth Andrade, Tim Swan, Qian Li, Joy Miller, Simon Desjardins, Ziddi Msangi, Harvey Goldman, Ginny Sexton, Dave Sirius, James Bohn, Jessica Arruda, Richard Legault, Alexander Harrington, Douglas O’Grady, Kuwornu Kofi Ladzekpo, and Robert Lancefield The ideas, text, and music in this work were developed through interactions with people. The book and music were written by hand and typed in Microsoft Word 2001 in Macintosh format, followed by InDesign layout. We use 70 lb. bond paper. The primary fonts are Palatino 11 point, Rusticana, and Ipakiel for letters in the E√e language. The digital sound and video recording was done with a SONY Digital Handycam MiniDV DCRTRV11 camera in NTSC format. Sound was recorded at 16 bits. The DVD was edited and authored using Apple’s Final Cut Studio and then replicated.
Adinkra Symbols and their meaning: © 1969, 1971, and 1992 Prof. Abade Glover, College of Art, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Used with permission from Prof. Glover.
E√e Letters and Pronunciation Guide: based on Daniel Kodzo Avorgbedor’s “Modes of Musical Continuity among the ANlO-E√e of Accra: A Study in Urban Ethnomusicology” PhD Dissertation, Indiana University, 1986, xvii-xviii, © 1986. Used with permission from Prof. Avorgbedor.
Music engraving : royal hartigan, Anna Davidson, Douglas O’Grady, and Tim Swan
Production/ 12 1/2 years of strokes & heart attacks
royal hartigan and Ben Ghobadi
Publishing, consulting, and friendship:
reprinted with permission from The New Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15th Edition, © 2003, by The New Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc.
royal hartigan plays:
Sonor drums with Remo heads, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and K Zildian and Paiste cymbals
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV CONTACT INFORMATON
c/o Music Department, College of Visual and Performing Arts, UMASS Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA, 02747
telephone: website: email:
To order this book contact Print Tech Publishers, 8 Berard Drive, South Burlington, VT, 05403.
telephone: fax: email:
(802) 863-5579 (802) 863-4388 firstname.lastname@example.org
AKOMA NTOASO AGREEMENT
nyamedua altar to the sky
Anyako ye√e drumers
playing sogo in kopeyia village
un Ra, the legendary African American philosopher, pianist, and leader of his Solar Arkestra, spoke of the human condition and life’s struggles in terms of an omniverse and our genesis from another dimension. He once told me ‘Reality is not just what we see, there is another existence, we are beings from beyond.’ The music of his large Arkestra ensemble always stretched the limits, surpassing the expected toward the ultimate, with such pieces as Myth vs Science: Reality. When I heard the Arkestra live, I could feel this transcendence, what Amiri Baraka speaks of as an African life sense. As my life has progressed and my playing has taken me to many parts of the world – Africa, Asia, the Middle East/West Asia, Europe, and the Americas – Sun Ra’s wisdom has become clearer. Apart from the unconditional love of my parents, I have been alone and lost, failing at most things, seeing the horrors of human suffering, and wondering if there is any meaning at all. In my Peace Corps experience in the Philippines and subsequent trips throughout the planet, I have seen firsthand the genocide against the people of the so-called ‘third world.’ My friends there do not have an airplane ticket home to shelter, clothing, food, medical care, survival. For no reason, I do. Somehow, out of this nightmare of hunger, sickness, and struggle comes 20
a deep all-encompassing reality expressed through music, dance, and art. Something that can touch us all. When I hear a West African drum ensemble, a Javanese gamelan, an Indian music ensemble, and McCoy Tyner’s great quartet with Sonny Fortune, Calvin Hill, and Alphonse Mouzon, I realize that there can be meaning, and that these masters are playing more than music, they are playing life at its deepest. In this path of life we find connections with people, places, events, times, impressions. On our journey we also lose many of those connections through separation, failure, death, and change. Especially in western industrialized society we can feel empty, separated from others, nature, the creator, our ancestors, even from ourselves. Many world cultures keep these connections alive through tradition and ritual. In West Africa one powerful way is the drum and dance drama, a shared remembrance and honoring of a people’s history and destiny. Through intense dancing, drumming, and singing a community rekindles bonds with other humans and spirits, spaces, activities, moments, ancestors, feelings, the earth, and with themselves. These bonds are embraced as a means of living deeply in the present and going forth on individual and collective paths to the future.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV Living in villages among the E√e people in southeastern Ghana I have learned things we cannot find in any book. They have given me drumming, dance, and spirit that have helped me go through life. We each live in time and space – surviving, working, searching for a partner, maybe having children, laughing, suffering, dreaming, growing old, dying – and affect people and events as we go on our journeys. But we also live in another dimension, a time beyond clocks, a space without place, a being of the heart and spirit, our ultimate reality. For me the musics of West Africa and other world cultures are a gateway to this life sense, a place that cannot be bought or sold, cheated, insulted, a place beyond our frailties.
The sounds of drums, bells, and rattles; songs, proverbs, and cries; and dance movements, gestures, and energy forces are all expressions of life, of the heart, of unconditional love for all existence, every moment, every molecule, every heart. They have helped me on my life journey. The music in these pages is inspired by that unconditional boundless spirit. I have given my life to playing these sounds with the people of each culture and bringing them to the drumset in the African American tradition. Play these rhythms and voices from the E√e people of West Africa in your own personal way, finding your own sound as a means to a deeper spirit. They will also bring you to another place and time, beyond the veil.
Lifted now the vapory curtain, broken now life’s fitful dream Lo! the invisible made certain, on the home side of the stream. Ames 1866 tombstone epitaph on Foss Hill, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
THE STORM IS COMING TO THE EARTH
OWO FORO ADOBE PERFORMING THE IMPOSSIBLE/TRANSCENDeNCE 21
mmara krado supreme authority
professor j. h. Kwabena nketia with royal hartigan (l) and weihua zhang (r)
Prof. J.H. Kwabena Nketia
he development of intercultural perspectives in music has become an important trend in our time, for it is now generally recognized that every musical culture can be a source of enrichment of oneâ€™s musical knowledge and experience. This work on West African Rhythms for the Drum Set is an attempt to provide such an experience for players of the drum set, for playing African drum rhythms not only opens the window to another world of music but also enables the musician to share in the discipline, communication and play that emerge from the interactive structures that form the fabric of this music. Although the author rightly points out that what he provides in this work are transformations and adaptations constructed with the capabilities of the drum set in mind, the merit of his work lies in the fact that the adaptations are idiomatic and not farfetched. The original rhythms are clearly set out before the player is led through the various selections of cells from each rhythm and their combinations. For the discerning musician, this could be a way of acquiring knowledge of some of the processes and
procedures of these traditions and more especially the kind of musical thought that inspires them. To be able to put together composites of supporting drum rhythms, bell and rattle patterns originally assigned to individual players demands awareness of the nature of the resultants that emerge at various points and the ability to discern what constitutes the essential and non-essential elements in such configurations. I would like therefore, to commend the author, in conclusion, both for the manner in which he has presented his materials and the insights he is sharing, in the process, with other musicians.
J.H. Kwabena Nketia Emeritus Professor and Director International Center for African Music and Dance
prof. david park mcallester
his work is unusual for its combination of practical and scholarly features. It is the only step-by-step work of its kind for the drumset, percussion ensemble, and composition (except for the author’s previous book/compact disc) in which the subject is West African drumming, language, and culture. Studies for a wide variety of styles derived from four E√e dance drumming pieces are presented in satisfying detail. The author is not only a skilled performer but is also an ethnomusicologist with a deep understanding of the cultural milieus from which these musics arise. He provides generous information on what the music means to the native performers aesthetically, recreationally, and spiritually.
KOFI GHANABA, ODOMANKOMA KYEREMA PIONEER IN AFRICAN JAZZ
oyal hartigan has committed his life to living the music of the peoples of Africa and African America. He lives with our brothers and sisters in villages in our homeland, eats our food, dances and drums with heart. Whatever he does in his playing and sharing through this book and video is from his whole being and is the real thing.
Koﬁ Ghanaba Son of Ghana Odomankoma Kyerema Divine Drummer
David P. McAllester Emeritus Professor and Co-Founder World Music Program, Wesleyan University
ntesie mate masie wisdom
Akpala, ben, akpagana, agbek menyo o, makoni, and apiyo playing kpegisu music at kopeyia village
HHHHHHH AFRICA Berlin
B OS. & HERZ.
Bar celona M adrid
Marr ak ech
CANAR Y ISLANDS
Laayoune (El Aai ún)
Nou ak chott
Ni ame y
BURKIN A FASO
SAO T OME AND PRIN CIPE
São T omé
CENTRAL AFRIC REPUBLIC
Br azz aville
RWAND A Buk avu
K amp al a
DEM. REP . OF THE C ON GO
(EQU A. GUI.)
Pointe-Noir e ANGOL A
UG AND A
REP . OF THE C ON GO
Lake Victoria + Bujumb ur a BUR UNDI Lake Dodoma Tanganyika
Namibe St. Helena
Har ar e
Windhoek W alvis Ba y
Tropic of Capricorn
Dar es Sal aam Mor oni
Pr etori a
800 Kilometer s
Port Eliz abeth
Ant an an ariv o St. Denis
MADAG ASC AR
Reunion (FRAN CE)
This huge land mass encompasses two great deserts, the Kalahari to the south and the Sahara to the north, mountains, lakes, rivers, savannah grasslands, dense equatorial rain forests, and coastal environments that reach to the ocean waters. Many parts of the continent comprise a vast plateau, connected to basins that extend to the coastal areas. Unlike Europe, Africa’s coastline is rarely broken by bays, gulfs, or inland seas so that except for the Nile River, there is no easily navigable route from the ocean to the interior. These qualities of geography, combined with extremes of climate found in its deserts and equatorial forests, have made much of the continent historically inaccessible to outsiders (Wright 1984).
Humankind may have originated in what is now known as Tanzania Ocean over two million years ago. Iron was made and used in sub-Saharan West Africa from around 400 B.C.E., and spread over many other parts of the continent by 600 C.E. A number of empires thrived during and after this time: in West Africa, among them Mali, Kanem, Bornu, Songhay, Ghana, and Benin, the latter known for its bronze sculpture; on the east coast, the city-states of Axum, Gedi and 40
frica is a vast continent spanning over 30 million square kilometers, roughly three times the size of the United States. It includes a diversity of geography, climate, peoples, values, and artistic expression, including the visual arts, weaving, drama, literature, poetry, song, instrumental music, and dance. There are hundreds of ethnic groups living across its lands, each with its own language, cosmology, 28
Eur opa Island (FRAN CE)
Tromelin Island (FRAN CE)
M ahaj ang a
Mb abane S WAZIL AND M aseru Durban LESO THO
Boundary r epresentation is not necessarily authorit ative.
Juan de No va Island (FRAN CE)
Scale 1:5 1,400,000 0
Glorioso Islands (FRAN CE)
Mayotte (admin. b y F rance, claimed b y Comor os)
Beir a Mozambique Bassas da India (FRAN CE)
SEY C HELLES
C OMOR OS
Azimuthal Equal-Area Projection
Momb as a
Cidade de Nacala
B O T S WAN A
Cape T own
(highest point in Africa, 5895 m)
ZIMB AB WE
MAL AWI Kitw e
ZAMBIA Lus ak a
(S t. Helena)
Prov. Admin. Line
ANGOL A Lubango
KENY A Nair obi
Addis Ab aba
Gulf of Djibouti Aden DJIB OUTI
(lowest point in Africa, -155 m)
Lib reville G AB ON
(S t. Helena)
YEMEN San aa
ERITREA Asmar a Lac'Assal
Ogbomoso ue Ibadan Ben Lagos PortoC AMER OON Novo Douala M al abo
EQU ATORIAL GUINEA
N'Dj amen a
Gulf of Guinea Equator
Abu Dhabi U.A .E
Port Red Sudan Sea
GHAN A Vo lta TOGO
Lomé Yamoussoukr o Accr a Abidjan
Oua gadougou BENIN
C Ô TE D'IV OIRE
Monr ovi a
Freetown SIERRA LEONE
- az Shir K uw ait
Persian M an am a Gulf
Dak ar SENEG AL Banjul Bam ak o THE G AMBIA Biss au GUINEA -BISS AU GUINEA Con akry
Pr ai a
C APE VERDE
Al Ja wf
Tropic of Cancer
Esf ¸ ahan
- ah Al Jiz
Wes ter n Sahara
Las P almas
Aleppo S YRIA Dam ascus
Nicosi a LEB. CYPR US Beirut
MOR OCC O
TURKMENIS TAN Ashgabat
Strait of Gibraltar
Ank ar a . Izmir
GEO . T'bilisi ARM. Yerevan
(POR TUG AL)
Sk opje R ome Tir an a F.Y.R.O .M. Naples ALB. Sardinia GREECE
SPAIN Algier s
IT ALY Sar aje vo
POR TUG AL Lisbon
Sea of Azov
UKRAINE CZ. REP . SL OV. Br atisl ava Vienn a MOL. Chisn ¸ au Bud apest AUS. Bern HUN G. SL O. ROM. Odesa Ljublj an a Belgr ade Buchar est Za greb CR O. Milan
way of life, kinship and legal system, and ritual, usually involving music and dance.
GERMANY LUX. Pr a gue
(POR TUG AL)
BEL AR US
W ar saw
20 Amster dam
North Atlantic 40
802793AI (R02109) 4-01
HHHHHHH Kilwa, the latter two visited by Chinese fleets from the Ming dynasty around 1420 C.E. (Zhang PI 2002); and to the south Bantu and Zimbabwe. After 1000 C.E., trade routes expanded between West Asia (also referred to as the Middle East) and West Africa (Wright 1984). As members of pre-industrial societies, African peoples mostly engaged in hunting, gathering, farming, herding, and trade, living close to the earth’s natural environment for survival.
THE COLONIAL HOLOCAUST
uropean colonists seeking trade routes to Asia and resources in the competition for supremacy came to the west coast of Africa by the 1440s, the Portuguese to the area currently known as Ghana by 1471, establishing forts such as Sao Jorge Del Mina near present day Cape Coast by 1482. Other European nation-states joined, including among others Spain, Germany, Italy, England, France, and Belgium. Their collective thirst for riches, resources, and free labor, belief in a superior ‘manifest destiny,’ and the technological advantages of domesticated horses, gunpowder, armor, and large sailing
vessels allowed them to plunder many parts of the continent, its peoples, their resources, and ways of life since the 15th century. One example is the 1498 destruction of Gedi and Kilwa with artillery by the Portuguese colonial Vasco da Gama. During this nearly 400-year time span, Europeans have penetrated African lands, arranging with African and Afro-European mediators when necessary
or profitable the control of trade, land, natural resources, and human slave labor. The E√e are among those ethnic groups that have been subjected to colonial control and slavery. By conservative estimates, over 25 million captive African people were abducted from their homelands and brought to the western hemisphere between the 29
HHHHHHH 1520s and 1880s. The captives were garrisoned at dungeons like Sao Jorge Del Mina and transported in huge sailing vessels named tombero (’coffins’) by their Portuguese captors. I visited Fort Prinzenstein at Keta in E√eland and saw the horrors. Small cells for 10-20 people held 100 captives, chained in dark impossible spaces for weeks or months. This so-called middle passage involved separation from home and loved ones, being crammed into unlivable conditions in the hold of the ship, often fettered and unable to stand or walk for long periods, and forced activities such as ‘airing’ on deck at the blade of a cutlass. Many committed suicide by jumping overboard, and countless others died enroute from illness, malnutrition, or violence from captors.
Those that survived the trip were fed, bathed, shaved, given clothes, made to look healthy, and sometimes forced at the crack of a whip to dance at the auction block in order to procure a good price. Captives were then often led away in chained groups known as coffles, again being forced to sing at the point of a gun as they jogged long distances to their new confinement on a plantation. In 1884 German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck convened the Berlin Conference at which the European powers agreed on the divisions of the African continent into nation-states for possession and control. These national boundaries, which did not reflect the boundaries of the ethnic groups living there, are the foundation for the contemporary national boundaries on the continent. Following major wars, such as World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945), the triumphant Allied powers redrew the continent’s possessions in their national interests with the African peoples as silent pawns in the territorial chess match for global control. 30
This history of European colonial oppression against indigenous peoples in Africa since the 1400s parallels similar European activities in West Asia, Asia, and the North and South American continents of the Western hemisphere over the same centuries, including possession, control, artificial political states and boundaries, economic dependence, and genocide. The results of this worldwide holocaust are seen in the survival of imposed national boundaries and the continued neocolonial exploitation of land, labor, and natural and human resources that include intellectual properties such as cultural expression through the arts. European and ‘first world’ influence and control went and continue to go against indigenous cultural, social, economic, and spiritual beliefs. It has had as its goal the destruction of colonized people’s ways of life as a means to domination. Despite all these efforts, African and other peoples of the world have transcended their captivity, fighting against economic dependence and cultural imperialism in struggles for independence that crystallized during the 20th century. Mahatma Ghandi stood against British control of India and was at the forefront of the successful movement for that country’s independence, won in 1947. Ghandi employed the strategy of active nonviolence, an approach adopted by the Kwame Nkrumah
HHHHHHH Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in the African American struggle for equal rights in the United States that reached its height in the 1950s and 1960s. Libya was the first continental African country to achieve independence in 1951, while the first subSaharan African nation to do so was the British colony known as the Gold Coast, successfully winning its independence on March 6, 1957 through the visionary leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, who became its president in 1960. It took its new name of Ghana from an earlier kingdom to the northwest that flourished from around 300 C.E. Nkrumah was influenced by the visionary pan-Africanist scholar and activist from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, William Edward Burghardt DuBois (Gross PI 1977). W.E.B. DuBois
n their historical and continuing travels throughout the world, African peoples have created music that expresses an African life sense adapted to the cultural, philosophical, religious, geographic, climatic, political, social, and economic environments they have encountered (Roach PI 1972, Workman PI 1972, Shepp PI 1974, Barron PI 1985, Lowe PI 1990). On their journeys, the people have shared a way of life and artistic expression that has often mixed with local styles, creating new forms and revolutionizing world arts and music. In addition to the direct influences of contemporary traveling traditional African dance and drum ensembles from many parts of the continent, African diasporic music
has included Brazilian candomble, Cuban santeria, Haitian vodun, Georgia Sea Islands clapping plays, ring shouts, southern United States fife and drum groups, spirituals, work songs, field hollers, the blues, ragtime, New Orleans hot music, jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, reggae, and hip-hop. The music of Africa has also contributed varying degrees of influence in popular musics across the globe, as well as European concert traditions. One example of adaptation is found in the southern United States. Over the centuries of the slave holocaust, captives from the same ethnic group were separated before, during, and after oceanic transit so that they could not communicate with each other, and one aspect of this strategy included the abolition of culture and its artistic expression, such as music and dance, hence drums, bells, and rattles, especially in North America. While there were more opportunities for Africans to use instruments and traditional practices in the Caribbean and South America, in North America African peoples responded to a ban on instruments by keeping a shared expression alive through dancing, singing, and using their bodies as instruments - foot stomps, hand clapping, and patting the torso and legs - as well as other materials available in the environment. Examples of this practice include the clapping plays of the Georgia Sea Islands, one style known as pattin’ juba. Pattin’ juba was performed by captives who were forced to dance, sing, eat and drink spoiled food, mush, (‘giblets’ or ‘gibbers,’ molded into the name ‘juba’), and liquids from an animal trough as an entertainment for the plantation owners. One song they sang was juba, which uses coded words to subtly insult their captors (incredibly without their knowing it), and give the captives an emotional and psychological transcendence over their oppression. An excerpt states Juba this and juba that, juba killed a yellow cat; get over double trouble, juba. You sifta’ the meal, you give me the husk, you cooka’ the bread and give me the crust, you frya’ the meat and give me the skin, and that is where my trouble begin, you just juba, you just juba. Juba swing, undo the latch, Juba do the long dog scratch, get over double trouble, juba. (Bessie Jones 1972) 31
HHHHHHH This heritage of coded resistance can be traced from the √ugbe (lit. √u, ‘drum’ and gbe, ‘speak’; ‘drum language’) of the E√e people of West Africa (see the section on Gadzo √ugbe), through the clapping plays, songs, biblical references, and oral literature of African Americans since the 17th century, to 20th and 21st century resistance songs and poetry, including the literatures of protest, civil rights, jazz, and hip-hop ((Donkor PI 1984, Kpeglo Ladzekpo PI 2002, Boyer PI 1978, Shepp PI 1974, Ho PI 1991).
forms an essential part of the repertoire of African American traditions (Wiggins PI 1979, Lowe PI 1984, Butts-Watson 2004, PI 1996). In most cases involving locally adapted African styles, an underlying African aesthetic is apparent (Austerlitz PI 1992), visible for instance in the
Other African-based expression in North America since the 17th and 18th centuries included the spiritual, a singular cry to a spirit world, ancestors, oneself, or the creator (Boyer PI 1995) and sorrow songs, precursors of the blues. In some sorrow songs a three-line statement first expressed a feeling or situation, was restated with alteration or emphasis, and finally resolved, giving a psychological release for the singer and listener (Southern 1971, 191-2). I know moonlight, I know starlight, I’m walkin’ troo de starlight; Lay dis body down. (Southern op. cit., 189)
One branch of this vocal style developed into the country blues, with the feeling of human trouble and transcendence the main element. Another stream of blues performance from the African American urban experience following World War I includes three lines of call and response, often four measures each, supported with harmonic progressions around the I, IV, and V chords of a tonal center. The blues feeling and form are found as a major aspect of jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, and many popular styles, and
parallels among African and African American music cultures (Criner PI 1980). Across the many traditions on these three continents, music is ultimate spirit and emotion, being the central aspect of worship and connection with the creator and the spirit world. In Africa, and in adapted forms in the western hemisphere, it is played for court, state or political activities; important points in a person’s life cycle - birth, naming or presenting a child in public for the first time, puberty, marriage, old age, death, and remembrance after death; events in the calendric cycle, such as changing seasons, planting, tending, harvesting, and giving thanks for crops and other life sustaining produce; work or communal activity; honoring elders or other contributors to the community; festivals that honor a people’s history; and for fun, as a recreational and social platform (Donkor PI 1984, Adzenyah PI 1985, Godwin Agbeli PI 1994). Aspects of style that permeate African diasporic traditions include transcendence, creating a psychological
amehehe∂ego ceremony: kobla dogbe introducing his child in public 32
HHHHHHH space for spiritual communion with the creator, ancestors, others, and oneself; physicality and energy in performance as a means to transcendence; a percussive attitude toward music making; personal variation or improvisation, including vocal and instrumental inflection, that ‘tells who you are;’ rhythmic complexity involving multipart, -layered, and -perceptive realities of time and space through dance and music; a bond among instruments, movement, and language, whose tones, timbres, and rhythms are expressed in dance and music, including song and vocables; highly developed drumming and dance traditions specific to a given ethnic group and occasion; a communal experience in which there is no audience-performer separation, but a shared collective activity in which everyone can take part as their experience allows through clapping, singing, moving, or playing; expression as an oral and tactile sensory activity; and music and dance as a part of life and way of life (Adzenyah PI 1982, Donkor PI 1983, Wiggins PI 1980, Lowe PI 1989, Butts-Watson PI 1995, hartigan 1983, 1986 7-14).
THE DRUMS IN A NEW LAND
round the turn of the 20th century in the southern United States, drummers assembled the snare and bass drums from marching and concert bands into a stationary set up that one person could play, adding over time many sound sources that were used to accompany vaudeville, stage shows, movies, theater, and dances (Brown, PI 1980). These included castanets, cowbells, rasps, and symphonic instruments such as tympani, bells, chimes, and the xylophone. As a result of hearing immigrant Chinese festivals and urban parades, drummers also added instruments of Chinese origin that provided unique qualities of expression for dramatic effect, such as wood blocks (mu yu, ‘wooden fish’), chinese cymbals (nao bo and xiao cha, ‘small cymbal’) in addition to the more standard Turkish cymbals, gongs, (xiao luo, ‘small gong,’ and da luo, ‘large gong’), and tom-tom (xiao tang gu, ‘small court/hall drum;’ Weihua Zhang PI 1985, 2005, Xie Tan PI 2005). During the 20th and 21st centuries the drumset has spread throughout the world and been adapted to many styles of music, including African American jazz, African highlife, juju, and Afro-beat, Cuban salsa, Dominican merengue jazz, Indian film music, and many popular forms. Its constituent parts have also evolved, including the symphonic setup of Sonny Greer, using many of the instruments mentioned above in the Duke Ellington orchestra
from 1927 through the 1930s. ‘Big Sid’ Sidney Catlett was among the players who added mounted and floor toms while during the 1930s Jonathan Samuel ‘Papa Joe’ Jones raised the original ‘low boys’ or ‘sock cymbals’ from foot to snare drum height, known as ‘high hats,’ for playing with sticks as well as the foot (Jonathan Samuel ‘Papa Joe’ Jones PI 1980). Many swing and bebop players like Kenny Clarke began to use larger ride cymbals for a legato metallic timekeeping sound since the late 1930s and early 1940s. This new sound was an alternative to the previous affinity for pulse expression with wood and drum sounds (Roach PI 1974, hartigan 1986, appendix). Other variants of the basic setup that is used in this book, single floor and mounted (also called low and high) toms, bass and snare drums, high hat, and ride and crash cymbals, have been related to stylistic preferences. Examples include the expansion to two bass drums, numerous toms, and multiple ride, crash, and splash cymbals for high-powered funk, rock, and fusion playing and electronic drums or drum pad technology to create a wide palette of effects and sounds available through sampling and manipulation. Kofi Ghanaba, the pioneer African Jazz drumset player from Ghana (known as Guy Warren in the 1950s and 1960s) developed his own African drumset
by first adding a conga and then a traditional hand drum in place of a floor tom with his African Sounds ensemble in New York in the 1950s. He subsequently recast the entire setup by employing traditional drums of the Akan people of Ghana, including 33
HHHHHHH two large fontomfrom drums set on the ground as bass drums with foot pedals, two or more atumpan as toms on stands to his left and right, and an apentemma hand drum directly in front. He plays the atumpan and apentemma with v-angled wooden sticks traditionally used for master drums such as atumpan. Edward Blackwell played an hourglass-shaped, double-headed, string-tension drum known as dondo among the E√e with a traditional curved wooden stick over bass drum and high hat, and also played his kit with an E√e double-bell called gaNkogui attached to his bass drum. Both Kofi Ghanaba and Edward Blackwell have completed a circle of tradition and influence instrumentally and stylistically. They have consciously connected the drumset back to its origin and home, playing an ensemble of drums and cymbals whose parts, sounds, and function parallel those of the traditional ensemble of drums, bells, and rattles of West Africa: multiple instrumental voices coming together to create a unified sound that reflects language and vocalized rhythms, interacts with a soloist or song/dance leader, mirror dance movements, and express dramatic action in the quest for spiritual connection. This musical influence is paralleled in dance with the development of an African American style of percussive dance known as tap dancing. African captives and their descendants brought a traditional sense of movement to the sounds of Irish wooden clogs and shoes with metal taps, creating the dynamic art form of tap dance, with the complex physical rhythms and movements of African dance drumming. Master artists such as Bill Robinson, John Bubbles Sublett, Peg Leg Bates, the Nicholas Brothers, and the Hines Brothers spread this unique art of sound and movement throughout the world.
7). The journey stretched westward across the areas currently known as Nigeria, Benin (formerly known as Dahomey), and Togo, into Ghana. Most oral accounts speak of three places: Oyo in contemporary western Nigeria, Ketu in Benin, and Notsie in Togo (Ladzekpo ibid.). Their primary residence currently stretches from the Volta River in southeastern Ghana eastward across the southern areas of Togo and Benin. According to oral histories, the E√e arrived in Notsie during the reign of king Agokoli I, who was benevolent toward them. Following Agokoli I’s death his son, Agokoli II, assumed the throne and imposed many cruel conditions on the E√e, including the extermination of all elders and demanding the performance of impossible tasks. Despite the genocide, an elder named Tegli was saved and hidden in various places such as baskets and underground chambers. One unattainable task was that the E√e make a rope of clay. When the people consulted Tegli, he advised them to ask their captors to show an example of a clay rope, alerting Agokoli II that an elder had survived (Kpeglo Ladzekpo PI 2002, 2005). Gbe hiawo do lo ho gbe hiawo do gbe hia dzafia do gbe menya gbe vO xoxo nu wogbea kayeyewo ∂o gbe hiawo do gbe menya gbe vO free translation: The chief’s/elder’s advice to produce an example of the clay rope is good.
THE E√E PEOPLE OF WEST AFRICA ORIGINS
he E√e people have a long and unique history. According to some scholars, they have traveled to their present location on the southern coast of West Africa from as far away as Sudan (Ladzekpo 1980, 216). Some E√e elders have located their origin at an area referred to as Belebele in West Asia (Locke 1978,
Anyako Ye e drummers
HHHHHHH This song is part of Hogbetsotso Za, a commemoration of the E√e escape from Notsie that includes the dance drumming known as Misagodzi (literally ‘tighten your belt,’ signifying ‘be prepared’ for escape). One atsime√u lead drum rhythm for Misagodzi, ‘de . de . ga . ga . ‘ represents miato mizo, ‘get ready to go, ’ while another, ‘de . ki . de . ga . ‘ answers ˙O me pe mio, ‘Our feet will not be heavy’ (Kpeglo Ladzekpo PI 2002). The elder Tegli created a plan for escape from Notsie, a walled city. He asked women to cast water from cooking and cleaning against a spot on the wall to wear down its thickness. When the time was right, the E√e commenced drumming one evening to keep their captors away. After
The keta lagoon
for them the next day. The basic dance style of Misagodzi is a backward movement reflecting the successful escape strategy (Kpeglo Ladzekpo PI 2005). ;see photo on left. Following their escape from Notsie, the E√e broke into groups that eventually settled the different regions of E√eland, to the north, west, and south, this latter including the areas of Tsevie, Aflao, and the Keta lagoon. One group ventured to the shoreline between the lagoon and the Atlantic ocean. On arrival at the current site of Anloga, their leader, Wenya, stated that he was fatigued and cramped and that the E√e should settle at that location. Its name, Anloga, is derived from the E√e term for ‘cramped’ or ‘coiled,’ and this town is the capital of the southern E√e region known as ANlO (Kpeglo Ladzekpo PI 2005, Ladzekpo 1980, 217, Locke 1978, 11).
seshie adonu ladzekpo and olu nudzor gbeti
Agokoli’s people slept, Tegli invoked the spirits and slashed an opening in the wall with a sword through which the E√e secretly escaped as the drummers continued playing. The musicians finally left, and did as Tegli had advised the others, walking backwards for a considerable distance. This would leave footprints appearing to approach the city, successfully outwitting their captors who searched
y the mid-1600s a major group of the E√e had settled and controlled the area around the Keta lagoon (Amenumey, Locke 1978, 13). Much of the next 250 years was filled with struggles, campaigns, alliances, and wars for political and economic reasons: to defend the homeland against aggressors, but also for control of fishing sites and agricultural lands for economic survival and independence, trade conflicts with European colonials, and other factors (Amenumey, Chapman 1950, 88, in Locke 1978, 18). Some conflicts involved other peoples of E√e origin, such as the inland peoples to the north of the Keta lagoon, while others were fought against ethnic groups to the west of the Volta river, an important area for agriculture, fishing, 35
HHHHHHH trade, and travel (Amenumey, Greene, 1996, 20, 3233, 56-59, 82-86). The Europeans primarily came to E√eland in ships from the Gulf of Guinea to the south. Their quest was for control of land, resources, slaves, and trade in the competition among the emerging nation states of Europe for global supremacy. These rivalries sometimes involved military conflict among the Europeans and were based on competing claims for exclusive control of trade in the coastal areas and access to inland resources. As a result of an economic embargo to the west, colonials from the Netherlands, Denmark, England, and France established a presence in E√eland in the early 1700s. France colonized Dahomey to the east (now known as Benin) and, following the Berlin Conference in 1884, Germany occupied the area east of the Keta lagoon in present-day Togo. Portuguese and Brazilian traders also were part of the influx of outsiders (Greene, 1996, 3637, 138-141).
struggle. One language-based drum rhythm in the E√e Gadzo warrior and recreational dance drumming is played with lead drum strokes ‘ga de ga . ga . ’ and represents Ga de ga ˙o It is six o’clock again!
referring to E√e outrage and resistance to the colonial curfew imposed by the British in the 1950s, and the resolve to confront its injustice in one’s homeland (Kpeglo Ladzekpo PI 2002, 2005). During my 2002 visit to Anyako village I performed this rhythm with the Lashibi drum and dance ensemble (see Gadzo √ugbe section). While there are presently no ethnic or colonial wars in E√eland the memory of past historical events and their implications for present political conditions are still alive (Donkor PI 1984, Godwin Agbeli PI 1995).
The E√e fought against Danish forces and their allies in the 1784 Sagbadre War and this was followed by other conflicts during the first half of the 19th century. After the Danes relinquished their holdings to the British in 1850, a series of conflicts between the E√e and the British commenced in the 1860s. With allies on both sides, the British invaded E√eland in 1874 and established colonial control by 1890 (Greene 1996, 82-83, 160-161, Locke 1978, 21). England thereafter attempted to consolidate its hold on the Gold Coast. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, France, from its Dahomean colony to the east, and England, from its Gold Coast colony to the west, defeated the Germans in Togoland, dividing its territory from 1919 until 1957, when Ghana achieved independence. Since the E√e mainly reside in an area that spans present-day Ghana, Togo, and Benin (Dahomey) the political boundaries do not reflect the geocultural reality. The struggle for independence from the British was marked by protests from the diverse ethnic groups that comprise the population of present-day Ghana. The E√e were a part of this
he E√e people live in an area that ranges from the Volta river in Ghana eastward across Togo and Benin, and from the ocean coastline at the Gulf of Guinea inland some 70-80 miles, an area of more than 10,000 square miles. The landscape encompasses a coastal zone of beaches and sandy tree terrain, a section of rivers, streams, and lagoons, a central plain, and interior hills and valleys. Common kinds of vegetation include coconuts along the coast, mangrove and coarse grasses near the lagoons, small woodlands and bushes bordering
HHHHHHH waterways, grasslands with scattered trees at the central plain, and thick forests in the inland hills and valleys (Mensah PI 2005, Nyamuame PI 2005, Locke 1978, 1-2). There are two main seasons, rainy and dry. An approximate sequence has heavy rains dominating in May and June, a time when crops are planted, followed by a transitional period from July to
increases with higher humidity from February to May and the land is prepared for planting (Chapman 1950, 81, in Locke 1978, 2). Farming is a principle occupation of the Eâˆše, and produce includes peanuts, corn, cassava, plantain, yams, okra, onions, coconuts, banana, and peppers, among other crops. Until the mid-1800s most farming was for subsistence, but following the abolition of slavery and increase of European influence, agriculture and trade expanded to include sugar cane, palm oil, beeswax, cotton, rubber, and cocoa for export to other parts of West Africa and Europe (Mensah PI 2005, Nyamuame PI 2005, Greene 1996, 102, 163-164, 167). The raising of goats, pigs, and fowl is
September in which plants are tended and some crops are harvested. In late September and October a second less intense rainy season occurs, and a second planting of crops takes place. November
common among the Eâˆše, as is the weaving of cloths, including the distinctive Eâˆše kente. Salt production is a central part of the coastal economy near the Keta lagoon. Fishing, another main occupation, was primarily centered in the lagoon and waterway areas until the late 19th century, but over the next hundred years shifted to the ocean waters and the use of large nets known as agli and yevudo (Greene 1996, 165-166).
to January brings hot and dry weather with dusty winds from the Sahara desert to the north; crops are harvested and old vegetation is burned. Heat
Women and men have traditionally worked together to produce food for survival and trade. Until the mid-19th century men were primarily responsible for clearing land, while both sexes planted, tended, and harvested crops. Women often marketed the surplus. In a similar way, men caught the fish that were commonly dried, smoked, salted, and sold as surplus by women (Greene 1996, 159-160). 37
HHHHHHH POLITICAL, SOCIAL, AND Spiritual DIMENSIONS
he E√e have a traditional political structure that reflects territorial settlement. The paramount chief, known in southern E√eland as awoamefia, is the overall leader. At the next plane of authority are territorial chiefs, followed by the town chiefs. Within each town or village there are leaders of districts or wards, lineages, and families (Amenumey, Locke 1978, 25-27).
The E√e are in constant contact with the earth, tilling the land, weaving, and fishing the waters of their surrounding environment. In the struggle for survival, the people live in extended families that include grandparents, parents, children, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This fabric creates a social network that provides each individual with a sense of worth, belonging, and assistance in times of difficulty. The family dynamic is seen on a larger level in the village, where individuality is emphasized, but always in relation to, and not at the expense of, the benefit of the community. There is a universal sensitivity and responsibility for the group welfare through direct and positive connections with other individuals. Elders are revered and part of important decisions. When it becomes necessary, they are taken care of by the family with dignity (Donkor PI 1983, Mensah PI 1999). The people value and promote connections with each other, the natural environment, ancestors, a spirit world, including the creator Mawu, and through all
these, oneself. The world is seen as a constantly changing constellation of matter and spirit, existence and potential, circumstances, actions, thoughts, and feelings, whose manifestations affect people. Each person has a purpose on their path of existence, and needs to live in the deepest moral way to realize this mission, creating a harmony within the universe (Donkor PI 1986, Mensah PI 2003, Kpeglo Ladzekpo PI 2005, Nyamuame PI 2005). This reality is so powerful that I, as a non-African, am accepted and made to feel part of it. Despite the historical African legacy of genocide, neglect, and degradation at the hands of the first world governments, armies, and corporations, the people I have lived with in Ghana transcend these obstacles through their individual and collective embrace of existence. Perhaps because there are few material and negative distractions, the people come together in the struggle for survival and live, work, and play together communally as one. Even for an outsider not of African descent, there is an openness felt through body language, actions, and the eyes that connects a person’s spirit to the people. A connection that reminds one of the unconditional love of a mother or father, a love divine. One evening at Anyako village in May 2005 Patience, a six-year old girl with a painfully thin and ravaged body, was, despite these afflictions, hopping and skipping about under a full moonlit sky, playing with other children, my nine students, and myself. After some games and group laughter we greeted, she looked into my eyes, and took my hand. Her gaze and words humbled
HHHHHHH me and reminded me of the vast differences in our lives, but of our common connection. She and her playmates taught my students and I, as we learn on each visit to Africa, what it means to be human in the highest sense. The dance dramas of the E√e express Ghanaian handshake
dance, song, through metal bells, gourd rattles, and wooden and skin drums, to the senses and emotions of others - are the energy that underlies and shapes all being-in-the-world. The spiritual discipline developed through harmonizing the multiple layers of space, movement, time, rhythm, tone, and accent in performance gives the practitioner the ability and strategy to meet and transcend the conflicting planes and obstacles of life’s challenges (Donkor PI 1983, Adzenyah PI 1984, Mensah PI 2000). In this book you will be introduced to the drum, bell, and rattle rhythms of West African E√e ensembles and their adaptations to the drumset. Use these rhythms as a beginning point, a door to hearing, feeling, and playing this music which is at once ancient, present, and in the
this way of being through oral literature, songs, dance movements, and instrumental sounds, including gourd rattles, iron bells, and wooden drums with membrane heads. Each person can join music activities according to their abilities, no one is excluded, and all are part of the celebration. Performance is guided by a master composer, known as hesinO, and led by a master drummer referred to as azagunO, with the assistance of a lead dancer and singer (Donkor PI 1983, Mensah PI 2000, Kpeglo Ladzekpo PI 2002). The master drummer, a custodian of a people’s wisdom through knowledge of genealogies, history, proverbs, and musical repertoire, directs the dramatic action, calling the rhythms of supporting drums and dance movements, and quoting proverbs from the tonal language through the many tones of the lead drum. Other participants in the dance drama include haxiawo and hatsolawo, female and male supporting song leaders, the supporting drummers, bell and rattle players, dancers, and other community members who take part through handclapping and joining the singing and dance (Donkor PI 1982). Drumming and dance styles are expressions of a people’s heritage, embodied in events of the life cycle, seasons, work, ancestor remembrance, connections with the creator, and for recreation, to have fun and enjoy life. The rhythms of the villages - from people’s hearts,
HAXIAWO future. Remember that the drama of West African drumming, song, and dance is a way of life, a gateway to a deeper consciousness and existence. Because it is an oral tradition, it is best learned in the traditonal way, by living in the culture and studying with master drummers and dancers over a period of time. Only when the music is experienced in its cultural context can one begin to approach its deeper structures. The movements, dress, sayings, drums, songs, and cries that make up West African music are filled with a life force and wisdom centuries old. Play these rhythms from your heart and they will become a part of your life, and tell the world who you are for all to see.
HHHHHHH Lillian Gaulden, 1971-2005, Pittsfield, MA. Max Roach, 1972-74, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Reggie Workman, 1972-74, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Archie Shepp, 1972-74, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Horace Clarence Boyer, 1972-74, 1978-81, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Frederick Tillis, 1972-74, 1978-81, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Emmanuel kwasi Yevutsey teaching This is the gift I have been given by the E√e people of West Africa. I created this book and DVD to share their gift with you, because as a woman told me as I sweated playing a kidi drum one day near Kopeyia village, ‘We are one; may our spirts live forever.’
Roland Wiggins, 1972-74, 1978-81, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Cecelia Gross, 1977-81, Richmond, MA. Clyde Criner, 1978-81, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. T. Dennis Brown, 1978-81, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Jonathan Samuel ‘Papa Joe’ Jones,’ 1980, State University of New York at Purchase, NY.
SOURCES CONSULTED PERSONAL INTERVIEWS (PI)/CONTACTS
Ray Hart, 1950-64, North Adams, Great Barrington, Adams, and Pittsfield, MA. James Hartigan, 1950-77, Pittsfield, MA
Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, 1981-89, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. William Barron, 1981-89, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. William Lowe, 1981-90, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. Edward Blackwell, 1981-92, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, 1981-93, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT; March 1997, San Jose, CA; 2000-05, UMASS Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, MA, and Wesleyan University, CT.
Hazel Clark Gay Hartigan, 1950-99, Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Hancock, Adams, North Adams, MA; San Jose and Los Gatos, CA.
Kwabena Boateng, 1984-93, Middletown, CT, and 1999-2005, North Dartmouth, MA.
Leonard McBrowne, July-August 1966 and 1967, Avaloch performance space, Lenox, MA.
Paul Austerlitz, 1985-93, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and 2001-05, Brown University, Providence, R.I.
HHHHHHH Weihua Zhang, 1985, 1995-2005, San Jose, CA. Fred Ho, 1986-2005, New York, NY. Hafez Modirzadeh, 1988-90, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and 1993-2005 San Jose, CA. Godwin Kwasi Agbeli, March 1991, July 1994, July 1995, July 1996, August 1997, Kopeyia village, Ghana. Baomi Butts-Watson, 1994-2005, San Jose and Hayward, CA. Agbeko Sodzedo, July-August 1994, July 1995, June-July 1996, August 1997, Kopeyia village, Ghana. Emmanuel Kwaku Agbeli, July 1995, July 1996, August 1997, September 2005 via internet, Kopeyia village, Ghana. Godwin Kwasi C.K. Ladzekpo, Agbeli Oakland, CA, 199599; January and July 2000-04.
Kobena, elikem, abena, and royal Xie Tan, September 2005, San Jose, CA. Samuel Elikem Nyamuame, 2005, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.
Richard Harper, 1996-2002, New York, NY. Kofi Ghanaba (also known as Guy Warren), July 1996 and 1997, Midie village, Ghana; June 2002, National Theater, Accra, Ghana. Mary Agama, July 1996, Arts Center, Accra, Ghana.
“Atumpan: Talking Drums of the Akan,” 1971. Mantle Hood, UCLA. “Before the Europeans,” 1984. #15 from The World, based on Times Atlas of World History, Network Television/Goldcrest Television, Bricom Films, David Wright, director, Nicholas Barton, executive producer. BOOKS
Kpeglo Kofi Ladzekpo and the Lashibi drummers
Herbert Aptheker, 1997-2002, San Jose, CA. Helen Abena Mensah, 1997-2005, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. Kpeglo Kofi Ladzekpo, June 2002 and June 2005, Anyako village, Ghana. Frank Kofie Agbeli, 2005, via telephone and internet communication, Kopeyia village, Ghana.
HHHHHHH Jones, Leroi (Imamu Amiri Baraka). 1963. Blues People. William Morrow and Co., New York. Nketia, J. H. Kwabena. 1974. The Music of Africa. W.W. Norton Co., New York. Oliver, Paul. 1970. Savannah Syncopators. Stein and Day, New York. Roberts, John Storm. 1972. Black Music of Two Worlds. Praeger Publishers, New York. Rosenthal, Judy. 1998. Possession, Ecstasy and Law in E√e Voodoo. The University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Sidran, Ben. 1981. Black Talk. Da Capo Press, NY.
Southern, Eileen. 1971. The Music of Black Americans. W.W. Norton Co., New York.
Bebey, Francis. 1969. African Music: A People’s Art. 1975 (English), Lawrence Hill and Co. New York. Chapman, D.A. 1950. The Human Geography of E√eland. Librarie d’Amerique et Orient. Diamond, Jared. 1999. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fate of Human Societies. W.W. Norton Co., New York. Greene, Sandra E. 1996. Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Change on the Slave Coast, A History of the Anlo-E√e. Heinemann Publishers, Hanover, N.H. hartigan, royal, Abraham Adzenyah, and Freeman Donkor. 1995. West African Rhythms for Drumset. With compact disc. Manhattan Music/Warner Brothers, Miami, FL/Alfred Publishers, Los Angeles CA. Herskovits, Melville. 1941. The Myth of the Negro Past. Harper Publishers, New York. Ho, Fred, and Ron Sakolsky, editors. 1995. Sounding Off! Music as Subversion/Resistance/Revolution. Autonomedia Press, New York. Jones, Rev. A.M. 1959. Studies in African Music, vols. 1 and 2. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England. Jones, Bessie and Bess Lomax Hawes. 1972. Step it Down: Games, Plays, Songs and Stories from the AfroAmerican Heritage. With audio cassette. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 42
Helen Abena Mensah
Ladzekpo, Alfred Kwashie, and Kobla Ladzekpo. 1980. “Anlo-E√e Music in Anyako, Volta Region, Ghana.” In Musics of Many Cultures, Elizabeth May, Editor. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA. INTERNET vocalist, Actress, teacher & Scholar
Dr. Baomi Butts-Watson
www.atidekate.com. Professor D. E. K. Amenumey. History of the Ewe. Department of History - University of Cape Coast - Ghana.
THESES AND DISSERTATIONS
Adzenyah, Abraham Kobena. 1978. “The Acquisition of Musical Knowledge by Traditional Musicians of the Akan Society.” M.A. thesis, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. Butts-Watson, Baomi. 2004. “Kickin Up Dust: Black Women in Gospel Music.” Ph.D. dissertation, Union Institute and University Cincinnati, OH. Harper, Richard S. 2001. “Worksong: The Life and Labor of African Americans During the Period 1865-1925.” Ph.D. dissertation, Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, OH.
ABRAHAM KOBENA ADZENYAH
hartigan, royal james. 1983. “The Drum: From Time to No Time.” M.A. thesis, with audio cassettes, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. UMI Abstracts, Ann Arbor, MI. ________. 1986. “Blood Drum Spirit: Drum Languages of West Africa, African America, Native America, Central Java, and South India.” Ph.D. dissertation, with 30 audio cassettes, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. UMI Abstracts, Ann Arbor, MI. Locke, David. 1978. “The Music of Atsiagbekor.” Ph.D. dissertation, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.
ANI BERE A, ENNSO GYA, ANKA M’ANI ABERE KOO SERIOUSNESS DOES NOT SHOW FIERY EYES, ELSE YOU WOULD SEE MY FACE ALL RED
Zhang, Weihua A. 1994. “The Musical Activities of the Chinese American Communities in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Social and Cultural Study.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, CA. 43
binnkabi do not harm one another
the Tarso Anyako DzigbOdi BObObO ensemble
kpese (pronounced ak-peh-SAY) is a recreational dance drama of E√e peoples in the northern Volta region of Ghana and adjacent Togo. It is played when people come together to meet and have fun, touching and celebrating, somewhat like a religious or athletic rally. This drama is expressed in a free, explosive musical style, highly improvised drumming, and risk-taking to create excitement, like the open, unfettered transcendence of African American jazz. Much of its music derives from song texts, which are separated in performance by interludes of intense drumming and movement, the dancers twirling white cloths while the lead drum rolls and speaks in a strong voice. Sometimes a bugle or trumpet and whistle join the drama, as I experienced while playing traditional drums and drumset with Akpese ensembles in Ho, the capital city of the Volta region, and Anyako village at the Keta lagoon. The red hot explosions of the bugler, trumpeter, and woman and man playing police whistles brought me back to New Orleans, experiencing the intimate force of a street band and dancing onlookers, the second line. We traded phrases between bugle and drumset as the songs, dancing, and traditional drumming were exploding around us, and I felt a connection among West African drumming, New Orleans bands, and jazz like never before.
The Akpese ensemble is led by uga, a large singleheaded open drum played with the hands. Its rhythms can reflect E√e speech by means of √ugbe drum language, speaking low, middle, and high tones through various hand and finger strokes. It calls or reacts to songs, cues dance movements, and interacts with the other instruments in the dance drama. In some villages, such as Anyako, a second √uga is played, doubling or engaging in a dialogue with the lead √uga’s rhythms.
There are eight supporting drums, bells, and rattle in the Akpese dance drama. The timeline is expressed through three atoke iron boat-shaped bells held in an open palm and played with a thin metal rod. Atoke are pitched in high, medium, and low ranges. The high-pitched atoke states a seven-stroke pattern that can be heard as a duple form of the Gadzo 12/8 ganugbagba timeline (see Gadzo section). Mediumand low-pitched atoke play interlocking three-stroke phrases, each alternating sound creating tonal movement. At different times on the video the medium or low atoke rhythm was played on a frikyiwa metal castanet-type bell . The axatse gourd rattle states a repeating leg and hand three-stroke pattern reinforcing the atoke timeline.
HO, VOLTA REGION, EASTERN GHANA 46
The wooden doubleheaded hourglassshaped dondo drum is played with a curved wooden stick. Changing pressure on the strings that connect the heads creates a range of pitches that
JAZZ GROUP: EMMANUEL Kwaku AND YAO BRIGHT AGBELI, ROYAL HARTIGAN
can reflect speech tones. Its basic pattern of low and high sounds interacts with alternating pairs of mute and open strokes played on the asi√ui 1 single-headed wooden hand drum. While dondo can improvise, its conversation centers on the interplay with asi√ui and forms the essence of Akpese drumming. A second asi√ui voice, which we will call asi√ui 2, is employed in some villages, playing a six-stroke open tone pattern that complements and reinforces the high atoke timeline. Pattigame is a small double-headed metal shell drum played with a combined stick and hand technique. It rests on the player’s thigh, with the fingers of the holding hand pressing against or releasing one head, while the free hand strikes the other drumhead with a wooden stick. Finger pressure mutes the sound and creates the low and high pitches of stick strokes on the opposite head. The mutes are barely audible but felt as part of the rhythm. This drum has an active voice, stating a series of variations that enrich the texture of the dance drama. A few variations are shown here. The pattigame rhythm was played on a kidi drum in the video at Anyako. Experience Akpese dance drumming with the DzigbOdi BObObO group from Tarso Anyako village on the video and hear the interactions among dondo, asi√ui, pattigame, and √uga around the atoke and axatse heartbeat. Playing Axatse 47
AKPESE ENSEMBLE 1-15
E E PEOPLE
x = LH ﬁnger mutes 48
akpese ensemble 1 akpese ensemble 5
ALO dO lawo mi nyO!
boasting in this life is false. people blinded, it is time to wake up!
x = LH ﬁnger mutes
* * *
kuntinkantan do not boast humility and service
** = starting point
LLLLLLLLLLLL In Anyako village a gaNkogui was substituted for the low atoke voice and improvised around these patterns, as on Akpese DVD ensembles 3, 7, and 8:
DzigbOdi BObObO drummers
AKPESE DRUMSET STYLES CONVERSATIONS AMONG SUPPORTING INSTRUMENTS AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 1
he high- and medium-pitched atoke rhythms are an important part of the Akpese timeline. Play these rhythms on ride cymbal and high hat over a bass drum pulse with high and low dondo tones on high and low toms. For a lighter feel, try high hat foot strokes as open splashes. Throughout this section you can freely vary the dondo pattern among toms and snare, adding an extra stroke to fill space, as I have heard Eâˆše drummers do.
LEFT HAND VARIATION
LLLLLLLLLLLL You can also play cymbal rhythms on the side of your low tom or as high-pitched snare rim shots near the edge of the drumhead. Low tom side strokes suggest the ‘ka’ stick sound on the wooden shell of an E√e drum, while rim shots imply the tak sound of North African and Middle Eastern hand drumming.
FREEMAN KWADZO DONKOR AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 2
Freeman Kwadzo Donkor showed me how each voice in a West African ensemble can speak through the drumset. Change your left hand to suggest asi√ui 1 hand drum open strokes on toms and mutes as snare cross sticks.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 3
Now play the asi√ui 2 open tones on toms with some mutes as snare cross sticks.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 4
The active pattigame voice adds excitement to the Akpese ensemble. First try its low and high tones on low and high toms, and then on snare. In this section you can bring the pattigame phrase around snare and toms for tonal variety.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 5
Adapting the three-stroke medium atoke rhythm on cymbal bell leaves space in the groove. Join this with the dondo phrase on toms and a bass drum-high hat heartbeat implying axatse.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 6
Next play the pattigame pattern between toms, on snare, and around the drumset.
LLLLLLLLLLLL AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 7
Try the asi√ui 2 pattern in the same manner.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 8
You can create an uptempo jazz feel with the axatse phrase on cymbal combined with the medium atoke voice on high hat and a bass drum pulse. Begin with the dondo pattern on toms and around the set.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 9
Now imply asi√ui 1 mute and open strokes with cross sticks and tom tones.
CROSS STICK GAME AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 10
The pattigame rhythm can intensify this style as snare strokes, between low and high toms, or among all three drums.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 11
Answering a bass drum-high hat heartbeat with the offbeat asiâˆšui 1 pattern on cymbal produces a different motion. Add the dondo phrase on toms and then divide it around the kit.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 12
Now try the basic pattigame rhythm in the same way.
LLLLLLLLLLLL AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 13
You can also bring pattigame’s active voice to cymbal with high atoke divided between toms, medium atoke on high hat, and a bass drum pulse.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 14
Asi√ui 1 strokes as cross sticks and tom tones drive the time.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 15
Play asi√ui 2 among toms and snare in the same style.
LLLLLLLLLLLL PATTIGAME RHYTHMS AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 16
The variations of pattigame add drama to an Akpese performance, as I experienced playing with the ensembles in Ho and Anyako. The pattigame players improvised a constantly changing sequence of rhythms that pushed the drummers, dancers, and singers to the extreme. You can bring a similar feel to an ensemble with its phrases on different parts of the drumset. Try the basic pattigame pattern on snare (snares off) using the same technique as traditional Eâˆše drummers, your left thumb and heel of the palm as an anchor near the rim, second through fifth fingers muting the drumhead, and right hand stick voicing low and high tones. This hand-stick style also works on toms and cymbals. When the basic pattern feels comfortable, try the pattigame variations given earlier in the same manner. You can play the phrases with a hand-stick technique on snare or any parts of the kit, a two-stick style with left hand thumb and palm muting and varying pressure on the drumhead while it also plays pattigame finger mutes as cross sticks as your right hand states the phrases, freely divided around the snare and toms with two sticks, or as left hand stick strokes between toms with any of the cymbal patterns given in your right hand. Patterns H and I are often played as rhythmic cadences to mark off songs, dance movements, or changes in lead drum rhythms. As you play a sequence of pattigame or dondo rhythms, try either or both of these on toms to climax a group of phrases, just as bebop drummers punctuate comping or solo statements.
folivi, a kopeyia VILLAGE ELDER
x = LH ďŹ nger mutes 57
LLLLLLLLLLLL AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 17
One quick two-stroke variation the pattigame players used fell on each beat (pattern G). Bringing this motive to cymbal or high-pitched snare rim shots near the edge of the head explodes a groove, especially at a fast tempo. Play the high atoke timeline or suggest asi√ui 1 tones on snare and toms. This sound will push a soloist out to the edge.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 18
You can kick a soloist over the edge by bringing the two-stroke rhythm to bass drum under pattigame on cymbal, medium atoke on high hat, and high atoke or asi√ui 1 among toms and snare.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 19
Constant double asi√ui 1 tones on toms create a burning dialogue with bass drum.
LLLLLLLLLLLL BASS DRUM/HIGH HAT VARIATIONS AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 20
You can vary the bass drum as main beats in quarter notes, a half time feel leading to beats one and three, or the low atoke phrase.
AKPESE DRUMSET EXAMPLE 21
Double time high hat variations push the time with upbeat eighth notes or suggest the driving sound of axatse in constant eighths.
Half time high hat feels state each main beat, beats two and four, or the low atoke voice. Try these variations individually and in different combinations with the drumset approaches of examples 1-19. You can combine double and half time feels between bass drum and high hat, implying another layer of time in the groove.
LLLLLLLLLLLL IMPULSES AKPESE HIGHLIFE STYLES
s a result of musical contact with Europeans and Americans, such as concert and brass bands, blues and jazz recordings since the 1920s, and Caribbean, funk and popular idioms since the 1950s, a style of African expression has evolved that combines traditional and external musical elements. Traditional melodies, tunings, lyrics, playing styles, and rhythms are joined with western instruments, melodies, harmonies, song forms, and performance styles. One of these hybrid African musics is Highlife, which, since the 1950s, has grown into a music of national identity in Ghana and Nigeria.
played with the Aristide brass band at Denu, a town near Aflao in the Volta region of southeastern Ghana. This ensemble combines traditional drums such as sogo, kidi, and various hand drums, the axatse gourd rattle, and metal bells with western snare, tenor, and bass drums and cymbals, as well as trumpets, trombones, and baritone horn. They play traditional and western songs in harmonized arrangements with traditional drum ensemble rhythms distributed between the Ghanaian and western drums.
PEMPAMSIE SE, BEBREBE AHOODEN NE KOROYE UNITY IS STRENGTH
Ghanaian and other African highlife musicians incorporate traditional rhythms in their styles. The way African musicians play the drumset is of importance to our work, since this is one major path by which ancient rhythms meet the contemporary world. The highlife drumset grooves we will meet are the result of my work with African drummers, Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, Solomon Assan, Martin Kwaakye Obeng, Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, Gideon Midawo Alorwoyie, Kwabena Boateng, Maxwell Akomeah Amoh, Godwin Kwasi Agbeli, Emmanuel Kwaku Agbeli, and Agbeko Sodzedo. As a result of their advice I have added some elements to the grooves they gave me. The Highlife synthesis of traditional and western musical elements can be expressed in many forms. I have danced to small combos called guitar bands (some with horns), heard a big band style, sat at a village gathering place and clapped a bell pattern for a guitarist and vocalist, and 60
new Orleans jazzfest parade
Their intense rhythmic interplay and melodic phrasing bring the music alive like a New Orleans brass band, but also with the dynamics of an African drum ensemble. Traditional calls and responses between the variouslypitched drums and among the drums and horns go through each piece, and the bass, snare, and traditional drummers were improvising and grooving to make everyone shout, like a hot New Orleans street sound, beyond the edge. Playing traditional bell, rattle, and later, drumset, with the Aristide highlife ensemble gave me a feel of the connection and spirit among the African and African American traditions in West Africa and the Americas.
LLLLLLLLLLLL AKPESE HIGHLIFE EXAMPLE 1
The Aristide band played a piece based on Akpese drumming, and I have adapted their percussion section rhythms for drumset. The first style brings the dondo phrase, played on two hand drums in the band, to toms with your right hand and the medium atoke bell pattern to snare. You can also play the snare rhythm as cross sticks, cymbal bell, or as left hand open high hat stick strokes. Bass drum and high hat reflect the low atoke bell LH VARIATION rhythm played on bass drum and cymbals in the brass band. The snare drummer changed his rhythm to suggest the asi√ui 1 voice, and you can use this as a left hand variation to drive the time.
new Orleans brass band
AKPESE HIGHLIFE EXAMPLE 2
When the brass band played a second Akpese song melody, the drummers changed their rhythms, with the dondoasi√ui 1 dialogue voiced between snare and bass drums, and the medium and low atoke conversation stated by an atoke bell and cymbals. Try the atoke rhythms between stick and foot high hat strokes, and the dondo-asi√ui 1 interplay on snare/toms and bass drum. You can accent the open high hat stick strokes to put spice in the groove, or omit high hat foot strokes for more space. 61
YAO BRIGHT Agbeli PRACTICING FOR BRASS BAND in kopeyia, ghana
AKPESE HIGHLIFE EXAMPLE 3
The Aristide drummers played a percussion interlude that brought the Akpese pattigame phrase to snare drum and asiâˆšui 1 to hand drums. Medium atoke was given to cymbals and low atoke to bass drum. Pattigame speaks strongly as snare cross sticks or high-pitched rim shots with the tip of your stick near the edge of the drumhead. Play asiâˆšui 1 mute-open tones on high and low toms and medium and low atoke as a high hat-bass drum dialogue. In these highlife styles high hat can also play open foot splashes for a brass band sound. This active groove conveys the fire of the brass band drummers.
LLLLLLLLLLLL AKPESE REGGAE
AKPESE reggae EXAMPLE 1
You can create a reggae sound around Akpese rhythms with the high atoke timeline as snare shots or cross sticks and the asiâˆšui 1 pattern as high hat stick strokes over bass drum beats on two and four. This groove is effective at a slow tempo, especially under a soloist.
l-r: aklaye, dalike, adzovi, georgina, yawa (foreground bottom), ganto, and alugba performing kpegisu in kopeyia
LLLLLLLLLLLL funk feels
AKPESE funk EXAMPLEs 1 and 2
Akpese funk centers on a bass and snare drum heartbeat. Begin with the high atoke timeline between bass and snare, and the axatse pattern as cymbal bell or high hat stick strokes. If you play axatse on cymbal, add the medium atoke phrase as high hat foot strokes.
Now try the pattigame voice as a bass-snare foundation.
When these grooves sound strong, keep the high atoke or pattigame rhythms, but vary their conversation patterns among bass, snare, tom, and occasional cymbal bell or edge strokes to create a timbral motion.
LLLLLLLLLLLL AKPESE HIP HOP BEATS
AKPESE hip hop EXAMPLEs 1 and 2
Akpese bass-snare drum funk heartbeats assume a hip hop feel at a slow pace. Play the axatse rhythm on the bell of your high hat or cymbal answered by high hat foot strokes as upbeat sixteenth notes. First add the high atoke timeline between bass and snare drums, and later change to the pattigame rhythm. You can vary the voicing of each pattern around your kit for tonal variety.
Nsaa A kind of blanket one who knows the nsaa blanket is willing to buy it even though it is old
LLLLLLLLLLLL √UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE
√e music is characterized by
drum syllables which reflect the low, middle, and high tones of the indigenous E√e language, marked respectively as 1, 2, or 3 in the pronunciation syllables given after each saying in this book. Wisdom accumulated over generations can be passed on in histories, genealogies, proverbs, stories, metaphors, and sayings through the drum. The syllables form a drum language known as √ugbe, √u, ‘drum,’ and gbe, ‘language.’ One aspect of Akpese music is the use of √ugbe to reflect E√e speech. Although the full drum ensemble contributes to the sound of this drum language, we will focus on phrases spoken by the dondo string-tension hourglass drum and the √uga lead drum.
√UGA LEAD DRUM √UGBE STROKES AND THEIR SOUNDS da – strong hand bass ga – weak hand bass de/te – strong hand open (two consecutive des, the second called te) ge/gi – weak hand open tsa – strong hand muted slap tsi – strong hand mute ki – weak hand mute
√UGBE EXAMPLE 1
The first phrase is found in the basic sevenstroke dondo pattern of low low . high . high . . low . high . high . . . understood as ZO li nyui nyui zO va ∂o (pronounced dzaw1 lee2 NEWEE3 NEWEE3 dzaw1 vah2 doh2 : stressed syllables are given in capital letters, while relative E√e language tonal pitches are indicated among the pronunciation syllables as 1 for low, 2 for mid range, 3 for high; the pitches and meanings of words can change based on context). Its literal meaning is “Walk gracefully and enter” conveying the inner meaning “Pursue your life’s paths with honor.” In the Akpese ensemble the asi√ui 1 support hand drum answers this phrase with mute and open tone strokes. The dondoasi√ui conversation is the center of Akpese drumming.
drumset EXAMPLE 1
This saying is brought to drumset with low and high dondo tones as low and high tom sounds, answered by the asi√ui 1 voice on bass drum. Begin with the high atoke timeline on cymbal over high hat foot strokes in constant eighths suggesting axatse. You can also hear this conversation among snare, toms, and bass drum on the video for Akpese Highlife example 2.
drumset EXAMPLE 2
To leave more space try the medium atoke rhythm on cymbal and high hat foot strokes on each beat.
Anyako singers and dancers
√UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 3
Now play the axatse pattern on cymbal with high hat foot strokes on the ‘and’ of each beat for a fast-tempo jazz feel. As you play listen to the conversation between toms and bass drum.
KRA PA TE SE OKRA; OKYIRI FI SANCTITY, LIKE A CAT, ABHORS FILTH
√UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 4
Another style brings dondo to cymbal and asi√ui 1 open tones to toms over a bass drum pulse and the medium atoke phase on high hat.
√UGBE EXAMPLE 2
The second saying is Va mi dzo, ko nOviwo va mi dzo, va, va (pronounced vah1 mee3 joh3 koh2 naw2 vee3 woh3 vah1 mee3 joh3 vah3 vah2), reflected in the √ugbe of the √uga lead drum as ‘ga gi-de . . . . tsa . . . ga gi-de ga gi-de . . . . ga . . . ga . . . ‘ across two cycles of the bell timeline. The literal meaning “Come let us go, sisters and brothers, just come and let us go, come, come” is translated as “Let us work together to achieve life’s goals,” promoting a communal spirit with, and responsibility for, all members of a village. I have experienced this reality in Ghana, where each member of a community is treated openly and warmly with respect as part of an extended family.
drumset EXAMPLE 5
This metaphor is adapted to drumset in an Edward Blackwell cross stick-tom style with a half-time feel. The three ‘ga gi-de’ motives are given to low tom and snare cross sticks. ‘Tsa’ and the last two ‘ga’ strokes are divided between high tom and cymbal.
√UGBE EXAMPLE 3
The third text is ∂e kpO mi do go (pronounced deh2 kpaw2 mee3 doh3 goh2), literally “Walk out and let us meet,” and meaning “Let us be together so we can connect with each other.” It is expressed as a repeating phrase in √ugbe through √uga as ‘de ge da ga da . .‘ Each phrase spans a dotted-quarter note duration, producing a three feel riding over the four beat ensemble groove. This creates a tension resolved after eight statements across three bell cycles. West African drummers use this technique as one of many ways to intensify a performance, and a similar practice has been employed by jazz drumset players since Buddy Gilmore and Warren ‘Baby’ Dodds in the 1910s and 1920s.
drumset EXAMPLE 6
Try the high atoke timeline on cymbal with the ‘ge’ stroke omitted from the √ugbe phrase to leave more space. Playing ‘de’ as cross sticks, ‘da ga ’ as alternating high and low tom couplets, and the final ‘da’ on bass drum creates a tonal and timbral motion. When the pattern feels solid, find your own voicing of ∂e kpO mi do go.
√UGBE EXAMPLE 4
The final metaphor is Me va ka ba √ua gbO; me kpO dzidzO √ua Nu (pronounced meh2 vah3 kah2 bah2 vooah1 gbaw2 meh2 kpaw2 jee3 jaw2 vooah2 ngoo3), whose literal and inner meaning is “Come early to the performance; show happiness for the drumming.” One way to play its tones on √uga is ‘ga gi-de ga-da ga . de tsa . . . ga gi-de tsa . tsa . de tsa . . .’ and extends over two bell cycles. Its starting point falls with the sixth stroke of the high atoke timeline, or the fourth beat of an eight beat, two-measure four-four time feel.
√UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 7
You can adapt this saying to drumset with √uga’s sound pattern outlined in a conversation among bass, snare, and toms in a funk style. Join this with high hat stick strokes suggesting axatse.
∂√∂ 24 AKPESE
drumset EXAMPLE 8
Now try the high atoke pattern on cymbal bell with medium atoke as high hat foot strokes. Play the open high hat sound in measure two with your left hand stick. You can also move your left hand among snare and toms.
Blankson Sodzedo Playing gaNkogui in a processional near kopeyia village 73
LLLLLLLLLLLL MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES
SHIFTING TIME FEELINGS WITH HIGH HAT, BASS DRUM, AND LEFT HAND MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES drumset example 1
Some lead drum and support drum, bell, and rattle variations create a shifted sense of time in the West African drum orchestra. Variation techniques implying multiple layers of rhythm, time, and accent are part of Akpese music, and can be adapted to drumset. Play the pattigame rhythm (A), then the high atoke timeline (B), and finally the axatse pattern (C) on cymbal throughout this section. You can also play any 4/4 timeline in this style.
LLLLLLLLLLLL MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES drumset example 2
Start with your left hand and play a four beat pattern in the four positions given under the cymbal timeline and an alternating bass drum-high hat heartbeat in quarter notes. Voice each left hand onand off-beat series of strokes as you hear it among snare and toms. These feels are implied in âˆšuga variations. Next bring the patterns to bass drum, and then high hat, with your left hand answering between snare and toms. Now divide each rhythm, freely alternating between left hand and high hat, left hand and bass drum, high hat and bass drum, and among all three, producing four layers of time including the cymbal rhythm. For high hat-bass drum combinations, play the first left hand cross stick-tom pattern given below in multiple rhythmic perspectives drumset example 3. Hear each limb as an independent voice, and omit some strokes, leaving space between combinations.
NHWIMU CROSSING 75
LLLLLLLLLLLL MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES drumset example 3
Try two-stroke pattigame and âˆšuga variations between low and high toms, bass drum and high hat, left hand and high hat, left hand and bass drum, and among left hand, high hat, and bass drum, under the cymbal rhythm. You can also play each couplet on bass drum, high hat, or one drum with your left hand. When the phrases feel comfortable, create your own dialogues among left hand and feet, combining with some one-stroke hits from the earlier patterns of drumset example 2 (previous page), and again with spaces between some statements. When you play each pattern as a bass drumhigh hat dialogue, try cross sticks and tom sounds in your left hand that complement the foot strokes as shown.
NORTHERN volta region 77
LLLLLLLLLLLL MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES drumset example 4
You can extend this technique to threestroke phrases implied by axatse and âˆšuga variations. Divide each pattern between left hand (snare and toms) and bass drum, left hand and high hat, and finally among left hand, bass drum, and high hat. When you can hear each phrase with the cymbal rhythm as you play, freely create your own conversation around the drumset. With the pattigame and high atoke rhythms on cymbal, cross sticks and tom tones imply an African groove, while the axatse pattern on cymbal combined with regular snare and tom strokes creates a jazz feel.
Now freely combine these one-, two-, and three-stroke phrases with spaces where your ears hear between statements, creating layers of time and accent. 78
SOEKPE AGBELI (L) HUSKING CORN IN KOPEYIA VILLAGE
MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES SHIFTED STARTING POINTS
MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES drumset example 5
Each rhythm, a sequence of strokes, timbres, tones, and spaces between, has a feel based on its relation to an underlying beat series. A given rhythm can generate many others by shifting its starting point across the large beats and subdivided pulses of its time span. Many West African master drummers hear and use this quality in their art of improvisation. Pat a four beat feel with your feet and clap the basic nine-stroke pattigame rhythm given earlier, omitting the finger mutes. Now shift this phrase, â€˜beginningâ€™ your handclaps on each of the sixteen successive sixteenth note pulses of its time span, over the constant four-beat foot pats, producing sixteen different rhythms, each one with a different starting point related to the original pattigame pattern.
and high hat. Shift the cymbal/pattigame rhythm along the sixteen pulses of its time span over the bass drum-high hat foundation, and hear how each pattern is a new rhythm created from the same sequence of strokes. The shifted pattigame phrase beginning on the twelfth pulse of the time span corresponds to one agogo double bell timeline played in Brazilian Samba. Listen as you play and try to hear both the new rhythm and the original pattigame phrase in its altered position over the bass drum-high hat heartbeat. When these feel strong, add the cross stick-tom patterns, which also shift along the time span. Each rhythm brings a different feel and sound to an African or Afro-Latin groove, and can be used to interact with an ensemble or soloist.
Bring this technique to drumset with the pattigame phrase on cymbal and the axatse pattern divided between bass drum 79
LLLLLLLLLLLL MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES SHIFTED POSITIONS OF THE PATTIGAME RHYTHM
adinkrahene chief of designs
akoko nan tia ba tread lightly
You can also keep a constant cross sticktom pattern, shifting only the pattigame cymbal rhythm.
AKPESE rhythms with BRUSHes
Akpese brush example 1
You can bring the sound of the axatse gourd rattle to drumset with brushes. Play the pattigame rhythm as left hand brush taps or cross stick snare strokes with continuous right hand sixteenth note brush slides also on snare. Pull your brush across drumhead in constant friction for a strong slide sound. Bass drum outlines a four-beat feel with the medium atoke pattern as high hat foot strokes. Omitting bass drum creates a looser jazz feel with more space. When this is comfortable, expand the pattigame phrase to toms. This style is connected to brush examples 3 and 4 on the DVD. Note: In this section when two brushes are played on snare the snare drum is notated on two different spaces on the staff to make the individual rhythms clearer. The taps are written on the traditional snare drum space and the slides are written above the staff.
LLLLLLLLLLLL Akpese brush example 2
Now try pattigame as right hand taps with left hand tap-slides in the spaces between right hand strokes. Tap-slides are a combination of an initial brush tap attack/ stroke that connects to a slide across the drumhead. Each of these brush and brushstick combinations is effective in music with a lighter feel. Switch hand functions in these styles, playing taps, slides, and tap-slides with either hand to bring each part of the rhythm around the kit as you expand it from snare to toms and cymbals. You can create subtle nuances by accenting, lengthening, or emphasizing the swishing sound of your brushes.
Akpese brush examples 3 and 4
Voice pattigame as left hand snare cross sticks and play right hand brush taps in the spaces between. Start on snare and then move both hands between snare and toms, using mute and open tones on toms. Pressing your brush or stick against the drumhead on stroke contact produces a higher-pitched mute sound, and is effective following a lower-pitched open stroke. This reflects the tonal movement and variety essential to West African hand and stick drumming. When these phrases feel comfortable, create your own patterns of the same rhythm around the kit.
BRUSH/STICK VOICE TONES
lay the pattigame pattern with the butt end of your left stick at the edge of the snare head with snares released while right hand brush taps, mutes, and tap-slides inflect the tones, filling the spaces between stick strokes. Listen as you play and weave your own drum voices by changing stick strokes as rim and rim shot sounds, and brush pressure, slide, attack, and placement. Use the patterns of brush example 2. This technique also speaks on toms.
LLLLLLLLLLLL AKPESE RHYTHMS WITH HANDS
kpese hand and stick drumming is a complex explosion of mute, open, and bass sounds, which you can suggest with hand techniques on drumset. The feel of skin on a drumhead brings the music into your center, reflecting the conversations in a West African drum ensemble. Begin with your left hand on snare (snares released) and your right hand on low tom. Adapt mute or high-pitched Akpese bell or drum strokes as mute strokes on drumset, striking and pressing your hand against the drumhead in a slapping motion, placing your hand completely over the drumhead. For an open tone reflecting Akpese open or low sounds, bring your hand back so that the heel of the hand is outside the rim. Bounce your hand off the drumhead, allowing the head to resonate freely. Muted snare tones sound the highest, followed by low tom mutes. Open snare hand strokes produce a medium-high pitch, and open low tom strokes create a deep, open hand drum sound.
LLLLLLLLLLLL You can also try the bell pattern or any of the other rhythms with one hand on a cymbal, cymbal bell, or low tom shell as a contrasting timbre to the drum sounds with your other hand. This softer sound is effective in a bass solo or music with a relaxed feel. Because the snare drum was inverted for our video recording, many of the left hand â€˜handâ€™ patterns for snare are played on high tom on the DVD.
KEY FOR DRUMSET HAND STROKES
dame-dame drafts game
Akpese drumset hand example 1
Start with the dondo low and high tones as open and mute strokes on low tom with your right hand over a bass drum pulse and the medium atoke rhythm on high hat. Add the mute and open asi√ui 1 hand strokes as left hand mute and open tones on snare. The left hand patterns can also be played on high tom, as on the video. lh snare rh low tom
m o m o
bass drum high hat
A dondo variation on low tom keeps the same feel with different tones.
Akpese drumset hand example 2
Now voice pattigame low and high tones as open and mute snare strokes with asi√ui 1 on low tom over the bass drum - high hat heartbeat of hand example 1. You can also play the pattigame rhythm on high tom, as on the video. A bass drum variation leaves more space, and you can omit bass drum entirely for a lighter feel. In each groove you can imply the highpitched tak sound from Middle Eastern and North African hand drumming. Play all left hand strokes with the tips of your second, third, and fourth fingers at the edge of the snare head. The fleshy part of your fingers between the second and third knuckles (counting from your wrist) lands on the rim while the fingertips bounce off the head, creating a sharp tone higher than the sky. This technique also works with your right hand on low tom or snare, and brings intensity to any music you are playing. These are active grooves that drive the time, and can be played at any dynamic, from burning under a soloist to a quiet interaction during a bass solo. 90
he free, open feel of Akpese music creates a sense of transcendence and connection among people in the village. The drummers, dancers, singers, the bugler, and man playing a whistle in Ho; the Aristide brass band in Denu; the intensity in Anyako with dancers, drummers, a trumpeter, and the woman singing and playing a whistle; all of us playing under the hot sun brought me back to New Orleans, with a street band driving the sound down into the ground. Dancers waving handkerchiefs as an African ancestor of the New Orleans second line. The bright colors of peopleâ€™s clothing fabric flooding the eye, bursts of sounds and movement, the smell of cooking food directly from the earth, the feel of a hand on a drum, all these can be brought to the drumset as an expression of life.
COOKING PALM OIL
bese saka colanut
pa gya to strike/make fire can represent war
the anyako lashibi gadzo dancers
adzo (pronounced gahd-zoh) is a recreational dance music of the E√e people of Ghana and Togo. It is derived from ancient warrior musics and sometimes includes rituals and the pouring of libations. Gadzo is presently played for social occasions at the market square, parks, or other meeting places, and is also performed at funerals, usually near the home of the deceased.
The Gadzo ensemble is led by the deep-toned carved wooden Gadzo√uga master drum. Gadzo√uga is about three feet tall, cylindrical, and uses wooden pegs to maintain tension on its skin head, which is played with the hands. In its contemporary form, there are five basic supporting drum, bell, and rattle voices. The timeline is sounded with two sticks on a metal container called ganugbagba. One hand states a seven-stroke pattern while the other hand outlines main beats which relate to dancers’ foot movements. The seven stroke pattern is usually played with the right hand, as in Gadzo DVD ensembles 4 and 7, although I played it with my left hand on DVD ensembles 2 and 3. The strong sound of this metal container intensifies the Gadzo ensemble. Sometimes a gaNkogui double bell is played instead of ganugbagba.
the stick against the drumhead on stroke contact while open resonant tones result from bouncing the stick off the drumhead. Its basic phrase consists of three open and three mute strokes. Kidi’s pattern can change in conversation with Gadzo√uga, one dialogue response including open tones that parallel dondo and the dondo variation, as on the video. The wooden hourglass-shaped, double-headed, string tension drum known as dondo completes the Gadzo ensemble. It is played with a curved wooden stick. Dondo traditionally improvises phrases whose tonal language can be understood, enriching the ensemble texture. One basic pattern is a high-low pair of strokes that match alternate kagaN statements. A variation adds a third high-low motive within one bell cycle. Two other metal instruments are played for chanted rituals and sometimes join the ensemble: a√aga, a small, open mouthed bell with a clapper, and a∂o∂o, a double-ended cluster of slender chambers with clappers that functions as a rattle. Both are held in the hand and shaken, functioning in the ensemble to support the timeline. Observe the full Gadzo drum and dance drama with the Anyako Lashibi community on the video and hear the interplay of supporting instruments with the Gadzo√uga master drum.
Axatse is a gourd rattle with a netting of beads or shells about its exterior. It is held in one hand and struck against the opposite palm or thigh, creating a swishing sound that also reinforces the bell timeline. It traditionally states a number of variations that add a different rhythmic feel to the basic drumming patterns. KagaN is a slender high-pitched wooden drum played with thin sticks whose sharp strokes emphasize offbeat pairs. Like axatse, its variations add rhythmic ‘spice’ to the ensemble. There are great drummers in the villages who specialize in playing kagaN all their lives, creating subtle nuances in timing and unique variations of tone, timbre, and rhythm that you can hear on the video. Variations A and C-G are most commonly played at a moderate to slow pace, while the other patterns are usually played at faster tempos. Kidi is a medium sized and pitched wooden drum played with sticks, and sounds mute and open tones. Mutes are accomplished by pressing 94
Do Azie PLAYING a∂o∂o and A AGA in a kopeyia procession
∂√∂ 01-07 √
GADZO ENSEMBLE 1-7 E E PEOPLE
12 q 8 q q q q q q q q q q q Kidi Dialogue rhythm
∂√∂ 00 1 gadzo ensemble 1
KAYIBOE (pronounced kah yee bway) Reference to a social outcast 95
GGGGGGGG N VARIATIONS
adinkrahene a printing design
GGGGGGGG Gadzo DRUMSET STYLES
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 1
The ganugbagba speaks both a heartbeat and a time cycle. Play the heartbeat between bass drum and high hat and the time cycle on cymbal bell. Throughout this chapter you can also play cymbal rhythms on the side of your low tom or as high-pitched snare rim strokes (snares released) with the tip of your stick, suggesting African sounds like ka, a stick stroke on the side of a wooden drum.
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 2
Extend the heartbeat to snare cross sticks or crash cymbal bell. These combinations bring out the metal sounds and driving two-hand feel of ganugbagba.
agbeko sodzedo and godwin kwasi agbeli PLAYING GADZO
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 3
Now reinforce the timeline with cross sticks and tom sounds.
GGGGGGGG GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 4
Axatse leg strokes double the bell pattern while hand strokes fill the spaces between. Play leg strokes on cymbal and fill in the spaces with snare cross sticks and tom tones. Leg strokes as high-pitched snare rim shots near the edge of the head bring a North African hand drum sound to the groove.
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 5
Placing all the axatse hand strokes on toms creates a tonal phrase. You can try the timeline on cymbal or switch hands, with the timeline as left hand cross sticks and right hand filling in tom sounds. The tom phrase in measure two has a shape simalar to Afro-Cuban rumba guaguanco hand drum open tones. Hear its shape as you play and create your own patterns of high, middle, and low sounds.
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 6
Filling all the spaces in the timeline produces an active groove.
THREADING THE SPACES
dd muted strokes on toms to snare cross sticks and open tom sounds by pressing your stick against the drumhead on stroke contact in the same manner as traditional African drums such as kidi. This will raise the pitch and change the tone to a more muffled, dry timbre. If you change mute stroke placement, stick pressure, or slide the stick along the head after stroke contact, you can create a wide range of voice-like sounds on snare (with snares released), toms, or bass drum. The larger the drum, the wider the pitch range. Mute sounds can be accomplished on snare or toms
with one stick against the drumhead, two sticks (one pressing, the other a regular bounce stroke), one stick-one hand (hand pressing, a regular bounce stick stroke), or a hand mute. A single stick or hand technique will allow you to play a separate rhythm with your other limb. In Ghana drummers use open-mute and high-low pitch and sound contrasts to speak the tones of their languages. This same technique can be applied to drumset, giving it a human vocal quality and making it a talking drum in its own way.
GGGGGGGG GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 7
Now try a free conversation between bass drum and left hand on snare (regular and cross stick strokes), toms, and an occasional cymbal stroke, all in the spaces between strokes of the cymbal timeline. Begin with this pattern and when it feels comfortable create your own.
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 8
Adding high hat foot strokes to the conversation creates a freer time sense.
You can also play the timeline with stick strokes on high hat while bass drum and left hand fill its spaces in a changing funk groove. High hat foot strokes on beats two and four create a strong open-closed sound from stick strokes two and five. For a freer funk feel add high hat foot strokes to the conversation, and constantly vary your left hand, bass drum, and high hat foot patterns in the spaces of the ganugbagba timeline. 103
price memorial choir GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 9
KagaN offbeat strokes give a lift to Gadzo music at a fast or slow pace. I made a connection to the kagaN sound one Sunday playing at the Price Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in my hometown, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A devotional selection which began as a quiet ballad in a slow four feel got more intense and moved to a triplet feel within each beat, in effect twelve-eight time. I began with steady eighths on cymbal and soft cross stick backbeats, but changed to three eighths per beat and snare backbeats to match the music. People in the choir and congregation were singing and talking back with passion, exploding the time by clapping on the second and third eighth notes of each dotted-quarter beat subdivision. I instinctively played high hat with their handclaps and realized it felt and sounded like the Gadzo kagaN rhythm I had played in Ghana. I then added the ganugbagba timeline on cymbal and the groove locked in with the music. I have played this groove many times with Gospel ensembles in the African American Church and in rhythm and blues bands. Clifford Jarvis and many other drummers have used this high hat pattern marking beats two and three in a three-four jazz feel.
price memorial ame church GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 10
You can double the speed of the cymbal timeline if the tempo allows.
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 11
An active groove which sounds strong under a high point in a solo or ensemble section moves kagaN to bass drum, with the timeline divided between cymbal and high hat foot strokes. As you play, listen to the snare/tom pattern and create your own phrases. The left hand patterns of drumset examples 2-6 work well with this style.
∂√∂ 09 GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLEs 12 and 13
You can also play kagaN as snare cross sticks or extend it to toms, as on the video for this example and Gadzo DVD ensemble 05.
∂√∂ 09-11 GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 14
Omitting one cross stick leaves more space in the groove and suggests the high-low sounds of dondo, as on the video for this example and Gadzo DVD ensemble 06. Improvise your own kagaN rhythms on snare and toms, beginning with the traditional variations given earlier and those on the Gadzo drumset kagaN variations 1 and 2 videos that include patterns B, D, H, I, J, and K (DVD 10) and N, L, and M (DVD 11).
CUTTING STICKS 106
GGGGGGGG GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 15
The basic kidi open tone pattern interacts with dondoâ€™s voice in the Gadzo ensemble, driving the time. Play kidi open strokes as low and high tom sounds answered by the dondo phrase on bass drum, with the bell pattern on cymbal and high hat on beats two and four. You can also play the high hat variations given for Gadzo timelines example two.
q q q
q q q
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 16
Try the kidi dialogue phrase with open strokes on toms over a bass drum/high hat pulse. Mute kidi strokes are divided between your hands, with left hand mutes as snare cross sticks and right hand mutes as cymbal sounds or high-pitched snare rim shots with the tip of your stick near the edge of the drumhead. In each style your right hand implies a duple sound over the underlying triple feel.
PLAYING KIDI 107
GGGGGGGG GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLEs 17 and 18
Left hand variations expand the tonal patterns.
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 19
By playing kidi dialogue mute strokes between your left hand and feet, you can create a flam-like feel and bring the right hand duple motive to bass drum and high hat with the timeline on cymbal.
GADZO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 20
Joining high hat and bass drum in unison creates a strong duple feel over the time, an approach I heard Edward Blackwell use on many occasions.
ďŹ hankra safe home 108
GGGGGGGG IMPULSES HIGHLIFE STYLES
ighlife is a dynamic mix of indigenous and western musical elements - jazz, blues, reggae, pop, funk, and gospel. At the Bass Line jazz club in Accra, I experienced Ghanaian musicians adapting rhythms corresponding to Gadzo ganugbagba, kagaN, and kidi to drumset.
GADZO highlife EXAMPLE 1
One pattern gives the ganugbagba pulse to bass drum with the kagaN voice on closed high hat with sticks. The drummer in the Red Caps band played this medium and fast tempo heartbeat with intensity by pressing the sticks on different areas of the top hat and varying the timing of each stroke slightly earlier or later, similar to the way kagaN players pull the timing of strokes. This leaves a lot of space and is effective for its subtlety. I have also heard the drummer in Thomas Mapfumoâ€™s band use this pattern to accompany mbira (thumb piano), guitars, bass, and horns in Chimurenga music from Zimbabwe.
GGGGGGGG The Red Caps drummer played another bass drum phrase reflecting a handclap rhythm to intensify the groove, with the kagaN pattern on closed high hat.
GADZO highlife EXAMPLEs 2 and 3
Solomon Assan of Accra plays the Gadzo ganugbagba timeline on high hat or ride cymbal bell reinforced with bass drum and snare cross sticks. Bass drum and left hand variations around the snare and toms change the feel, with double bass strokes â€˜kicking the timeâ€™ in a funk highlife style. If you use cymbal bell, play dotted-quarter main beats as high hat foot strokes.
GADZO highlife EXAMPLE 4
A Nigerian highlife drummer showed me how he reverses the order of left hand-bass drum patterns, with bass drum speaking the Gadzo dondo phrase and giving a lift to the time.
HIGHLIFE DRUMMER SOLOMON ASSAN
GADZO highlife EXAMPLE 5
You can drive the time by playing kagaN as open high hat or cymbal stick strokes answering high hat foot strokes on each main beat over the ganugbagba heartbeat divided among snare, toms, and bass drum. This feel burns at a fast pace, and is also played on Gadzo DVD ensembles 5 and 6.
GADZO highlife EXAMPLE 6
While walking through Accra city streets and markets one hot day I heard a jazzand blues- influenced highlife song on local radios echoing through the shops and vendorsâ€™ stalls. A tenor saxophone soloist reminded me of Junior Cook, telling an emotional story in a slow 12/8 groove. The drummer played a cymbal timeline matching ganugbagba with backbeats on snare and toms over a bass drum heartbeat. Another percussionist played the frikyiwa metal castanet-type bell in a three-stroke pattern, creating another layer of time. I bring this sound to high hat in a relaxed highlife blues feel.
GGGGGGGG REGGAE GROOVES GADZO reggae EXAMPLE 1
Gadzo rhythms can weave reggae grooves, with the ganugbagba timeline as high hat stick strokes over a bass drum foundation. Begin with left hand snare shots or cross sticks in an altered clave pattern over two bell cycles.
GADZO reggae EXAMPLE 2
Condensing this pattern into one bell cycle brings more motion.
GADZO reggae EXAMPLE 3
You can alter this African Caribbean style by beginning in the middle of the timeline.
Kopeyia weaver dotse
GADZO reggae EXAMPLEs 4 and 5
Now try this altered feel inside one bell cycle with left hand snare or cross stick strokes filling in the spaces of the timeline. Putting sounds in these spaces voices another bell pattern on the other side of the rhythm, like the idea of yin and yang in Asian cultures, a shadow to the original rhythm. This second left hand timeline is played in other Eâˆše pieces such as Adzro and suggests a 12/8 clave pattern. Bass drum can sound once in the middle of the phrase or on beats two and four. You can also create another sound in each groove by opening and closing the high hat on any stick stroke that feels good inside the rhythm.
GGGGGGGG GADZO reggae EXAMPLE 6
Extending the bass drum voice in this style answers the handsâ€™ active phrases.
GADZO reggae EXAMPLE 7
You can create a jazz reggae feel in these grooves with the timeline on cymbal and high hat foot strokes on beats two and four. For patterns with two bass drum sounds per measure, play high hat on all four beats.
GGGGGGGG GADZO HIP HOP (AKA GAMELAN FUNK)
GADZO HIP HOP EXAMPLE 1
Ghanaian drumming has rhythms and accents coming from all directions. In the West this is called offbeat accenting. One manner of offbeat accenting is to play on the ‘other sides of the beat.’ Begin with a 12/8 - 6/4 groove, playing high hat foot strokes off each beat that answer open high hat or cymbal stick strokes on each beat. These on- and off-beat patterns reflect axatse variations. Bass and snare drums lay out front and back beats in a medium tempo funk or slower hip hop jam.
GADZO HIP HOP Funk EXAMPLE 2
Now bring the ganugbagba rhythm to cymbal bell for a different hip hop-funk sound.
GADZO HIP HOP EXAMPLE 3
This rhythmic feel is found in other world traditions, as in Javanese gamelan music of Indonesia, where imbal style involves some instruments, such as the tuned bronze metallophone saron, playing ahead of the basic balungan melody-pulse. Imbal creates an intense interlocking sound similar to the grooves we are working with. Another hip hop beat with high energy at a slow tempo connects the 12/8 ganugbagba timeline on bass drum with a doubled twenty-fourpulse feel played as alternating ride cymbal bell or high hat stick and foot strokes. Big fatback beats on two and four drive the sound down into the ground.
GGGGGGGG TALKING DRUMs
√UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE
Olu nudzor gbeti (R) dancing gadzo in Anyako village
GADZO UGA LEAD DRUM
√e music is characterized by drum syllables, √ugbe, which reflect the
high, middle, and low tones of the indigenous E√e language, marked in the pronunciation syllables after each saying as 1 for low, 2 for midrange, and 3 for high. In Gadzo we will focus on the tones of the gadzo√uga lead drum and the hourglassshaped, string tension dondo drum, both of which play low, middle, and high pitches. Their voices often reflect the introduction of texts by singers in the dance drama. √ugbe is fully communicated by the interaction of the entire ensemble of drums, bell, and rattles. In each example in this section, the drum voices are shown together with the ganugbagba bell timeline above the staff.
AND THEIR SOUNDS
da – strong hand bass ga – weak hand bass de/te – strong hand open (two consecutive des, the second called te) ge/gi – weak hand open tsa – strong hand muted slap tsi – strong hand mute ki – weak hand mute KEY
GGGGGGGG Although the basic pattern in each style for gadzo√uga and dondo can be played as even eighth notes fitting the twelveeight bell cycle, most drummers stretch the timing for some phrases toward a duple feel, implying a two- or four-per-beat feel, and eight or sixteen over twelve of the bell cycle, intensifying the ensemble texture. This stretching, which can be represented as dotted eighth and dotted sixteenth notes, is part of an intense, risk-taking feel in Gadzo similar to the explosive improvisations of jazz players. Dondo
From the many traditional E√e metaphors reflected in √ugbe, we will adapt four to drumset, two of which have a basic and a stretched duple variation form.
MAKING PALM OIL 119
√ugbe EXAMPLE 1
The first is Ve NutO le yeyea me; Gadzo√ua NutO le yeyea me (pronounced yeh2 gnew2 taw2 leh1 yay2 yayeah2 meh1; gahd1 zoh1 vuah2 ngew2 taw1 leh1 yay2 yayeah2 meh1), represented in √ugbe by ‘de . te ga de te ga tsa ga da gi . te ga de te ga tsa tsa . .’ Its literal and inner meaning is “It is in a new style; the Gadzo dance music is in a new style.” It is a climactic pattern, begun by a vocal chant or gadzo√uga, and can be joined by dondo.
GADZO UGA AND DONDO WITH THE GANUGBAGBA BELL TIMELINE
YAOTSE AGBELI PLAYING THE TSAFULEGI ONE-STRING BOW GADZO
drumset example 1
This saying can be adapted to drumset, with low ‘da’ and ‘ga’ sounds on bass drum and medium ‘de’ and ‘gi’ strokes as low and high tom tones. The muffled timbre of ‘tsa’ is played as snare cross sticks. As with all the drumset √ugbe styles, join left hand rhythms with the ganugbagba timeline on cymbal and high hat foot strokes on two and four. This groove charges up the space in an ensemble or solo passage.
The second traditional saying is Tutu yia Nutsi e√u le yia Nutsi (pronounced too2 too2 yeah3 gnew3 chee3 eh1 voo2 leh3 yeah3 gnew3 chee3) and is expressed in √ugbe by ’ki tsi ki . ki ga da ga ki . ki . . ’ The literal translation “Clean the long knife\cutlass, there is blood on it.” conveys the advice “Purify yourself before you try to purify others.” Its tones are expressed on gadzo√uga and dondo, and is sometimes divided into two call-response phrases between the two drums, tutu yia Nutsi answered by e√u le yia Nutsi. The corresponding √ugbe is divided ‘ki tsi ki . ki’ answered by ‘ga da ga ki . ki . . .’ There is a basic triple and a stretched duple variation form, and after the initial statement, the lead drum can also omit the first, second, third, or all of the opening ‘ki’ and tsi’ strokes to leave more space.
OHEMMAA NKYINKYIN CHANGING ONESELF
BASIC TRIPLE FORM, GADZO UGA AND DONDO WITH THE GANUGBAGBA TIMELINE
DUPLE VARIATION FORM
drumset EXAMPLE 2
Bring high pitched ‘ki’ and ‘tsi’ strokes to toms, low pitched ‘ga’ sounds to bass drum, ‘da’ to low tom, and the last ‘ki’ as a snare cross stick to punctuate the phrase.
You can pull the rhythms into a duple feel as E√e drummers do, stretching left hand and bass drum patterns while keeping the cymbal timeline in a triple 12/8 feel. Listen as you play the phrase given, combining cross stick, tom, and bass drum tones, and create your own. Try omitting the ﬁrst, second, third, all four, or some of the opening tom strokes in the same manner as lead drummers leave out some ‘ki’ and ‘tsi’ sounds. The call and response of the E√e drumming can be divided between parts of your kit, or between players in a group, such as a horn soloist and drummer or 123
ohene aniwa Nothing is hidden from the king’s many eyes
rhythm section, or parts of a rhythm section accompanying a soloist in a jazz ensemble. The interplay of duple and triple feels and calls and responses gives the drumset and ensemble a dynamic voice. duple LEFT HAND/BASS DRUM PATTERN
The third Ewe saying is Sobodzi, sobodzi ga ma do ∂ea fOkpa me ga va yi sobodzi (pronounced soh3 boh3 jee3, soh3 boh3 jee3, gah1 mah1 doh3 deah2 faw1 kpa1 meh1 gah1 vah2 yee1 soh3 boh3 jee3). Its literal meaning is “Top of calf, top of calf (leg) iron ring can not stay inside shoe, iron ring has come all the way to top of calf.” Its inner message refers to a proverb that states “You cannot conceal some things, as a metal ring inside your shoe around your ankle, which will rise up and be seen; it is better to be open.” Its tones are played on gadzo√uga, which may be joined by dondo, and can be divided into a call and response, Sobodzi, sobodzi answered by ga ma do ∂ea fOkpa me ga va yi sobodzi. The corresponding √ugbe is ‘de ge de . de ge de .’ answered by ‘da ga de ge da ga da . ga de . de ge de . . .’
GADZO UGA AND DONDO WITH THE GANUGBAGBA BELL TIMELINE
drumset EXAMPLE 3
Try medium pitched ‘de’ and ‘ge’ strokes as tom sounds with deep ‘da’ and ‘ga’ tones on bass drum as on the video for this example and Gadzo √ugbe example 3. Tom sounds can be played all on high tom, low tom, or divided between the two. The second of three successive bass drum strokes can be played on low tom. You can also play the entire pattern on toms, as on Gadzo DVD ensemble 7 and Gadzo DVD 15 for √ugbe example 3.
drumset EXAMPLE 4
Now alternate ‘de’ and ‘ge’ between toms using a quick wrist technique for tonal interplay. This phrase works well in a solo.
The final E√e text is Gade ga ˙o (pronounced gah1 deh2 gah1 pfoh1), whose literal statement is “A bell has rung/ it is six o’clock again.” This refers to a curfew imposed in 1953 by British colonials as a result of civil unrest by traditional ANlOE√e people protesting continued control of the area prior to Ghana’s independence in 1957. It expresses the feeling “We are disgusted at this intrusion into our lives.” I performed this rhythm with the Anyako drummers in 2002 and they told me this and other similar sayings are still played, since they see the current political, economic, and cultural control of their lives by industrialized nations and corporations as a contemporary form of colonial control. The price for this inhuman treatment, which began in the 1400s in West Africa, is starvation, disease, as well as lack of shelter, clothing, and meaningful work, all forces of dehumanization and genocide that they experience daily. In this holocaust the people come together in a communal society to survive and instead of hate, live a spiritual life of love for each other, nature, ancestors, and spirits that even extends to those of us who come from the neocolonial areas of the globe. This transcendent spirituality, which is shared by many peoples in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and indigenous Europe and the Americas, is expressed in drumming, dance, and song.
KRAMO BONE AMMA YEANNHU KRAMO PA WE CANNOT TELL THE GOOD FROM THE BAD BECAUSE OF PRETENCE
Gade ga ˙o is an example of how historic events are enshrined in the dance drumming tradition. Its tones are played on gadzo√uga as ‘ga de ga . ga . . ’ and echoed by dondo. The space between statements, taken by three high pitched ‘tsa’ sounds, is open for improvisation by either instrument, and can function as a call with the √ugbe phrase as a response. The entire phrase can also be pulled into a duple feel.
BASIC TRIPLE FEEL, GADZO UGA AND DONDO WITH THE GANUGBAGBA BELL TIMELINE
* GADZO√UGA AND DONDO IMPROVISE IN SPACES WITH *
ACCRA POST OFFICE CLOCK TOWER
DUPLE VARIATION Form
* GADZO√UGA AND DONDO IMPROVISE IN SPACES WITH * 128
drumset EXAMPLE 5
Begin with low- and medium-pitched √ugbe tones ‘ga de ga . ga . .’ played between bass drum and high tom, and high-pitched ‘tsa’ strokes as snare cross sticks. You can also divide the low-high tones between low and high toms, as on Gadzo DVD ensemble 7 and DVD 17 for √ugbe example 4.
Now stretch the left hand and bass drum rhythms into a duple feel over the triple feel of the cymbal timeline with high hat on two and four, similar to the way West African drummers pull the rhythms over the bell cycle. When these phrases feel strong create your own patterns and improvised spaces that can spark a dialogue with a soloist.
LEFT HAND/BASS DRUM PATTERNS
GGGGGGGG GADZO dialogues GADZO dialogues EXAMPLE 1
I have heard three other gadzo√ugadondo dialogues in Gadzo that explode on drumset. The first is a unison pattern that begins on the second dotted-quarter main beat and dynamically interacts with the ganugbagba bell timeline.
* GADZO dialogues drumset EXAMPLE 1
Bring the dondo low and high tones to low and high toms with the ganugbagba rhythm on cymbal and a bass drum–high hat heartbeat.
* GADZO dialogues EXAMPLE 2
The second dialogue is a call and response between a three-stroke dondo motive around beats one and three and a two-stroke gadzo√uga response leading to beats two and four.
GGGGGGGG GADZO dialogues drumset EXAMPLE 2
Play the low-high dondo call between low and high toms and the low-pitched gadzo√uga response on bass drum under the ganugbagba phrase on cymbal.
GADZO dialogues EXAMPLE 3
The third dialogue is a gadzo√uga-dondo unison statement over two bell cycles with alternating groups of low and high sounds starting on beat two leading to a six-stroke climax.
GADZO dialogues drumset EXAMPLE 3
Try the dondo and gadzo√uga low-high tonal patterns on low and high toms with the ganugbagba voice on cymbal and a bass drum–high hat pulse.
GGGGGGGG By connecting the tones and timbres of drums, cymbals, and high hat with the √ugbe drum language of E√e drummers, their ideas, and wisdom, we have given the drumset a voice with a West African sound.
Kwame nkrumah’s Legacy
lillian gaulden heritage of the drum
ne essential quality of West African music is the heartbeat or timeline, a rhythm that expresses the underlying pulse. As part of the historical movement of African peoples to the New World, culture and music, including this heartbeat, have been brought to the Americas. Timelines are often played on a metal bell, and dancers and musicians also keep it internally in their bodies to
coordinate their interactions. Percussionist Lillian Gaulden showed me the importance of these timelines in both the music and life of a people. The sound of a bell in the communities of Eâˆšeland brings a whole village together as one, and I have experienced a similar feeling listening to Max Roach, Lenny McBrowne, Edward Blackwell, and Elvin Jones play time on a cymbal, uniting everyone as one.
GGGGGGGG GADZO timelines EXAMPLE 1
The myriad bell patterns of West Africa bring a powerful sound to cymbal and drumset. Some of the 12/8 time cycles are closely related, and most are played in many pieces among diverse ethnic groups. The Gadzo ganugbagba rhythm, a pattern for many Eâˆše ensembles, can be related to Columbia clave in Afro-Cuban music by omitting its third and seventh strokes. Likewise, the gaNkogui bell pattern for the Eâˆše recreational music Adzro is similar to those for Gadzo and Adowa musics, the latter originally from the Asante people of centralwestern Ghana, and in a related form among the Ga people of southern coastal Ghana (Asante Adowa and Ga Adowa). The dawuro bell pattern for the Asante music Asaadua can be heard with different starting points (marked here as original and shifted), while that for Asante Adowa has full, basic, and varied forms. Handclaps and wooden stick rhythms are essential to the drum, bell, and rattle texture, one example here a common 12/8 handclap pattern that reinforces the Gadzo timeline.
Handclap and wooden stick rhythms in a dance drama at anyako
PLAYING WITH GA MUSICIANS AT THE ACCRA ARTS CENTER
GGGGGGGG 12/8 DRUMSET TIMELINES GADZO timelines EXAMPLE 2
Play each of the twelve-eight timelines on ride cymbal with snare cross sticks and tom tones over a bass drum-high hat pulse. You can also try the bell patterns on the side of your floor tom or as high-pitched snare rim shots with the tip of your stick near the edge of the drumhead.
OSRANE MMFITI PREKO NNTWARE MAN IT TAKES THE MOON SOME TIME TO GO AROUND THE NATION
Anyako dancers Seshie Adonu Ladzekpo and Daviza Damali with Kobla Dogbe playing sogo
When the timelines feel comfortable, try bass drum and high hat variations to create other layers of time. Bass drum and high hat variations
GGGGGGGG SWINGING THE TIMELINES
GADZO timelines EXAMPLE 3
West African 12/8 timelines are intrinsically connected to the African American jazz cymbal heartbeat, speaking in a triple, or sometimes mixed triple and duple, voice over a driving four-beat feel. They are effective in a jazz 4/4 triplet feel, as variations for the standard cymbal or brush bebop/swing rhythm. Start with each time cycle as a variation around the traditional cymbal phrase. When they feel comfortable, create your own variations. The Gadzo timeline is played on each video example in this section, marked as 3a, 4a, 5a, and 6a on the DVD menu. Bring the timelines to your left hand on snare with a jazz swing feel on cymbal. Begin with a bass drum-high hat foundation - bass drum on all four beats and high hat on two and four - and then play only the high hat to leave more space. Extend the left hand timelines to include toms, and hear the tonal shapes. The phrases you are improvising reflect Edward Blackwell’s way of adapting bell patterns and other African rhythms to drumset under a jazz cymbal groove. Each rhythm can also be a solo phrase, and different rhythms can be combined to make longer phrases. When the timelines feel comfortable expand Blackwell’s jazz ride cymbal/left hand African rhythm style with many of the patterns in this book.
PREPARING PALM KERNELS 139
ese ne tekrema we improve and advance
You can also create a jazz-reggae feel with bass drum and high hat variations.
Bass drum and high hat variations
GGGGGGGG TIMELINES IN A BEBOP GROOVE
GADZO timelines EXAMPLE 4
Now add bass drum and high hat to this style, expanding the tonal and timbral variety. Each pattern alternates foot and hand strokes, beginning with a different limb. Blackwell told me to listen to the changing patterns from the different parts of the kit, and create my own phrases. You can freely combine the sounds of bass drum, high hat, snare, snare cross sticks, and mute and open toms in your own voice.
TIMELINES IN A JAZZ TRIPLET STYLE - LEFT HAND
GADZO timelines EXAMPLE 5
Now try the timelines in your left hand on snare with bass drum and high hat filling in the spaces in a jazz triplet feel. Begin with the patterns given, alternating foot strokes. Later extend your left hand to toms while playing bass drum and high hat in any sequence. This creates an active sound with many layers of time moving forward, and is effective at a medium tempo interacting with a solo. Changing left hand sounds to snare cross sticks and mute and open tom tones adds more timbral variety.
GGGGGGGG TIMELINES IN A JAZZ TRIPLET STYLE – BASS DRUM AND HIGH HAT
GADZO timelines EXAMPLE 6
You can reverse foot and left hand functions to produce a different motion, with bass drum and high hat stating the timelines and snare and toms (or cross sticks and mute/ open toms) filling in the triplet spaces.
DRUMMING SPANS A LIFETIME
PEMPAMSIE SE, BEBREBE AHOODEN NE KOROYE UNITY IS STRENGTH
TIMELINES IN A REGGAE FEEL
The timelines will speak in a reggae style as right hand closed high hat stick or left hand snare cross stick strokes over any of the bass drum feels in the earlier reggae section. Your opposite hand can double and thicken the bass drum sound, fill in spaces between strokes of the timeline, or add to the texture with any of the high hat stick patterns in the following timelinefunk section.
GGGGGGGG TIMELINES IN A FUNK GROOVE
Mary Agama playing in the Gadzo ensemble
GADZO timelines EXAMPLE 7
Now adapt the timelines in a bass drum funk style, with backbeats as snare, snare cross sticks, open/mute tom, and occasional cymbal bell sounds. Combine each bell pattern with each of the cymbal/high hat patterns given. You can omit bass drum strokes on beat four that coincide with a backbeat to lighten the feel and leave a space for the phrase to breathe. Playing on the bell of the high hat or cymbal with the thicker shoulder of your stick will intensify the groove, while strokes on the cymbal or high hat body with the stick tip will soften the sound. For a looser groove, try stick strokes near the edge of a slightly opened high hat, creating a sizzling sound. 151
GGGGGGGG HIGH HAT/CYMBAL/SNARE DRUM PATTERNS
gyawu atiko gyawu’s shaved design
GGGGGGGG BELL TIMELINES FOR FUNK BASS DRUM
GGGGGGGG MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES SHIFTING TIME FEELINGS WITH HIGH HAT, BASS DRUM, AND LEFT HAND
est African drummers develop a highly sophisticated sense of tone, timbre, accent, and rhythm through observation, listening, playing, and moving in the daily song, dance, drumming, and life activities of the village. This immersion begins in the womb and when carried on the mother’s back as she sings, plays, and dances - sounds and movement felt as well as heard - and continues throughout life as children imitate drum patterns with their voices, patting their bodies, and playing on boxes and cans. They learn songs, dances, and bell, rattle, and drum styles, and come to understand the significance of each drum-dance drama to a community’s history and way of life. One aspect of this developed musical sense is the ability to conceive, hear, dance, and play tones, timbres, rhythms, and time in multiple ways at the same time, including the juxtaposition of the shortest one- or twostroke motives within the conversations of the drum orchestra. This process can range from variations in rattle, bell, or supporting drum parts to extended traditional patterns and improvisations by the master drummer, who can yet shift the perception of time and beat in the ensemble with the alteration of a single stroke. These layers are also expressed through movements in different parts of dancers’ bodies simultaneously and successively. We can bring this life sense to drumset, implying the multiple layers of time in a Ghanaian dance drumming ensemble through the different limbs we use. GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 1
Play the ganugbagba bell pattern or any of the timelines on cymbal throughout this section. You can also bring the swing cymbal rhythm for a jazz feel.
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 2
Begin with your left hand and play a sixbeat feel in the two positions given, freely creating your own patterns among snare and toms over the cymbal timeline and a bass drum-high hat heartbeat in dotted quarters. This feel is heard in axatse, kagaN, and lead drum variations.
Now try these independent patterns on bass drum and high hat alone with the cymbal rhythm and the left hand freely answering on snare and toms. Next, divide each pattern, alternating between bass drum and high hat, bass drum and left hand, high hat and left hand, and finally among all three, so that you can have one, two, or three layers of time speaking around the drumset plus the bell cycle on cymbal. Listen as you play and hear your feet as other independent voices, just like your hands on snare, toms, and cymbals, free from keeping time, and able to shape the conversation both in the drumset and with other players. You can improvise the sequence of left hand, high hat, and bass drum to create a constantly changing texture in an ensemble.
RAINY SEASON 155
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 3
The patterns below bring the six-beat feel to bass drum and high hat under left hand cross sticks and tom sounds. The pattern B and E bass drum suggest the open bombo note in Afro-Cuban music while the pattern F bass drum parallels a deep-toned drum rhythm played by Native American peoples to accompany flute ensembles in the Andes mountains of South America and singers on the great plains of North America. You can also vary the high hat to state the dotted quarter pulse for a different feel.
NYA AKOMA PATIENCE AND ENDURANCE
MAKING CLAY POTS
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 4
Change from a six- to a four-beat grouping, seen in dancersâ€™ foot and body movements, in its three positions over the dotted quarter beat. As before, play each limb alone under the bell cycle or jazz swing pattern on ride cymbal, and then combine two limbs at a time in alternation, using the previous six-beat patterns as a guide. When these sound strong, divide the patterns among all three - high hat, bass drum, left hand - and freely vary the order of sounds to create changing layers of time, tone, and timbre, reflecting the variations of axatse, kagaN, and gadzoâˆšuga.
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 5
Now play a three-beat pattern in its four positions over the dotted-quarter beat in the same manner, bringing this feel through the limbs and around the drumset, as a dancer expresses multiple rhythms in different parts of the body. These beat expressions add and intensify space around a soloist.
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 6
You can also play these shifting rhythms as two-stroke patterns in a four feel or a three feel between high and low toms, high hat and bass drum, left hand and high hat, left hand and bass drum, or freely divide them among all three limbs and parts of the kit in conversation with the ganugbagba phrase, the twelve-eight timelines, or the jazz swing rhythm on cymbal. With bass drum-high hat combinations, play the left hand patterns of Gadzo drumset example 14 given earlier or freely fill in the space. FOUR FEEL
GGGGGGGG THREE FEEL
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 7
Try some three-stroke phrases I have heard as drum variations around the drumset in the same manner.
GGGGGGGG Time layers inside each beat
ther dramatic action in the ensemble brings to life rhythmic feels over the timeline that divide each dotted quarter main beat, especially at medium and slow tempos.
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 8
I observed women moving and playing axatse variations that expressed an even series of eight pulses in the time span of the 12/8 bell, two per beat, each stroke and movement a dotted eighth in western notation, as given in axatse variation F earlier. The sound lifted the dancers and drummers, adding a duple feel over the underlying three pulses per beat. The excitement of this music connected with my memories of jazz drummer Clifford Jarvis playing even eighths on snare in a medium tempo 4/4 triplet swing, and one of his 12/8 Afro Latin grooves. As with each of the left hand rhythms in this section, when Cliffordâ€™s groove feels comfortable, freely shape the pattern of cross sticks and toms for tonal variety. You can also play a jazz swing cymbal pattern in four-four over one measure, or three-four for each dotted-quarter beat. These styles add spice to ensemble music in a slow twelve-eight or four-four triplet feel, or a medium-fast three-four groove.
center: dadzezor and korsiwari singing at a kopeyia dance drumming
CLIFFORD JARVISâ€™ GROOVES
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 9
This duple feel can be intensified at a medium to slow pace by playing four strokes per beat against the triple beat subdivision, as I heard in a performance at Aflao town, Ghana, on the Gulf of Guinea near the border with Togo. The lead and support drummers were calling and responding to a number of styles with dance movements in a powerful sixteen feel over the triple 12/8 bell timeline, sounding like a double time explosion. Play this feel in your left hand with the bell pattern on cymbal.
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLEs 10 and 11
One of the Aflao ensembleâ€™s support drum responses accented open tones on the upbeats of this sixteen-pulse feel, matching kagaN variation B given earlier. Try this first as cross sticks at a medium and slow tempo, and then as alternating snare cross sticks and tom sounds under the ganugbagba timeline on cymbal and a bass drum-high hat heartbeat. High hat reflects the basic kagaN phrase.
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 12
Now play this rhythm at a fast tempo to drive the time, again as cross sticks and then as alternating pairs of cross sticks and tom tones. You can omit the first or second cross stick of each pair to leave more space. Bass drum and high hat outline four beats per measure at a higher speed.
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 13
One kagaN slow and medium tempo style (variation A given earlier) creates an eight over twelve feel, but strikes just after the first and on the third partial of each main beat, stretching the time. Play this time feel at a medium or slow tempo with alternating tom and cross stick sounds, and then create your own phrases.
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 14
The kagaN variation C rhythm given earlier is in an eight over twelve feel that emphasizes the second partial and leads to the second half of the third partial of each beat, pulling the time even more. Try this with alternating cross stick and tom strokes at a slow or medium pace, and then vary your left hand sounds.
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 15
Some dance movements and drum rhythms at a slow tempo convey a doubled time sense, twenty-four pulses across the span of the bell cycle. You can imply this feel with cross sticks and toms in offbeat sixteenths answering each of the twelve underlying eighth notes marked on bass drum and high hat under the 12/8 timeline or swing feel played on cymbal. Left hand phrases can answer a cross stick with two tom sounds or alternate evenly. When you can hear the patterns given as you play, create your own voice among snare and toms.
GGGGGGGG LEFT HAND PATTERNS
These styles of shifting tones and timbres in multiple layers of time and rhythm give the drumset a dynamic voice that parallels its ancestors in the drum dance ensembles of West Africa.
GGGGGGGG MULTIPLE RHYTHMIC PERSPECTIVES SHIFTED BEAT SERIES AND STARTING POINTS
SUGARCANE AT MARKET
given rhythm such as the Gadzo ganugbagba bell pattern has a time span, in western terms twelve eighth notes, or 12/8 time. We can play this rhythm, heard often in the music of the Eâˆše people, over a six-, four-, three-, or other beat feel within the span of the twelve eighth notes. Each will have a different number of beat subdivisions: two for each of the six beats, three for each of the four beats, four for each of the three beats, and so on. The rhythm will sound different in each beat grouping.
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 16
A rhythm can also sound different based on its starting point relative to the underlying beats. With the Gadzo bell cycle, pat the ganugbagba left hand four beat grouping with your feet in dotted quarters and clap the right hand timeline. Now shift the bell rhythm, ‘beginning’ on each of the twelve successive pulses of the time span, over a constant bass drum-high hat foundation, creating twelve different rhythms, each one a different starting point of the original E√e bell pattern. We can adapt this technique of shifting beat groupings and starting points to the drumset. Keeping the ganugbagba bell cycle on cymbal, play a four beat grouping in dotted quarters alternating between bass drum and high hat. Now shift the bell pattern along the twelve pulses of its time span over the bass drum-high hat heartbeat. Hear how each is a different rhythm created from the same sequence of strokes. The shifted ganugbagba rhythm beginning on the eighth pulse of the time 169
GGGGGGGG span is commonly heard among the Ga people of south-central coastal Ghana and has been played by many Afro Latin and jazz drummers such as Clifford Jarvis and Edward Blackwell. Next, add cross sticks and toms to the phrase. As you play try to hear both the new rhythm and the original timeline in its altered position over the constant bass drum and high hat. This time and rhythmic transposition parallels a jazz soloist extending tonalities over a harmony, each creating a different harmonic and groove feeling.
12 POSITIONS OF THE SHIFTED GADZO TIMELINE FOUR BEAT FEEL
GGGGGGGG beginning on the sixth pulse
GGGGGGGG When these grooves feel comfortable try a constant left hand pattern of alternating snare cross sticks and tom sounds on the third partial of each of the four main beats, shifting only the cymbal timeline. LEFT HAND â€“ CROSS STICKS AND TOMS
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 17
Another approach to left hand patterns is to fill the spaces between cymbal strokes among snare and toms as you hear them, similar to our work with the axatse drumset styles earlier in drumset example 6. The left hand patterns in these filled in spaces create a 2-3 or 3-2 counter rhythm corresponding to the Adzro bell timeline we found in our work with Gadzo reggae grooves (reggae examples 4 and 5). You can emphasize this voice, hearing how it changes as you move along the twelve pulses of the time span in four-, six-, and three-beat feels. Transpose the left and right hand combinations across the twelve pulses of the time span.
folivi at an OLD TREE in kopeyia
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 18
A third way is to play the left hand together with the shifting cymbal pattern, reinforcing the timeline as we did in drumset example 3. Try the cross stick-tom phrases given and then create your own.
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 19
We can shift the same set of rhythms in a six-beat or a three-beat feel over the twelve underlying eighth note pulses of the bell timeline. Bass drum and high hat outline the six feel.
12 POSITIONS OF THE SHIFTED GADZO TIMELINE SIX BEAT FEEL
funtumfunafu denkyemfunafu, won afuru bom, nso woredIdI a na woreko Need for unity particularly where there is one destiny
Now try a constant left hand pattern of alternating cross stick and tom tones as before, shifting only the cymbal timeline.
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 20
You can also fill the spaces between cymbal strokes among snare and toms, moving the left and right hand combinations across the twelve pulses of the time span.
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 21
Play the left and right hand together with the shifting cymbal timeline. Begin with the cross stick-tom phrases given and then create your own.
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 22
12 POSITIONS OF THE SHIFTED GADZO TIMELINE THREE BEAT FEEL In three-beat groupings the twelve pulses are changed from eighths to sixteenths to fit in 3/4 time, marked by bass drum high hat.
Sylvanus doing chores in kopeyia
LEFT HAND â€“ CROSS STICKS AND TOMS
When these layers feel solid, add left hand patterns in the same manner as before: unshifting cross sticks and tom tones, spaces between bell strokes, left and right hand together, and your own combinations.
mpuannum nkotimsofo puaa five tufts of hair a traditional hair style
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 23
GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 24
GGGGGGGG GADZO multiple rhythmic perspectives EXAMPLE 25
You can play a longer bell phrase on cymbal by joining different timelines or shifted versions of the same rhythm, one after the other. This creates an expanding groove and more space to add left hand rhythms in any style of music, and can be extended over a six-, four-, three-, or other bass drum-high hat feel. Try the sequence given, which includes the ganugbagba timeline beginning on the eighth, fifth, third, and first (original) pulses of the time span, and then make your own.
Each rhythm is a universe of sound, with many starting points and beat feels, and these variations are powerful ways to shape time and motion under a soloist or ensemble.
GGGGGGGG GADZO RHYTHMS WITH BRUSHES
GADZO brush EXAMPLEs 1 and 2
Brushes have a sound similar to the axatse gourd rattle. Try the ganugbagba bell pattern first as left hand brush tap or cross stick strokes on snare and later adding toms. Add right hand brush strokes as continuous triplet slides on snare over a bass drum-high hat heartbeat. You can also play the altered kagaN rhythm from Gadzo drumset example 14 in your left hand. Throughout this section substitute any of the other timelines for the ganugbagba rhythm. Leaving out the bass drum will create a more open jazz feel. This style is connected to brush examples 5 and 6 on the DVD. Note: In this section when two brushes are played on snare the snare drum is notated on two different spaces on the staff to make the individual rhythms clearer. The taps are written on the traditional snare drum space and the slides are written above the staff.
GADZO brush EXAMPLEs 3 and 4
Now voice ganugbagba and the altered kagaN phrase as left hand taps with right hand brush tap-slides in the spaces between left hand strokes. You can omit the second of two successive tap-slides for a smoother sound.
GADZO brush EXAMPLEs 5 and 6
Next, play right hand brush taps in the spaces between left hand cross sticks. Begin on snare and move the taps around the toms, including mute as well as open tom sounds for timbral variety. You can also move your left hand stick around the kit in the same manner. Mute the drums by pressing the brush against the drumhead on stroke contact. Listen to the improvisation on the video and create your own tonal and timbral shapes.
GADZO brush EXAMPLE 7
For the altered kagaN rhythm, keep brush taps on snare and move your left hand stick to toms.
yaotse agbeli 185
GGGGGGGG BRUSH/STICK VOICE TONES GADZO brush/stick EXAMPLE 1
Try the ganugbagba rhythm with the butt end of your stick at the edge of a snare (snares off) or tom head while right hand brush taps, mutes, and tap-slide strokes muffle and bend the tones, filling in the spaces between left hand stick strokes. You can create your own voice tones by varying left hand sounds to include rim and rim shot strokes and changing right hand attack, pressure, slide, and placement.
GHANAIAN HOME 186
GGGGGGGG GADZO RHYTHMS WITH HANDS
ou can bring Gadzo rhythms to the drumset with a hand technique, creating a direct sound from your
GADZO drumset hand example 1
Play the ganugbagba timeline on snare drum (snares off) with your left hand as open tones, mute tones, or a combination of the two. Join this with the kagaN phrase as right hand strokes on low tom. Voicing the kagaN rhythm as alternate mute and open stroke pairs suggests dondo high-low tones. Bass drum and high hat give a four-beat pulse. You can also try the bell pattern or any of the other rhythms with one hand on a cymbal, cymbal bell, or a low tom shell as a contrasting timbre to the drum sounds with your other hand. This softer style is effective in music with a lighter feel, such as a bass solo. lh snare rh low tom
m o m o
bass drum high hat
GADZO drumset hand example 2
Now reverse hand rhythms, sounding the kagaN and dondo phrases with your left hand on snare and ganugbagba with your right hand on low tom. Try the muteopen patterns given and then create your own. You can also play the kagaN rhythm on high tom, as on the video, due to the inverted snar drum.
GADZO drumset hand example 3
Complement the ganugbagba timeline on snare with a rhythm from Hatsiatsia E√e bell ensemble music on low tom. Play low bell tones as open tom strokes and high tones as mute strokes.
Now try each left hand rhythm with the tips of your second, third, and fourth fingers at the edge of the snare drumhead for a higher-pitched intense tak sound that reflects North African and Middle Eastern hand drumming. You can create additional layers of time with these hand rhythms by using the bass drum-high hat patterns in the section on shifting time feels, Multiple Rhythmic Perspectives examples 2-5, and the variations given for Gadzo Timelines example 2. The six-beat feels drive the time. 188
adzo is an intense dance drumming whose bell pattern is heard throughout Eâˆšeland in Ghana and Togo. We have adapted its rhythms to drumset through instrumental sounds, âˆšugbe drum language, multiple rhythmic perspectives, and timelines into basic, jazz, gospel, highlife, reggae, funk, and hip
hop styles with sticks, brushes, and hand techniques. West African drum ensembles such as Gadzo bring together many stories in layers of time, tone, timbre, accent, and rhythm to sound as one. The drumset can, in its own way, speak with a multiple yet unified voice.
ohene tuo defender and protector of the king
The lashibi drummers of Anyako playing kinka
The Lashibi drum orchestra, including dorni ekpe ahlidza, kaga ; Kobla dogbe, Kidi; and olu nudzor gbeti, boba
inka (pronounced KING-kah) is a popular recreational dance drumming among the ANlO-E√e people of southeastern Ghana. Its themes express the openness and freedom desired by the younger generation in contemporary African societies. There are seven instruments in the Kinka ensemble, led by the tall, deep-toned atsime√u master drum. Its low, middle, and high tones interact with songs, call dance movements, initiate dialogues with the support ensemble, and convey textual meanings through the drum language known as √ugbe. The iron double bell gaNkogui states a repeating threestroke timeline reinforced by leg and hand sounds of the axatse gourd rattle. This timeline is known as one-measure clave in Afro-Cuban music. Sharp, high-pitched paired offbeat strokes of the slender kagaN drum drive the ensemble, while medium- and low-pitched kidi and sogo drums speak in unison,
answering the calls of atsime√u. The basic kidi and sogo rhythm outlines main beats expressed in dancers’ foot movements. KagaN, kidi, and sogo are played with sticks. The large boba drum speaks in a low-pitched voice, creating a bed of sound under the ensemble. It is played with a hand technique as a support drum in Kinka, and its open tones, reflecting kidi and sogo rhythms, are complemented by bass tones rooting the pulse in the earth. Experience the conversations among the Kinka ensemble voices with the Anyako Lashibi community on the video and try to hear the changing texture of rhythms, tones, and timbres that reflect language.
KINKA ENSEMBLE 1-3 E E PEOPLE
ddddddddd kinka DRUMSET STYLES
emmanuel Kwaku agbeli teaching kinka in kopeyia village with folivi and papa observing
Kinka drumset example 1
I have heard many bell patterns and variations similar to the Kinka timeline in different villages, each rhythm with its own personality. To adapt them for drumset we add strokes to the basic gaNkogui phrase, creating a more active sound. Begin with the rhythms on cymbal over alternating bass drum-high hat quarter note heartbeats to bring them inside your hearing. You can play each timeline on the body or bell of a cymbal or slightly opened high hat, the side of your low tom, or as highpitched rim shots with the tip of your stick near the edge of the snare drumhead, each with its own voice.
ddddddddd KINKA TIMELINE/CYMBAL VARIATIONS
kontire ne akwam Elders of the state
ddddddddd Another cymbal style is a double time swing feel.
kinka drumset example 2
You can also vary bass drum and high hat for more activity or a double time feel.
BASS DRUM VARIATION
HIGH HAT VARIATIONS
kinka drumset example 3
Begin with the gaNkogui bell timeline on cymbal over a bass drum-high hat heartbeat and the kagaN phrase as alternating pairs of high and low tom tones implying a double time feel. You can reverse the high-low sequence of the tom pattern for a different sound. I have heard Elvin Jones use this groove under a blistering Sonny Fortune saxophone solo. Try gaNkogui variations and some snare cross sticks as on the video.
kinka drumset example 4
Now divide the gaNkogui pattern among bass drum, toms, and snare cross sticks under a cymbal variation.
COOKING PALM OIL 197
kinka drumset example 5
With the gaNkogui rhythm and its variations on snare and toms, play kagaN as high hat stick strokes over bass drum on two and four. This is a strong medium or slow tempo reggae groove that is intensified by applying the thicker stick shoulder at an angle across the edge of the high hat. Regular strokes, cross sticks, or high-pitched rim shots each give a different flavor to the snare voice. You can also adapt this as a fast, driving style with high hat foot strokes in quarter notes answered by stick strokes on cymbal or high hat bell.
ddddddddd √UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE
DRUMMING AND DANCING Gahu IN KOPEYIA VILAGE
ugbe drum language is an essential part of E√e dance drumming, initiated by the lead drum and completed by the entire drum orchestra. It reflects the low, middle, and high tones of the E√e language, marked in the pronunciation syllables after each saying as 1 for low, 2 for midrange, and 3 for high. Its messages are conveyed through the symbolism of sayings, metaphors, or proverbs rather than direct speech. The master drummer, a poet and composer, creates a drum poetry that acts as an intellectual stimulus to listeners, making connections between images and stories and a deeper inner meaning. We will use √ugbe as the focus for Kinka drumset styles. KEY
ATSIME U LEAD DRUM UGBE STROKES AND THEIR SOUNDS
ga - weak hand bass de - strong hand stick open gi - weak hand open ki - weak hand mute to - strong hand stick bounced mute with weak hand pressing drumhead ka - stick stroke on side/shell of drum body dza - combination of weak hand ga and strong hand stick ka dzi - combination of weak hand ki and strong hand stick ka
√UGBE example 1
The first E√e text is Ga tO vi vi (pronounced gah1 taw3 vee2 vee2) whose literal meaning, “Big ones are sweet, sweet” can be translated, “As a large fruit, life is sweet.” In √ugbe drum language the words ga tO are played as low and high ‘ga’ and ‘to’ atsime√u sounds with vi vi expressed as medium-pitched open kidi and sogo tones.
drumset example 1
This metaphor is adapted to drumset with low ‘ga’ sounds as bass drum on beats one and three answered by kidi/sogo open tones on high and low toms. Another bass drum stroke reflecting ‘to’ drives the rhythm. You can alter the first stroke of each tom pair as a snare cross stick for timbral contrast. This is a fat solid rhythm you can groove in, just like the meaning of the E√e text.
√UGBE example 2
The E√e saying Gba dza dzi (spoken as gbah1 jah1 jee3) stands for “In an open place,” meaning in this context “I will express myself freely in public.” Gba dza is represented in √ugbe as ‘ga’ and ‘de’ atsime√u sounds followed by dzi as two rapid kidi/sogo open tones.
bibio, atsupui, and yaotse kinka
drumset example 2
A literal drumset expression brings the low-pitched atsime√u ‘ga’ and ‘de’ to bass drum and low tom answered by kidi/sogo open tones on high tom. Atsime√u’s ‘ka’ stroke can be heard as part of the gaNkogui timeline on cymbal or the high hat pulse. Accenting the bass drum voice brings a ‘kick’ to this groove, lighting a fire under a soloist.
drumset example 3
Moving ‘ga’ and ‘de’ to snare cross stick and high hat creates a lighter feel with more space.
√UGBE example 3
The E√e words me va kpoe me gbe (vocalized as meh2 vah2 kpway3 meh2 gbeh3) literally mean, “I came to see, but I disagree,” and are translated as “Appearances can be deceiving, reality is different than it appears.”
drumset example 4
The kidi/sogo mute and open tone phrase, reflected by the boba drum, creates a powerful groove. Play open strokes on low and high toms, with some mute strokes as snare cross sticks. While keeping the rhythm constant, you can freely vary the pattern of low and high tom sounds.
Yaotse agbeli having fun 203
√UGBE example 4
The metaphor Devia bu ∂e ge kpO (sounded as day2 veeah3 boo3 deh2 gyay2 kpaw2) stands for “The child was lost ” (in Accra, Ghana’s large capital city). Its inner meaning is “People’s identity and values can be lost in the big city.” Devia is voiced by atsime√u ‘ga’ and ‘de’ sounds, bu ∂e ge by ‘ki-de ga,’ and kpO by ‘to.’
drumset example 5
Kidi and sogo open tones reinforce the atsime√u drum language and are brought to bass drum in a funk groove with snare backbeats and a double time feel on high hat. You can freely move snare strokes to toms for tonal contrast.
SE DIE FOFOO PE NE SE GYINANTWI ABO BIDIE WHAT THE FOFOO PLANT WANTS IS THAT THE GYINANTWI SEEDS SHOULD TURN BLACK - SYMBOL OF JEALOUSY
√UGBE example 5
Sakabo devia gble ge (pronounced sah2 kah2 boh3 day2 veeah3 gblyeh2 geh2) freely translates as “Evil influence can corrupt the young and innocent.” It is reflected in √ugbe through atsime√u’s ‘de gi-de ga de gi-de’ and kidi/sogo open strokes.
drumset example 6
Boba can play a bass sound on the first beat, under the atsime√u ‘ka’ stroke. Join this bass tone with with the √ugbe rhythm played among bass drum, snare, and toms in a highlife style. Accented or open high hat stick strokes on the ‘ands’ of each beat will lift the time.
√UGBE example 6
The E√e saying Sakabo xoxo gbe ka gbe gbO, gbe ka gbe gbO (spoken as sah2 kah2 boh3 ho3 ho3 gbeh2 kah2 gbeh3 gbaw2, gbeh2 kah2 gbeh3 gbaw2) conveys the meaning “Immoral person, evil things, troubles, why did you return? Leave!” This metaphor parallels the African American sensibility and aversion toward bad influences, events, or people, expressed in the blues. Sakabo is stated by the atsime√u phrase ‘ka . de gi-de gi de ga gi-de ga . ka . ka ga gi-de ga ka’ and open kidi/sogo tones coinciding with ‘de’ and ‘gi’ strokes. You can hear the drumming for this saying on the Kinka DVD ensembles 1-3 as well as the video for this example.
drumset example 7
Boba again plays a bass tone under the opening atsime√u ‘ka’ stroke. Combine the boba sound on the first beat with the √ugbe dialogue in a two-measure funk groove among bass drum, snare, and toms. Play the gaNkogui cycle on cymbal bell with a double time feel on high hat. When this pattern is comfortable, keep the dialogue rhythm and vary the pattern of sounds among the parts of your kit. You can also play the kidi/sogo response literally on toms as on the DVD for Kinka ensemble 3 and this example.
√UGBE example 7
Another E√e saying is Agbe ba∂a nOtO tso va (vocalised as ag1 beh2 bah1 dah1naw1 taw2 tsoh3 vah2) “You who lead an evil life, wake up and change yourself before it’s too late.” Agbe ba∂a nOtO is represented by the atsime√u call ‘ga de gi-de gi to,’ while tso va is reflected in the kidi/sogo open tone response ‘ki ki-di.’ This drumming pattern is also heard on the DVD for Kinka ensemble 3.
drumset example 8
You can adapt these words to drumset with the atsime√u call as low tom, snare cross sticks, and cymbal bell strokes, and the kidi/sogo response on high tom, as on the video for Kinka √ugbe example 7. Playing the cymbal strokes as high-pitched snare rim shots near the edge of the head creates a ‘snapping’ sound used by Edward Blackwell. You can also play the second high tom stroke as a rim shot with your right hand, breaking up the rhythm as Edward often did. Another style is to play the kidi/sogo response on toms with the bell pattern on cymbal, as on the videos for Kinka ensemble 3, √ugbe example 7, and √ugbe drumset example 8.
Bowling for michael andrade 207
√UGBE example 8
The text Mie gbO gbagbe (sounded as meeah3 gbaw1 gbah2 gbeh2) literally means, “We returned alive” and imparts the message “We have made it back, we have survived; we will not be stopped.” Its √ugbe counterpart is voiced by atsime√u as ‘gi-de ga gi de ga.’
DWANNINI YE ASISIE A, ODE N’AKORANA NA ENNYE NE MBEN IT IS THE HEART AND NOT THE HORNS THAT LEADS A RAM TO BULLY 208
√UGBE drumset example 9
Kidi/sogo mute strokes and open tones on mie and gba reinforce the drum language. Try the open sounds on toms with some mute strokes as snare cross sticks, while bass drum outlines the atsime√u ‘ga’ on beats one and three.
YOUNG WOMAN DANCER AT AFLAO kinka
√UGBE drumset example 10
You can also play the kidi/sogo pattern literally between toms and snare cross sticks or high-pitched rim shots near the edge of the drumhead for a different feel. The snare voice will also work on cymbal.
√UGBE example 9
The metaphor Me va gbe me nu gbe, me gbetO nO gbe NutO (pronounced meh2 vah3 gbeh2 meh2 new3 gbeh2, meh2 gbeh2 taw2 gnaw1 gbeh2 gnew3 taw2) stands for the words “We have come to the adventures of life, human beings experiencing real life.” Its inner meaning can be translated as “We come to experience this life, let us embrace it with joy.”
drumset example 11
Kidi and sogo mute and open tones reinforce the atsime√u phrase, and create a strong funk style for drumset. Play open sounds on bass drum and mutes among snare and toms, with a double time feel on high hat. Let the snare stroke bounce across beat four of the first measure to intensify the groove. You can freely vary the sequence of snare and tom strokes within the rhythm for tonal motion.
√UGBE example 10
Mi kpO dzi, mi kpO dzidzO dzidzO kpO kpO me (pronounced mee2 kpaw2 jee1, mee2 kpaw2 jee1 jaw1 jee1 jaw1 kpaw2 kpaw2 meh2) conveys the idea “You should not let things break you, be cool and happy in life.” It is voiced by the atsime√u sounds ‘to de ki, to de ki de ki ga de gi-de ki ki ki,’ and open kidi/sogo strokes matching with ‘ki.’
drumset example 12
Play open kidi/sogo tones on bass drum with some mutes as snare cross sticks and tom sounds in a highlife funk style. Cross sticks can also be played as regular snare strokes.
sagunorshi with her child kinka
√UGBE example 11
The saying GbatO mi va kpO (vocalized as gbah3 taw2 mee2 vah2 kpaw1) “First person, come and be the witness,” signifies “There is something good, come and experience it.” GbatO is expressed literally by the atsime√u call ‘ga to’ as well as the variation given here, ‘de-gi de-ga.’ Mi va kpO is spoken by the kidi and sogo open tone answer, ‘ki di ki.’
drumset example 13
Try the atsime√u variation call among cymbal bell, snare cross sticks, and low tom, with the kidi/sogo response on high tom. Changing the low tom sounds to snare cross sticks brings a lighter feel. The resulting cymbal pattern is the Kinka bell cycle shifted one sixteenth note later.
drumset example 14
Voicing the atsime√u call among high hat stick strokes, snare cross sticks, and bass drum creates a highlife reggae beat.
KIDS’ GAME: sokpoli, dzigbordi, kwablavi, yaotse 213
√UGBE example 12
√ui ma ge ∂e me (sounded as vuee mah 3
geh2 deh2 meh2) means “Open the way, and let us in.” It is represented by the atsime√u phrase ‘ga gi-de gi-de ga’ and open kidi and sogo strokes reinforcing ‘gi-de.’
drumset example 15
Play the atsime√u rhythm as bass drum and tom sounds, with snare cross sticks filling the space between statements. You can vary the snare-tom pattern for timbral variety in a dialogue with a soloist.
THE FUTURE: emefa, edem, amina (front) godui, and emefa kinka
√UGBE example 13
The words Nuvivi le ata (pronounced new3 vee3 vee3 leh2 atah3) reflect the idea that “Life is sweet when you connect with others in a deep way.” It is communicated by the atsime√u pattern ‘de gi de ga to’ and open kidi and sogo tones striking with ‘de gi de’ and ‘to.’
drumset example 16
Bring the atsime√u voice to drumset as bass drum and tom sounds, with snare cross sticks suggesting kidi/sogo mute strokes. You can play high hat in a double-time feel to drive the time.
√UGBE example 14
The text Dzo va dzo va vivi vivi (spoken as dzoh2 vah3 dzoh2 vah3 vee3 vee3 vee3 vee3) “Jump in, jump in, sweet, sweet” freely translates as “You will enjoy getting involved.” It is expressed through the atsime√u tones ‘de ga de ga ki . ki . ka . ka ki . ki . ka . ka’ and kidi/sogo open sounds outlining ‘de’ and ‘ki’ on the words dzo and vivi.
drumset example 17
Adapt the atsime√u tones ‘ki’ and ‘de’ on toms and the sharp high-pitched ‘ka’ wood sound as snare cross sticks. Listen to the low-high tonal patterns with spaces between as you play and hear the whole phrase as a voice. When it feels comfortable, create your own tonal patterns within the rhythm.
√UGBE example 15
Mi va mi va ko mi va (vocalised as mee2 vah3 mee2 vah3 koh2 mee2 vah3) conveys the message “Don’t hesitate, everyone come and join the community.” It is spoken by atsime√u as ‘gi-de gi-de ga gi de . ga’ mirrored in kidi and sogo open tones.
drumset example 18
Try the atsime√u ‘gi and ‘de’ sounds and kidi/sogo open tones on low and high toms, with the deep ‘ga’ sound on bass drum answering and kicking the time. This active rhythm raises intensity in an ensemble.
afi MAKING DONUTS kinka
√UGBE example 16
The saying SO de me ko ko, sO de me, sO de me ko ko (sounded as saw1 deh2 meh1 koh2 koh2, saw1 deh2 meh1, saw1 deh2 meh1 koh2 koh2) can signify the advice “Get to the essence, the deepest level.”
drumset example 19
The kidi/sogo pattern of mute and open tones, reinforced by the boba drum, creates a strong groove. Bring open tones to toms and alternate mute strokes as snare cross sticks.
√UGBE example 17
Toyo, toyo, toyo, me vO agbe ya (pronounced taw2 yoh3, taw2 yoh3, taw2 yoh3, meh2 vaw3 agbeh2 yah2), literally “Fast Toyota, fast Toyota, fast Toyota (woman), I fear this fast life” is a metaphor that can mean “Independent woman, I am in awe of your fast life.” It is represented by the atsime√u sounds ‘ga-de ki . de ki . de ki . ka . ka gi de ki ki . ka . ka . ka . ka ka’ and open kidi and sogo strokes matching ‘ki.’ This √ugbe drumming is also heard on the video for Kinka ensemble 3.
√UGBE drumset example 20
Play atsime√u ‘ga, de, ki,’ and ‘gi’ sounds as low and high tom tones, with snare cross sticks filling spaces in the rhythm. This longer three-measure phrase has its own tonal shape reflecting atsime√u, kidi, and sogo low, medium, and high pitches. You can also hear this phrase on the DVD for Kinka ensemble 3.
√UGBE example 18
Ahiavia gbOna he, ahiavia gbOna he, ha ha (spoken as ah1 heah2 veeah3 gboh1 nah1 hey1, ah1 heah2 veeah3 gboh1 nah1 hey1, hah1 hah1) means “My friend is coming, and we’ll have a lot of fun.” It is expressed in the conversation between atsime√u’s ‘ga-de ki de de ki . ga-de ki de de ki ki dza . dza .’ and open kidi and sogo strokes coinciding with ‘ki.’
sunexue adzakpa drumset example 21
You can suggest the atsime√u-kidi/sogo dialogue with bass drum and toms speaking back and forth three eighth notes apart over the bell cycle on cymbal. This creates a three-beat feel driving the groove.
drumset example 22
Now add low tom or cross stick sounds matching with some atsime√u ‘de’ strokes for a more active conversation. Bass drum striking just before tom or cross stick sounds puts spice in the rhythm, as West African master drummers do with sharp hand or stick strokes.
Soccer victory celebration at kopeyia
he cry for freedom of expression among the younger generations in West Africa is the essence of Kinka music and dance. It is spoken in √ugbe, the language of the drums. The low, medium, and high pitches of lead and support
drums, bells, and rattles create a dynamic voice speaking from ancient times to the present. The different tones, timbres, and accents of the cymbals and drums of the drumset allow this instrument to also speak, echoing the talking drums of Africa.
epa - handcuffs ONII A NE PA DA WO NSA NO, NA N’AKOA NE WO YOU ARE THE SERVANT OF HIM/HER WHOSE HANDCUFFS YOU WEAR - INDEPENDENCE
Blood drum spirit ensemble performing in beijing, china, May 2006 pianist art hirahara, bassist wes brown, saxophonist david bindman, and drummer royal hartigan
nkonsonkonson we are linked in life and death those who share common blood relations never break apart
Aflao adzohu society
adzohu ensemble 1-10
Adzohu (pronounced ahd-zoh-WHO) is a sacred dance drumming played during devotional activities for Adzogbo, a war divinity of the FO people of Benin, West Africa. It is also played by the E√e people of Togo and Ghana. Religious worship includes invocation, a yearning for spiritual communion; consecration, preparing oneself for spiritual contact; and rites of gratitude and reverence. There are many activities and musical styles in Adzohu, including spiritual cleansing, calls to the shrine, intense dancing, and transitional interludes. Look for some of these on the video. You can also observe drumset rhythms that express elements of the dance drama in Adzohu DVD ensembles 8-10, such as the bell and rattle patterns on cymbal, kidi and sogo open tones on toms, and high hat foot strokes that reflect dancers’ intense torso movements (DVD ensemble 9). Adzohu was also an essential element of military culture in the ancient kingdom of Dahomey (modern state of Benin), and is associated with the last of its great rulers, TOgbui Kundo. Its song texts and dance movements are drawn from centuries of valued tactics, codes of honor, and stories of heroic acts. We will focus on two Adzohu dance drums, Kadodo (‘forming a circle’) and Ago (a word for yearning or summoning). The Adzohu ensemble is led by atsime√u, a tall deep-toned master drum whose rhythms cue dance movements, songs, and supporting drum dialogues. Atsime√u, as all the Adzohu drums, is a single-headed wooden drum whose animal skin head is stretched over a hoop and fastened to the body of the drum by means of wooden pegs. It is played from a standing position at an angle, resting on a stand that allows sound to come out of its open bottom end. Master drummers will at different times use two wooden sticks or one hand and one stick, creating many tones in the drum language, √ugbe. 226
FORMING A CIRCLE
PPPPPPPPPP KADODO In Kadodo the gaNkogui metal double bell speaks in high and low tones, giving the timeline or heartbeat. The gaNkogui rhythm has an extended time span of twenty-four pulses, creating more space for drum conversations.
KADODO ga kogui PATTERN
The Kadodo gaNkogui pattern can be heard as a long time cycle over twenty-four pulses grouped in threes into eight dottedquarter main beats, matching dancers’ foot movements.
You can also write the dotted-quarter triple feel as two measures of twelve-eight time.
Another way to feel this heartbeat is three identical phrases of eight pulses grouped in a duple pattern of four quarter notes each.
xatse is a gourd rattle with a netting of beads or small shells about its exterior that produces a strong swishing sound. It is held in the hand and struck against the opposite palm, the thigh, the forearm, or swung through the air. Its repeating three-stroke pulse drives the heartbeat, with leg strokes outlining a two feel, and the hand stroke suggesting a three feel, within each beat. The kushi rattles are small, woven, enclosed chambers with seeds or pebbles inside, speaking in a softer swishing voice than axatse. They are usually played with one in each hand, and snapped through the air. Kushi state a rapid repeating four-stroke phrase of right and left hand strokes that begins on each beat. Right hand strokes divide each beat into two while left hand strokes suggest a triple division.
Kaga being played next to Atsime u and axatse
Pat this rhythm with your hands on your thighs, right hand giving a two feel and left hand implying a three. I have also heard this rhythm played as an axatse variation. Now try the kushi rhythm by using your left hand as an axatse, slapping the back of your left hand against your right palm in an upward motion, and your left palm against your thigh in a downward motion. Hear the ‘two’ and ‘three’ pulse feels inside the pattern and how they create layers of time both within the rhythm and the ensemble. Kushi is a forerunner to similar basket rattles found in African American traditions such as the caxixi of Afro-Brazilian music.
These clapping techniques are also part of pattin’ juba and other African American body percussion styles African peoples used when their drums and other instruments were taken away during the 16th-19th centuries in the New World. By using the body as a drum, rhythms, styles of music making, and spiritual connection to an African heritage were kept inside the community, leading to the many African American traditions of the present day. KagaN is a slender, single-headed high-pitched drum that is open at the bottom. It is played with two thin sticks flat across the drumhead, giving a piercing ‘tak’ sound. It speaks a repeating phrase of two twostroke ‘flams’ that imply another, longer ‘three over two’ feel. KagaN variations fill out the span of its phrase with successive rapid strokes. Pat the kagaN rhythm with your left hand and the gaNkogui rhythm with your right hand on your thighs while your feet tap the main beats. Medium-sized kidi and larger-sized sogo are mediumand low-pitched wooden drums, respectively, which are closed at the bottom. They are usually played in a seated position with medium-sized wooden sticks striking in the center of the drumhead, producing open resonant tones and closed muted ones. While open tones define a rhythmic pattern, mute strokes add an underlying feel and complete a phrase. Kidi and sogo play a unison pattern of three open and three mute strokes in alternation. Open tones answer kagaN, creating an ongoing drum conversation under the heartbeat and pulse of gaNkogui, axatse, and kushi. Mi ya fia (kagaN; E√e language tones marked as 1 for low, 2 for midrange, and 3 for high, this is pronounced mee3 yah2 feah3) dzo-gbo-do (kidi/sogo; spoken as dzoh2 gboh2 doh3) can translate as “We will fight to the death, Adzogbo is on our side” (see Kadodo drumset example 8). Kadodo is played at a medium pace. Listen to the Aflao Adzohu society and Anyako Lashibi community performances on the video and hear the, atsime√u kagaN, kidi, and sogo drum conversation. Try to feel it in relation to the axatse pulse and the extended gaNkogui timeline.
ADZOHU KADODO ENSEMBLE 11 F AND E E PEOPLES
adzohu ensemble 6
Mi ya wu ha kumi he (pronounced me yah woo hah ko me hay) Behold this event.
TO melo wuli degbo he (taw meh low woo lee day boh hay) a crocodile killed an elephant.
TO melo ma nO yia go (taw meh low mah gnaw yeah go) A water being cannot survive on dry earth.
Egeli ma no hoesO (eh geh lee mah know hway saw) A land being cannot survive under water.
This song is derived from the fOn language. It is a message from the
war divinity to t gbui kundo, a legendary king of dahomey, now known as benin, an area east of ghana where many fOn people live. A contemporary inner meaning is that, just as a smaller crocodile can defeat the large, powerful elephant, so too can africans defeat the powerful colonial and neocolonial forces of oppression and genocide that make africa and the world a vast plantation.
Odenkyem da nsuo mu, nso onnhome nsuo, ohome mframa The crocodile lives in water; yet it breathes air, not water
There are a number of gaNkogui variations played in FO and E√e villages. Try clapping those given in example three while your feet pat the dotted quarter beat. 230
KADODO ga kogui VARIATIONS
The kagaN voice can likewise mold its space in many ways, one style taking a basic phrase (pattern A) filled in (pattern B), expanded by starting one eighth note earlier (pattern C), or intensified by shortlong sixteenth-eighth strokes in a duple feel (pattern D).
PPPPPPPPPP AGO Adzohu Ago drumming also has a longer bell pattern which can be heard in the same way as the Kadodo gaNkogui rhythm: three phrases (of three strokes rather than five), each over eight pulses, and each repetition with a different starting point in relation to the underlying beat series. The three repetitions span twenty-four pulses, grouped by threes into eight main beats. This cycle has fewer strokes and leaves more space in the time span than the Kadodo rhythm. Its threefold rhythmic structure reflects a traditional West African cry for help or danger known as asikpe. Clap the Ago gaNkogui timeline over its beat series and feel it as one complete rhythmic cycle.
Ago ga kogui pattern
As with Kadodo, the Ago gaNkogui timeline can be heard as a twenty-four pulse cycle grouped in a triple feel as eight main beats.
This bell cycle can be written in two measures of twelve-eight time with a triple feel.
PPPPPPPPPP You can also hear the pattern in a duple feel as three measures of four-four time.
The basic axatse rattle rhythm gives the pulse of Ago. Tap this pattern with your feet while you clap the gaNkogui timeline. The kushi voices a repeating two-stroke rhythm overlapping with axatse and kagaN. KagaN answers axatse with offbeat strokes, creating another layer of time under the bell cycle. Pat this rhythm with your left hand against your thigh and the gaNkogui cycle with your right hand while your feet tap the axatse pulse. Kidi and sogo play a unison pattern of open and mute tones answering kagaN and outlining main beats. Pat the kidi/sogo open tones with your left hand and the gaNkogui rhythm with your right hand over the basic pulse with your feet. Ago drumming explodes at a fast pace, with highly charged dance movements and singing, and often with trance. The dynamic interaction of the dancers, atsimeâˆšu, kidi, and sogo within the driving Ago ensemble of gaNkogui, axatse, kushi, and kagaN brings Adzohu music to a peak of drama, summoning Adzogbo in spiritual preparation for the mission of protecting the life of a community. Listen to the Aflao Adzohu society and Anyako Lashibi community performances on the video and hear the gaNkogui bell timeline over the axatse pulse and the atsimeâˆšu, kagaN, kidi, and sogo drum conversation.
kobla dogbe playing axatse
ADZOHU AGO ENSEMBLE 12-13 F AND E E PEOPLES
Some gaNkogui bell variations I have heard intensify the ensemble sound. The first three add strokes to the third threestroke phrase of the basic pattern. The next six variations add strokes to the first, second, thrid, or all three of the three-stroke phrases. The added strokes at the end of the timeline magnify the rhythm and demarcate the next bell cycle.
agO ga kogui VARIATIONS
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu KADODO DRUMSET STYLES
Playing drumset with the anyako lashibi drummers
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 1
The Kadodo gaNkogui timeline is a longer cycle than we have heard in many other West African drum ensembles, building a longer tension over twenty-four pulses grouped into eight beats. Play this rhythm on cymbal bell over a bass drum-high hat heartbeat. You can mute cymbal bell strokes that correspond to muted gaNkogui sounds throughout this section. The longer pattern brings a different feel to ensemble playing in any style of music, with more space for variation and accenting, and a different kind of forward motion.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 2
Now play left hand snare cross sticks and tom sounds emphasizing the third partial of each main beat, implying another layer of time.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 3
By shifting the snare-tom pattern to the second partial of each beat, yet another layer of time pushes the beat forward.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 4
Fill the spaces of the cymbal timeline with cross sticks and open and mute tom sounds. Keeping the same rhythms, vary the left hand voicings among snare (snares released), toms, cymbal bell, and slightly open high hat. This follows a West African practice of filling in a musical space with your own sound, which reflects the way people relate in village societies, leaving space for others, so that all are included.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 5
Outline the kagaN phrase as snare cross sticks and hear how it locks in with high hat in a three over two or twelve-beat feel inside the cymbal rhythm.
PPPPPPPPPP Shape the kagaN voice as cross stick-tom patterns in this twelve-beat feel with the phrases given, each with its own tonal shape. By freely combining the patterns you can create a constantly shifting motion within the groove. LEFT HAND VARIATIONS
Daviza Damali (l) and Olu Nudzor Gbeti (r) teaching Umass Dartmouth kekeli ensemble members the ANl Kete dance in anyako
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLEs 6 and 7
Try any of the kagaN variations given earlier as left hand cross sticks on snare or as snare-tom combinations. There are also many kagaN variations from other Eâˆše dance drums that can be played with the cymbal-gaNkogui timeline and bass drum-high hat heartbeat. When adapted to drumset, one gives a slow three feel over the basic beat in a repeating or alternating low-high tom tonal shape with cross sticks.
In each of these styles, vary your left hand among snare (snares released), cross sticks, toms, cymbal bell, and slightly open high hat to create a tonal motion.
PPPPPPPPPP KagaN – kidi/sogo CONVERSATION I CROSS STICKS AND TOMS
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 8
Now play the kagaN-kidi/sogo conversation as snare cross sticks and tom tones under the gaNkogui timeline on cymbal bell and a bass drum-high hat pulse. Play the sharp, high-pitched kagaN strokes as high-pitched snare cross sticks and medium- and low-pitched kidi and sogo open tones as medium- and lowpitched open tom tones. Begin at a slow pace to develop a quick wrist motion between snare and toms. Hear how this drumset conversation mirrors the E√e saying Mi ya fia dzogbodo (“We will fight to the death, Adzogbo is on our side!”).
PPPPPPPPPP LEAVING SPACE IN THE RHYTHM ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLES 9 AND 10
You can omit one of the three kidi/sogo strokes on toms, and each space gives the groove a different feel. Listen for the silences in the rhythm. As Max Roach told me, ‘What you don’t play is as important as what you play.’ Two phrases have paired strokes falling on the second and third partials of each beat, creating a rhythmic and tonal mirror whose spaces are filled by bass drum and high hat.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 11
Intensify this effect by ‘pulling’ the first of each pair to hit slightly earlier, and the second slightly later, in effect making them the same distance apart and creating a duple sound over the triple pulse. Try this feel with the two patterns given and then freely make your own with cross sticks and tom tones around the drums.
PPPPPPPPPP You can enhance the effect by playing your left hand rhythms somewhere between a duple and triple feel, a quality I have experienced while playing with many Eâˆše drummers. The tension of duple and triple (and somewhere between) pulse layers under a soloist will raise the music to another level. This is another example of the West African practice of creating a space for others.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 12
An abstract expression of the kagaN-kidi/ sogo conversation is playing kagaN on cymbal and kidi/sogo divided among cross sticks, toms, and high hat. You can double each cymbal stroke into two sixteenths to mirror kagaN or play any of the kagaN variations given earlier to raise intensity. You can also reverse the order of high hat and bass drum to fill the kidi/sogo space with bass drum tones on dotted-quarter beats two, four, six, and eight.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 13
You can open the space further by omitting two kidi/sogo open strokes on toms, with the remaining stroke falling right after (pattern A), just before (pattern B), or halfway between (pattern C) kagaN/snare cross sticks.
In each style, try varying the pattern of cross sticks and tom sounds while keeping the rhythm constant, as in patterns D-G. When I played patterns D, E, and F for some elders in the community, they told me the tom and cross stick tones sounded like their advice to me about life’s ‘old ills’: “Get down, get up!”
When these patterns feel comfortable, create your own sequence of cross sticks and toms within the rhythms of these snare/tom variations. You can combine phrases from one style with others, constantly shifting the layers of time, tonal shapes, and timbral motions with your left hand over the gaNkogui timeline and the bass drum-high hat heartbeat.
KagaN – kidi/sogo CONVERSATION II adding bass drum ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 14
You can also play the Adzohu Kadodo kagaN-kidi/sogo conversation between left hand and bass drum. Keep the kagaN mi ya fia as snare cross sticks and divide the dzogbo-do kidi/sogo tones between bass drum and toms. Dzo-gbo as bass drum followed by do on high or low tom gives a reggae feel.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 15
Dzo on bass drum followed by gbo-do on toms gives bass drum an offbeat voice that Freeman Kwadzo Donkor told me ‘kicks the time.’
KagaN â€“ kidi/sogo CONVERSATION Iii SNARE CROSS STICKS AND TOMS WITHOUT CYMBAL ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 16
Jazz drummers Lenny McBrowne, Richard DiNicola, Chick Babbitt, and Edward Blackwell have developed drumset styles that move right hand from cymbal to join left hand on snare and toms in an active texture. Try the kagaN, kidi, and sogo voices with both sticks on snare and toms over a bass drum-high hat pulse. Using the four kagaN variations given earlier in the ensemble section, listen for the space of each voice, alternating as a call and response. One way to hear a starting point for the conversation is marked with an asterisk in this example. For pattern A from the earlier variations, play kagaN strokes as sharp, high-pitched flams on snare (snares released) between regular and cross stick sounds. Low and high tom tones give the kidi/sogo answer to kagaNâ€™s call.
PPPPPPPPPP Drumset grooves for kagaN variation patterns B, C, and D alternate regular (right hand) and cross stick (left hand) strokes on snare with tom tones.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 17
When these grooves feel comfortable mix the patterns, playing two, three, or all four within one bell cycle, as in this example with patterns A and D, substituting tom and bass drum sounds.
You can bring some snare strokes to toms, substitute bass drum for some tom sounds, or answer the kagaN patterns on snare with the same patterns on toms. Finally, hear each voice as a three-eighth-note space, and fill each space with your own rhythms, maintaining the call and response sound. This style brings a West African feel to the drumset.
PPPPPPPPPP KUSHI RHYTHMS
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 18
The kushi basket rattles add rhythmic intensity in the Adzohu Kadodo ensemble with the right hand sounding a two feel and left hand a three feel (Adzohu Kadodo ensemble 11). This two-three composite can be voiced on drumset between the hands over a bass drum-high hat pulse and is effective at a medium to slow tempo.
The kushi voice parallels one common jazz ride cymbal rhythm expanded into threefour time.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 19
Begin with the right hand rattle two-feel as right hand rim shot strokes near the edge of the snare drumhead (snares off). Fill out the pattern with left hand threefeel rattle strokes as left hand snare cross sticks and tom sounds. You can add an extra tom stroke to push the rhythm even more. Try your right hand duple strokes as high hat or cymbal stick sounds. In each case the distinct timbre of your right hand allows the two-three motives to stand out. You can emphasize the duple or triple feel by accenting either hand, or weave them together by balancing the handsâ€™ loudness or softness.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 20
Now play bass drum and high hat in a three feel, reinforcing left hand strokes. By playing the high hat with your right stick in this style you can bring out a dynamic two-three sound on high hat that drives the groove. Your right stick on cymbal creates a smoother effect.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 21
With your right hand on cymbal, change the duple motive to the composite kushi pattern, suggesting a jazz rhythm in a three feel, and creating another layer of time over the bass drumâ€“high hat groove and your left hand snare-tom patterns.
ADZOHU KADODO DRUMSET EXAMPLE 22
You can also bring the two feel to bass drum and high hat under the three feel of left hand and cymbal.
PPPPPPPPPP √UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE
ATSIME√U DIALOGUES WITH KIDI AND SOGO IN KADODO
tsime√u speaks in a drum language called √ugbe, which is related to the pitches, volume, and rhythms of E√e speech. The low, middle, and high tones of E√e language are marked in the pronunciation syllables after each
saying below as 1 for low, 2 for midrange, and 3 for high. These sounds are communicated to dancers, singers, and the other drummers of the Adzohu ensemble, often through dialogues.
ATSIME U lead drum
strokes and their sounds
Seshie Adonu Ladzekpo dancing with Kobla Dogbe and Olu Nudzor Gbeti drumming
ga - weak hand bass de - strong hand stick open gi - weak hand open ki - weak hand mute to - strong hand stick bounced mute with weak hand pressing drumhead ka - stick stroke on side/shell of drum body dza - combination of weak hand ga and strong hand stick ka dzi - combination of weak hand ki and strong hand stick ka
∂√∂ ADZOHU KADODO
√UGBE EXAMPLE 1
You can adapt the atsime√u voice and its conversations with kidi and sogo to the drumset. To get a feel of the rhythmic interplay, try patting the Kadodo gaNkogui timeline with your right hand on your right thigh, the kidi/sogo basic and dialogue patterns with your left hand on your left thigh, and the basic dotted-quarter beat in alternating right-left foot taps. Kidi and sogo move from their basic conversation with kagaN to dialogues with atsime√u that reflect dance movements. Three of these are given here. In one a fourstroke atsime√u ‘dza . dza . dza dza .’ call is answered by six kidi/sogo open tones, ‘ki di ki di ki di,’ repeated until atsime√u cues a return to the basic kidi/sogo pattern. While ‘dza’ is a drum sound, it can also signifiy ‘prepare’ in E√e, as the advice to prepare for war.
ADZOHU KADODO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 1
Play the ‘dza’ sounds on low-pitched bass drum answered by kidi/sogo as snare cross sticks with the gaNkogui cycle as high hat stick strokes. This is a fat funk echo sound. You can bring the atsime√u ‘ki’ sounds to this funk groove by playing three alternate cross sticks, omitting those in parentheses. A more literal style is to play the kidi/sogo response as tom sounds with your left hand and the bell pattern with your right hand on cymbal, as on the Kadodo √ugbe example 1 video and the Kadodo √ugbe drumset video for examples 1-7. This drumset DVD segment includes the kagaN voice played with high hat foot strokes, as in the high hat variation for Kadodo √ugbe drumset example 6 below.
ADZOHU KADODO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 2
Reversing functions so that the atsime√u call becomes snare cross sticks and the kidi/sogo responses are bass drum tones creates a reggae feel. You can play three alternate bass drum strokes to reflect the atsime√u ‘ki’ sounds instead of kidi and sogo, leaving more space in the groove.
PPPPPPPPPP Playing a series of strokes sounding like a controlled bounce with bass drum or the left hand intensifies a rhythmic feel, as in funk, reggae, or hip-hop styles. Hartford, Connecticut groovemaster Jason Williams calls this sound ‘acoustic echo-reverb,’ with the drummer controlling the length, gradual decay or crescendo, and timbre of the cross stick or drum tones. Try different lengths of bass drum-left hand ‘acoustic echo-reverb’ as a conversation. You can overlap one with the other to connect their voices.
ADZOHU KADODO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 3
With atsime√u as bass drum you can divide some kidi/sogo open tones among cross sticks and toms, giving a tonal shape to the response.
LEFT HAND VARIATION
drumset EXAMPLE 4
Now divide this conversation between left hand and bass drum, creating a shifting tonal movement among snare, toms, and bass drum.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU KADODO
√UGBE EXAMPLE 2
Between dialogues, atsime√u plays many variations over the basic Adzohu rhythms. One pattern which follows the previous dialogue is ‘dza dza . ki . ki dza . . ki . ki dza dza,’ interacting with kidi and sogo. The strong, open atsime√u ‘dza’ sounds fill the space of kidi/sogo muted tones while the softer atsime√u ‘ki’ sounds allow kidi and sogo to respond with resonant open tones.
drumset EXAMPLE 5
Divide the atsime√u phrase among left hand cross sticks and tom tones speaking ‘ki’’ and bass drum voicing ‘dza,’ with the gaNkogui timeline on cymbal and kagaN outlined by high hat foot strokes. This groove has four layers of rhythm unified in a strong voice.
∂√∂ ADZOHU KADODO
√UGBE EXAMPLE 3
Another dialogue begins with atsime√u saying ‘ga gi-de ga ga,’ answered by eight kidi/sogo open tones. In the E√e language atsime√u’s drum tones represent Adzohua gbOna (pronounced ahd1 zoh1 hooah2 gboh1 nah1), ‘The drums are comming in; the war is in full swing.’ Its ‘ki’ sounds follow, softly reinforcing the kidi/sogo open tones, which symbolize a battle cry Yooooo! (spoken as yoh2).
AKOFENA KUNINI KO A, WOBO A FENA KYE NO SAFOHENE RECOGNITION OF GALLANTRY
ADZOHU KADODO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 6
Play low-pitched atsime√u ‘ga’ sounds on bass drum and medium-pitched ‘gi de’ sounds on toms with ‘ki’ strokes as snare cross sticks and tom tones. Adding a bass drum stroke in each phrase (in parentheses) will kick the time. You can bring the gaNkogui timeline to ride cymbal with high hat foot strokes on alternate main beats two, four, six, and eight or state the kagaN voice with high hat in another layer of time. Another approach is to literally play the kidi/sogo eight-stroke response with your left hand on toms joined to the gaNkogui pattern on cymbal, a bass drum pulse, and high hat foot strokes reflecting kagaN, as in the two videos for this style (DVD for Kadodo √ugbe drumset examples 1-7 and Kadodo √ugbe drumset example 6).
√UGBE EXAMPLE 4
The third conversation is a series of intense atsime√u ‘dza dzi’ strokes answered by two fast ‘ki-di’ open tones from kidi and sogo. This interlocking call and response builds tension as the dancers move in a circle during a transition in the dance drama from general participation to a select group of female devotees.
master drummer e.k. yevutsey of Anyako
ADZOHU KADODO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 7
A literal drumset adaptation gives the combination ‘dza dzi’ sounds to a combination of high hat and bass drum, answered by kidi/sogo tones as high tom strokes, with the gaNkogui pattern on cymbal. The interlocking sound of bass drum, high hat, and high tom raise the intensity of a horn, guitar, or piano solo.
PPPPPPPPPP Adzohu AGO DRUMSET STYLES
ADZOHU ago drumset EXAMPLE 1
The Adzohu Ago gaNkogui timeline, like Kadodo, has a longer time span than many other West African drum ensembles, with a different sense of space and motion. It is effective in both its basic and embellished forms. Playing the basic pattern on cymbal bell over a bass drum-high hat pulse leaves space in the time flow. You can mute the last stroke of each motive as with the gaNkogui original.
ADZOHU ago drumset EXAMPLE 2
Alternate snare cross sticks and tom sounds on the third partial of each beat, implying another layer of time. Snares can be released for the remainder of this section.
ADZOHU ago drumset EXAMPLE 3
ISAAC GEDZAH THREADING A CLOTH in kopeyia village, ghana
When this feels comfortable, try ‘pulling’ or ‘bending’ left hand strokes to fall slightly earlier or later, as a vocalist, horn, or guitar player would bend pitches in the blues. This creates small flams or spaces in the rhythms, each inflected stroke or pulse like a mini-universe of sound. Manipulating time in this manner is a characteristic of African music, with tones, timbres, and rhythms in constant variation. You can add a high or low tom stroke to fill out the groove.
ADZOHU ago drumset EXAMPLE 4
Now fill the larger spaces between cymbal strokes with cross sticks and toms. The interlocking of your hand strokes into a driving rhythm is like the weaving of colors and designs in a kente cloth fabric in the village.
ADZOHU ago drumset EXAMPLE 5
The Ago gaNkogui bell cycle has many variations with added strokes that embellish the time, and these speak well on cymbal. Play one on cymbal with a kagaN variation we used earlier (Adzohu Kadodo drumset examples 6 and 7) from other E√e dance drumming pieces in your left hand. Try both the basic and the embellished timeline variations for Ago grooves throughout this Adzohu chapter. When these rhythms feel comfortable create your own left hand patterns, beginning with those on the video.
Here is an extended left hand phrase from the same kagaN style.
LEFT HAND VARIATION
PPPPPPPPPP KUSHI, KAGAN, AND AXATSE RHYTHMS
musicians of the aflao adzohu society
ADZOHU ago drumset EXAMPLE 6
The interplay among kushi, kagaN, and axatse creates an interlocking rhythm. Play kushi on ride cymbal, kagaN as snare cross sticks and tom tones, and axatse as high hat foot strokes over a bass drum pulse. This dense pattern works as a transition groove, raising or lowering intensity by getting louder or softer under a soloist. You can also pull cymbal and left hand strokes slightly earlier or later toward a duple feel to create another layer of sound. Pull either or both hands by delaying the second stroke of each pair, or by playing the first stroke of each pair slightly earlier. This will create a subtle fire under a soloist.
PPPPPPPPPP √UGBE DRUM LANGUAGE
ATSIME√U DIALOGUES WITH KIDI AND SOGO IN ago
n Ago the drama of summoning the divinity Adzogbo is part of an intense interaction of dancers, drummers, and singers. Changes in devotional activities and the music are cued by the master drummer through the drum language of atsime√u. There are many episodes with multiple dialogues in sequence, each with its own dance movements and drum rhythms. The episodes may be played one or more times.
∂√∂ ADZOHU ago
√UGBE EXAMPLE 1
In one, the heightened action begins with atsime√u playing ‘gi de . . . dza . dza . dza . . . ki . (ka) . ki . (ka) . ki . (ka);’ in E√e, Mi va, du gba dzi (pronounced mee2 vah2 doo1 gbah1 jee2), meaning ‘Everyone come to the druming area.’ Kidi and sogo continue their basic pattern. This rhythm is repeated until the right emotional moment when atsime√u signals a change in its last statement with a series of ‘gi de’ strokes - Mi va (spoken as mee2vah2) ‘Everyone come’ - and moves to ‘ga de . ki . de . de . ga . gi de ki . . . de . de . ga,’ representing Eduwo keN mi va ne mia kpOwo, mi va ne (vocalized as eh2 doo2 woh3 kegn3 mee3 vah2 neh2 meeah3 kpwoh2, mee3 vah2 neh2) or ‘Everyone (the entire village) come to see them (the warriors, dancers, and musicans).’ Kidi and sogo respond to the atsime√u phrase with four open tones reinforcing the word ‘kpOwo’ played as ‘ki’ on the lead drum. The four open strokes are followed by eight mutes. A final kpOwo, dugbadzi (sounded as kpwoh2, doo1 gbah1 jee2) leads to another dialogue expressing a vigorous dance movement. Atsime√u speaks a series of ‘dzi . dza . ’ sounds representing the E√e Gbedzi (pronounced gbeh2 jee3), ‘Our lives are their mission.’ This is answered by a series of kidi and sogo open (coinciding with the atsime√u sound ‘dzi’) and mute (coinciding with atsime√u’s ‘dza’) tone pairs that intensify the ensemble by creating a duple twelve- or six-beat feel within the timeline. This episode can be repeated as needed to invoke spirits.
NYAME, BIRIBI WO SORO NA MA EMBEKA ME NSA GOD, THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE HEAVENS, LET IT REACH ME/hope
ADZOHU agO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 1
Bring kagaN to bass drum with kidi and sogo open tones on high or low tom. You can play the basic Ago gaNkogui timeline on cymbal as in the solo drumset video or the more active variation written here. Axatse is expressed by high hat foot strokes. This driving foot pattern intensifies the style, which moves from the basic kidi/sogo Ago phrase on toms to dialogue response rhythms reflecting dance movements. In the third part of this sequence the rapid alternation of two-stroke motives between high tom and bass drum reflects the dynamic conversation of kidi and sogo with atsime√u during a powerful dance movement. You can lay in each groove independently or move from one to another. Playing them in the order they occur in an Ago dance episode generates excitement and brings the music you are making to a deeper level. These are active and strong drumset rhythms that work best as a solo or in highenergy ensemble activity. In addition to the pattern here, try this sequence with a dotted-quarter bass drum and high hat pulse, as in atsime√u and drumset DVD example 28. 268
Adzohu drummers at Aflao
PPPPPPPPPP BASIC KIDI/SOGO PHRASE
KIDI/SOGO DIALOGUE RESPONSE RHYTHMS
ADZOHU agO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 2
You can also adapt this Ago episode in a more literal manner, reflecting the tones of atsime√u among snare and toms, kidi and sogo voices on bass drum, the embellished gaNkogui timeline on cymbal, and the axatse pulse as high hat foot strokes. For the final Gbedzi sequence, keep the alternating high tom and bass drum couplets to mirror the Adzohu Ago ensemble’s intensity. Changing high hat foot strokes from dotted quarters to quarter notes, as in the video, brings a twelve-beat layer over the basic eight-beat Ago feel, similar to the texture of axatse variations. This is another intense sequence that works best in a solo or high-energy ensemble music.
AKOBEN WAR HORN - A CALL TO ARMS
√UGBE EXAMPLE 2
Another Ago dialogue reflects the traditional West African high-pitched vocal cry for help or danger known as asikpe. Atsime√u alternates high and low tones ‘to . . . ga . . . to . . . ga . . . to . . . . ga . ga ‘ outlining the E√e ‘Tsia do woe (a)tsia do woe ali˙ome (pronounced chah1 doh2 way3 [ah] chah1 doh2 way3 ahlee2 pfoh2 meh2), meaning ‘How you live/create is a reflection of family and your inner being.’ These words derive from a song text that cues the drum rhythms and is used for specific Ago rituals. The text is expressed by the composite statement of gaNkogui, kidi, sogo, and atsime√u. Kidi and sogo respond with open tones that correspond to gaNkogui bell strokes; the ensemble’s threephrase statement mirrors the three phrases in the text.
ADZOHU agO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 3
Play the ‘to’ sounds as high tom strokes and the ‘ga’ sounds as bass drum tones, with the basic or embellished gaNkogui timeline on cymbal and a pulse on high hat. This rhythm leaves a lot of space and is effective as a dialogue with a soloist.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU agO
√UGBE EXAMPLE 3
Another episode contains a dialogue with atsime√u playing a series of alternating low and high sounds ‘ga . ga . de ki . de ki . . . ga . . ga to . to . to . . . ,’ reflecting the E√e Ga va dzogbedzi ko ne mi la kpe (spoken as gah1 vah2 dzoh2 gbeh2 jee3 koh2 neh2 mee3 lah2 kpeh2), ‘Let us meet at the battlefield and we will fight!’ Kidi and sogo answer atsime√u’s low-pitched ‘ga’ and ‘de’ sounds with open tones striking with atsime√u’s high-pitched ‘ki’ and ‘to’ sounds.
ADZOHU agO UGBE drumset EXAMPLE 4
Divide the atsime√u voice among bass drum, cross sticks, and toms, leaving more space in the groove to interact with a soloist. Then vary the pattern among bass drum and left hand around the drums, creating your own tonal and timbral shapes. You can also play the atsime√u rhythm literally by adding a snare cross stick on beat one and low-high tom couplets on beats five and six.
PPPPPPPPPP The melodies you create give the drumset a voice which comes from its African ancestors of the past and its sisters and brothers of the present.
PPPPPPPPPP IMPULSES KADODO CYMBAL VARIATIONS ADZOHU kadodO cymbal variations drumset EXAMPLE 1
The Kadodo gaNkogui bell timeline holds many unique cymbal rhythms. You can begin a pattern on any one of the twenty-four eighth notes in the time span of the original.
ADZOHU kadodO cymbal variations drumset EXAMPLEs 2 and 3
Two variations are given here, the first starting on the tenth eighth note (the fourth dotted-quarter main beat), and the second on the sixteenth eighth note (the sixth main beat). In each of these three rhythms, the original and two variations, a different sequence of the underlying eight-unit pattern is emphasized. When these feel comfortable try any of the other starting points. BEGINNING ON THE FOURTH MAIN BEAT
BEGINNING ON THE SIXTH MAIN BEAT
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU kadodO cymbal variations drumset EXAMPLEs 4 and 5
You can bring the Kadodo gaNkogui variations given earlier to ride cymbal with an added stroke near the end or with sixteenth note pickups over a rest leading to some original bell strokes. The sixteenth notes give a lift to each stroke, especially at a slow tempo. Although the sixteenths are given for each original eighth-note rest here, try playing only one or two in each cycle, varying where they occur.
These cymbal variations can be applied to the grooves of Adzohu Kadodo drumset examples 1-15 and Adzohu Kadodo âˆšugbe drumset examples 1-7.
mframdan a secure house 277
PPPPPPPPPP AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS
PLAYING WITH THE ADZOHU ENSEMBLE at Aflao
adzohu AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS drumset example 1
The Adzohu Ago gaNkogui basic bell timeline can be heard as three phrases of eight eighth notes each, similar to the time feel of Kadodo.
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS drumset example 2
I have heard many gaNkogui variations for Ago drumming played by Eâˆše musicians, and most involve adding strokes to one or more of the three phrases, as we saw earlier with Ago ensemble gaNkogui variations. You can adapt these bell variations to drumset. Begin with the basic Ago timeline on cymbal over a bass drum-high hat foundation.
adzohu AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS drumset example 3
Add two strokes to the third phrase of the basic pattern, corresponding to the first bell variation of the Adzohu Ago ensemble we saw earlier.
adzohu AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS drumset example 4
Now fill in all three phrases for an active sound. You can mute the cymbal bell in the same manner as gaNkogui.
This time cycle can also be heard as two measures of twelve-eight time.
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS drumset example 5
Try varying this filled in Ago cymbal pattern by changing the third phrase. Hear how each version returns the time cycle to its starting point along a different path. We will use the first of these variations on the filled-in pattern (A) for the rest of this chapter as an active expression of the Ago timeline. You can also play any of the variations or the basic Ago timeline to leave more space.
FILLED IN PATTERN AND FOUR VARIATIONS
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS drumset example 6
When these cymbal rhythms feel comfortable try the six phrases given below, the basic Ago bell phrase and five variations. Play each three times to complete one twenty-four eight time cycle, and continue until the rhythm is inside your hearing.
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu AGO CYMBAL VARIATIONS drumset example 7
Now combine the six patterns with each other, each cycle containing three phrases. First play the cymbal grooves given, and listen to each combined timeline over your bass drum-high hat pulse. Hear how each group of three phrases voices a new time cycle. You can freely create your own heartbeat by bringing the different phrases together. Try these Ago cymbal variations with the left hand-bass drum-high hat grooves of Adzohu Ago drumset examples 1-6 and Adzohu Ago âˆšugbe drumset examples 1-4.
PPPPPPPPPP AZENU BELL TIMELINE
AZE U bell timeline drumset examples 1, 2, and 3
The beauty and rhythmic power of Adzohu bell timelines derives from their expanded length over eight main beats. Another Eâˆše drumming, the warrior music AzeNu, has a gaNkogui bell cycle spanning sixteen beats that can be written as dotted quarters comprising forty-eight eighth notes, twice the length of Adzohu Kadodo and Ago timelines. Try this gaNkogui rhythm on cymbal over a bass drum-high hat pulse. When it feels comfortable add snare cross stick and tom sounds to the groove. As you play, hear how this longer cycle creates a different sense of space and motion. You can vary and create your own left hand phrases to speak with the AzeNu cymbal rhythm.
To help grasp this pattern it can also be written as four measures of twelve-eight time over the dotted quarter beats and three measures of four-four time in sixteenth notes over a quarter note beat. 284
AZE U bell timeline written in 12/8
Talons of the eagle
AZE U bell timeline written in 4/4
PPPPPPPPPP NORTH AFRICAN RIM SOUNDS
middle eastern/west asian hand drums
nother way to transform Adzohu rhythms is to play the right hand cymbal rhythms as snare rim strokes with snares released or on the side of the floor tom shell, a favorite technique of drumset artist Lenny McBrowne. I heard Lenny perform many times with pianist Randy Weston’s great ensemble at the Avaloch Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts, during the 1960s. They performed unique compositions and arrangements with an African influence, such as Randy’s African Cookbook suite. Try the rim shots with the tip of your stick near the edge of the drumhead for a high-pitched resonant tone, similar to the sharp ‘tak’ sound of North African and Middle Eastern/West Asian hand drums. This technique burns the grooves under a soloist or horn section, and can be used with Adzohu Kadodo drumset examples 1-15 and 19-22, Adzohu Kadodo √ugbe drumset examples 1-7, Adzohu Ago drumset examples 1-6, Adzohu Ago √ugbe drumset examples 1-4, Adzohu Kadodo cymbal variation drumset examples 1-5, Adzohu Ago cymbal variation drumset examples 2-7, and the AzeNu bell timeline drumset examples 1-3.
POUNDING FOFOO a food staple
Rainy season in Kopeyia Village
PPPPPPPPPP BASS DRUM - HIGH HAT VARIATIONS IN LAYERS OF TIME
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 1
One quality we have seen in Ghanaian and West African drumming and dance is the ability to hear and see a movement, rhythm or ensemble of rhythms in more than one way at the same time. The Adzohu Kadodo and Ago timelines can be felt in twelve, eight, six, four, three, or two beats, ‘beginning’ on any one of the twenty-four pulses of their time spans. Try the gaNkogui rhythms first for Kadodo, and then Ago, on cymbal bell over an eight-beat bass drum pulse. Join to this an axatse variation as a high hat twelve-beat phrase, creating a succession of three-over-two feels between high hat and bass drum. Add the kagaN variation of Adzohu Kadodo drumset example 6 in your left hand. This produces four individual layers in the drumset speaking as a unified voice. Begin each style with bass drum in four (playing on each dotted quarter beat), then move to a two feel (on alternate dotted quarter beats), as on the video, connecting examples 1-3. Note: Throughout this section the Kadodo bell rhythm is written on the top space of the drumset staff with the Ago embellished bell pattern above, both played on ride cymbal. Apply the Kadodo rhythm with each groove first, and then adapt the Ago pattern for a different sound. LAYERS OF TIME
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 2
As you play change your perspective internally between the eight-beat triple feel of bass drum (called ‘in four’ on the DVD) and the twelve-beat duple feel of high hat. Hear how each perspective changes the nature of the cymbal and left hand patterns in the groove. In a triple feel bass drum sounds on the beat while in a duple feel high hat sounds ‘on.’ You can also hear the cymbal-cross stick-tom patterns in four-four when focusing on the duple high hat phrase. Compare this duple sound to the triple motion of the Kadodo and Ago ensembles. Master drummers and dancers use this ability to hear and create multiple layers of time all at once in the drum orchestras of West Africa. LAYERS OF TIME GROOVE WRITTEN IN FOUR-FOUR TIME
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 3
You can play bass drum in a two feel, leading to beats one, three, five, and seven for more space.
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 4
Try the same grooves with the twelve-beat high hat pulse shifted one eighth note so that every third stroke falls with bass drum on beats two, four, six, and eight, implying a three-over-two series from a different perspective.
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 5
Alternate your internal hearing between the bass drum triple feel in eight beats and the shifted high hat duple four-four sound in twelve beats shown here, joining examples 4-6 as on the video.
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 6
You can leave more space in the groove by changing the bass drum voice as we did in time layers drumset example 3.
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 7
This shifted twelve-beat feel parallels the Kadodo kagaN rhythm. Outlining the Kadodo kagaN with high hat creates another layer of time that you can use with most of the grooves in this section. It is heard with the Kadodo timeline on cymbal on the DVD for Adzohu ensemble 8.
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 8
Kadodo and Ago axatse and kushi rattle variations emphasize the first, second, or third partials of each dotted quarter main beat, while high hat foot strokes suggest the sharp swishing sounds of axatse and kushi. Play high hat on the second partial of beats two, three, four, six, seven, and eight, leaving space on beats one and five. This creates a repeated three-stroke phrase and another voice within the ride cymbal bell timeline answering bass drum tones on alternate beats.
â€˜Kicking the groove with a bass drum or high hat just before or after a beat puts some spice into the stew.â€™ freeman Kwadzo donkor 292
azz and symphony composer, arranger, pianist, and reed virtuoso John Talarico taught me the myriad possibilities of melodic invention and rhythmic creation through the combining and changing of different elements of sound, time, and space, feeling these tones and rhythms as personal life forces with shapes and colors. Create your own colors as you change your hearing.
nnonnowa dondo ntoaso the double dondo drum
PPPPPPPPPP time LAYERS INSIDE EACH BEAT adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 9
Another way to vary bass drum and high hat with Kadodo and Ago rhythms is to play groups of one, two, or three foot strokes within each dotted quarter main beat, emphasizing the first, second, or third eighth note partial of each beat. Bass drum and high hat come together as a unified voice, creating another layer of time in the groove, similar to the multiple textures of the Adzohu drum ensemble. Begin by outlining the first partial of each beat.
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 10
Now play a single stroke on the third eighth partial of each beat to shift the time feel, leading with bass drum or high hat.
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu TIME LAYers drumset example 11
Finally, move bass drum and high hat to the second partial of each beat. When these patterns feel comfortable freely mix all three layers under the cymbal-snare-tom rhythms.
korsiwari and yorxor with children
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu TIME LAYers drumset examples 12-17
You can play two-stroke combinations with the cymbal-snare-tom rhythms, focusing on the first and second partials, the second and third, or the third and first. Vary these by moving from one foot pattern to another while your hand rhythms stay consistent. These styles change your feet from time keeping into third and fourth â€˜hands,â€™ each limb becoming a voice in a unified sound.
adzohu TIME LAYers drumset examples 18-20
An active combination for soloing or heavy ensemble music is constant bass drum-high hat sounds on each eighth note, shifting the strokes among the three divisions of the dotted quarter beat.
When these variations feel strong, combine the different layers we have played so far in this section as a changing voice responding to the cymbal-snare-tom sounds. You can also alter your left hand cross stick and tom tones along with the foot patterns, keeping only the cymbal timeline consistent.
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu TIME LAYers drumset examples 21 and 22
One way to integrate your left hand and feet under the cymbal rhythm is to divide the foot patterns we have played in this section among snare cross sticks, toms, bass drum, and high hat, producing a constantly moving pattern of sounds. For instance, an effective groove expands the earlier twostroke phrases to include the left hand. This approach with constant variations of the patterns will create a personal, multi-voice conversation that can only come from your inner hearing, and radically transform the music you are playing.
The Kadodo and Ago bass drum and high hat variations give us a hint of the many layers of time and beat perspectives that can be brought from West African dance and drumming to the drumset. Try the foot sounds, both as repeating patterns and as constantly changing variations, each having its own time sense, with the hand patterns of Adzohu Kadodo drumset examples 117 and 19-22, and Adzohu Ago drumset examples 1-6. Each combination gives a different motion to the grooves, dramatic behind a soloist.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU HIGHLIFE STYLES
adzohu kadodo highlife example 1
the Drummers of Anyako
Martin Kwaakye Obeng plays a highlife style that is based on Adzohu Kadodo rhythms. The gaNkogui cycle is stated on cymbal or closed high hat while bass drum and left hand play fragments of the bell pattern, reinforcing the cymbal timeline. Begin with your left hand on snare, and then include high and low toms as well for tonal variety. Hear how the groove shifts in relation to the underlying eight-beat dotted quarter pulse as the bell phrase does. Improvise around the groove played on the video and then create your own. MARTIN KWAAKYE OBENG
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu kadodo highlife example 2
When you play the gaNkogui rhythm on cymbal, try high hat foot strokes on each of the eight beats in dotted quarters or on beats two, four, six and eight. If you play the latter high hat foot pattern while your left hand and bass drum fill in freely, the groove implies a jazz feel, what Kwadzo Donkor, Kwaakye Obeng, Kobena Adzenyah and I call Highlife-Jazz. Playing axatse rattle variations with quarter notes in a twelve-beat feel will create another layer of time. HIGH HAT VARIATIONS
You can vary the left hand-bass drum rhythms, reinforcing different cymbal strokes, filling spaces between cymbal strokes, or moving your left hand strokes among snare, toms, crash cymbal bell, or slightly opened â€˜sizzlingâ€™ high hat sounds to create a timbral motion. Find your own grooves using these techniques.
adzohu kadodo highlife example 3
Another way for gaNkogui to speak through the drumset is to divide its voice between bass drum and left hand - snare, toms and cymbal bell. Add high hat foot strokes on each beat. Open high hat stick strokes hitting just before and after the foot strokes mirror the kagaN phrase and imply another layer of time. Using the shoulder of your drumstick on the high hat or its bell will thicken the sound. I heard a groove similar to this one summer evening at the Bass Line, a jazz club in Accra, Ghana. BASS LINE GROOVE
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu kadodo highlife example 4
Now try a highlife-funk style with the gaNkogui rhythm on ride cymbal bell. Play the kagaN pattern as left hand open high hat stick strokes just before and after closed high hat foot sounds on each beat. Move your left hand from high hat to snare and toms for backbeats connecting bass drum tones. The resultant three-stroke drum pattern (bass-snare/tom-bass) reflects the kidi/sogo voice answering kagaN in the Kadodo ensemble. This groove sounds powerful when string or electric bass fills beats one, three, five, and seven in dialogue with snare, toms, and bass drum. HIGHLIFE FUNK
You can also play the first twelve-beat axatse variation of the earlier Kadodo highlife example 2 as a high hat foot rhythm, answering left hand stick strokes and creating another voice.
luky godzor 302
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU HIGHLIFE STYLES
ABRAHAM KOBENA ADZENYAH
adzohu ago highlife example 1
An Ago highlife groove adapted from Abraham Kobena Adzenyah voices the gaNkogui timeline as cymbal bell or high hat stick strokes. Bass drum and left hand double cymbal strokes or fill spaces in the timeline. Begin with your left hand on snare and move it among snare, toms, crash cymbal bell, and slightly opened high hat, a changing pattern of sounds. When the rhythms feel comfortable, freely vary your bass drum and left hand, reinforcing some cymbal timeline strokes and filling spaces between others, as played on the video. ABRAHAM KOBENA ADZENYAH
With the gaNkogui cycle on cymbal, play high hat foot strokes on each beat, on alternate beats two, four, six, and eight, or reflecting axatse variations in a twelve-beat feel. As with the Kadodo Highlife example 2 styles, the alternating high hat foot pattern, joined with cymbal and free bass drum-left hand fills, creates a jazz feel. 303
Playing with my teachers at the dagbe centre, kopeyia village adzohu ago highlife example 2
In my work at the Dagbe cultural center in Kopeyia village, southeastern Ghana, I have learned much from the drummers in the community. Godwin Kwasi Agbeli and his sons Emmanuel Kwaku, Yao Bright, and Yao Tse, along with Agbeko Sodzedo and Edward Tekpah, have spent hours helping me adapt Eâˆše language and rhythms for drumset. One day I heard Yaotse and Yao Bright playing and singing overlapping rhythms that correspond to the patterns of axatse, kushi, and kagaN in Adzohu Ago. The intensity of their grooves inspired me to bring their sounds to drumkit. Begin with the kushi rattle pattern as high hat stick strokes joined with the kagaN drum voice as alternating cross stick and tom tones over high hat foot strokes reflecting the axatse rattle pulse and bass drum outlining the basic kidi-sogo phrase. The open high hat stick stroke just after each main beat lifts the time. YAOTSE AND YAO BRIGHT GROOVE
YAOTSE agbeli, A YOUNG DRUMMER
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu ago highlife example 3
Now reverse hand functions, with kushi divided between cross sticks and toms and kagaN as open high hat stick strokes driving the groove.
adzohu ago highlife example 4
Another style brings a kagaN variation to toms.
Moving the high hat stick strokes to ride cymbal or ride cymbal bell creates a looser Highlife-Jazz feel. In this style you can play high hat foot sounds on each main beat in dotted quarters, alternate beats two, four, six, and eight, or as axatse rattle variations in quarter-note twelve-beat feels, as we did earlier in Adzohu Kadodo Highlife example 2. The layers of kushi, axatse, kagaN, and kidi/sogo create powerful grooves that work well in exploding, intense music.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU RHYTHMS WITH BRUSHES adzohu brush examples 1 and 2
You can play Adzohu rhythms with brushes to imply the swishing sound of the kushi basket and axatse gourd rattles. Try the Kadodo and Ago gaNkogui rhythms as left hand brush taps or cross sticks on snare with continuous right hand brush slide strokes on snare as eighth notes. State the basic eight-beat dotted-quarter pulse on bass drum and high hat throughout this section. Note: In this section when two brushes are played on snare the snare drum is notated on two different spaces on the staff to make the individual rhythms clearer. The taps are written on the traditional snare drum space and the slides are written above the staff.
DUAFE THE WOODEN COMB 306
adzohu brush examples 3 and 4
The gaNkogui bell cycle can also be adapted as left hand snare cross sticks with right hand brush taps filling in the spaces over the bass drum-high hat pulse. When the groove is inside, create your own feel by improvising, as on the videos for brush examples 3 (Kadodo) and 4 (Ago). KADODO
amanda fraser in flight with the young people of anyako 307
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu brush examples 5 and 6
Reverse hand functions, giving the timeline to right hand brush taps and filling its spaces with left hand cross sticks. KADODO
adzohu brush examples 7 and 8
Now play the gaNkogui timelines as left hand brush taps with right hand brush tap-slides filling the spaces between the gaNkogui phrase strokes.
Playing with simon desjardins (bass) and art hirahara (piano) at yoshi’s in Oakland, california
nother way to vary the sound of these rhythms is to move your left stick or brush between snare and high tom and your right brush between snare and low tom while maintaining the pattern. When this feels comfortable, extend each hand, one at a time, to both toms, crossing over the other hand on snare. Listen and find other patterns within these brush grooves. The active texture of brush and brush-stick rhythms in these styles creates excitement in an ensemble at any speed, from a slower, more relaxed pace to a fast burning tempo. Drummers Clifford Adams, Wilfred Wannamaker III, Frank Ranti, Harold Butler, Clymer Dunbar, James Hunt and Michael ‘Pops’ Kennedy taught me how to play and vary the hand rhythms around the drumset at a lightning speed, while maintaining a light, driving feel. Search for your own sounds among snare, snare cross sticks, open and mute tom tones (mutes by pressing your stick or brush against the drumhead on stroke contact), and crash cymbal bell, creating constantly changing timbral motions.
bese saka Colanuts
PPPPPPPPPP BRUSH/STICK VOICE TONES
sing the same patterns as brush examples 7 and 8, play the Kadodo and Ago gaNkogui timelines with the butt end of your left stick near the edge of a snare (snares off) or tom drumhead. You can add rim and rim shot strokes to the left hand pattern for a variety of sounds. Fill the spaces between left hand strokes with right hand brush tap-slides on snare or toms, bending the tones created with your left stick. Add a dotted-quarter note bass drum-high hat foundation. Listen to the sounds produced by your combined brush and stick technique, and create your own voice tones by changing the pressure, placement, attack, and slide of your right hand brush tap-slides.
PPPPPPPPPP ADZOHU RHYTHMS WITH HANDS
ou can play the supporting drum, bell, and rattle rhythms of Adzohu Kadodo and Ago as hand strokes with your left hand on snare with snares released and your right hand on low tom. Play mute or high-pitched West African drum or bell tones as mute strokes and open or low tones as open, bounced, resonant hand strokes. Use a bass drumhigh hat heartbeat outlining dotted-quarter main beats throughout this section, as well as the bass drum-high hat variations of Adzohu Time Layers examples 1-20. When the grooves feel strong create your own patterns around the drumset, as on the videos for this section. You can also try the bell pattern or any of the other rhythms with one hand on a cymbal, cymbal bell, or a low tom shell as a contrasting timbre to the drum sounds with your other hand. This softer sound is effective in a bass solo or music with a relaxed feel.
KEY FOR DRUMSET HAND STROKES
Because the snare drum was inverted for our video recording, many of the left hand â€˜handâ€™ patterns for snare are played on high tom on the DVD.
PPPPPPPPPP adzohu drumset hand example 1
Begin with the Kadodo mute and open gaNkogui bell tones as left hand mute and open snare strokes. Add mute strokes suggesting the kagaN rhythm with your right hand on low tom, each pair answered by a single open tone. lh snare [m o m rh low tom [ o
bass drum high hat
adzohu drumset hand example 2
Keep the same bass drum, high hat, and left hand rhythms but change your right hand by adding two open strokes on low tom. The right hand pattern reflects the kagaN conversation with kidi and sogo, mute tones implying the sharp strokes of kagaN and open tones suggesting the kidi/sogo open tone response. You can move your left hand to high tom, as on the video.
You can also play the Kadodo bell pattern as mute and open low tom tones with kidi open tones as open snare or high tom sounds over the bass drum-high hat heartbeat in these examples. When this feels solid try the foot patterns of Time Layers drumset example 7, so that your left hand kidi sounds are in conversation with the kagaN phrase played as high hat foot strokes around a bass drum pulse. 312
adzohu drumset hand example 3
Try the Adzohu Ago basic mute and open gaNkogui sounds as right hand mute and open strokes on low tom with kagaN strokes as mute or open left hand snare tones over a bass drum-high hat pulse. The kagaN voice can be played on high tom, as on the video. Listen to the extended improvisation on the DVD and create your own sound.
adzohu drumset hand example 4
Now play the basic Ago gaNkogui timeline as left hand mute and open tones on snare. Answer these sounds with the kagaN phrase as alternating pairs of right hand mute and open strokes on low tom.
adzohu drumset hand example 5
You can also play this style with the embellished Ago gaNkogui pattern as left hand mute or open tones on snare or high tom.
Try the twelve-beat high hat feels with bass drum from the earlier Adzohu Time Layers drumset examples 3, 6, 7, and 8 with any of the hand rhythms given in this section. This will add another layer of time and intensify the sound. To create a sharp high-pitched tak sound like that heard in North African and Middle Eastern/West Asian hand drumming, play each left hand rhythm with the tips of your second, third, and fourth fingers at the edge of the snare drumhead. You can also apply this stroke to low tom with your right hand. These hand techniques change the sound of the rhythms, bringing a personal style that parallels West African hand drumming. The path from your center to the drum can be more direct when your skin touches the skin of the drumhead, the rhythms breathe, and this feel has an effect on listeners and players.
dzohu is an ancient dance drama of the FO and E√e peoples along the coast of West Africa. Its longer bell timelines and phrasing create a different feel in the ensemble, open to complex variations and layers of time. We have adapted a small measure of the beauty and power of its rhythms to drumset. Through the styles of Kadodo (‘forming a circle’) and Ago (‘summoning’) we have in our own way completed a circle, bringing high hat, cymbals, and drums closer to their African origin, and summoned you to take part in this sacred heritage.
AKO-BEN BATTLE CRY
owuo atwedie, baako mmfo all will climb the ladder of death
it’s after the end of the world, don’t ya know that yet? - sun ra
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV APPENDIX drums, bells, rattles, and their sounds
gotta dance drumming at agbakukope
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV the drum language of EVE
WAWA ABA A HARDWOOD USED IN CARVING
and feet to form a composite statement. When the music is happening at ultimate level, a connection lives that is similar to that of its African ancestors and cousins, bringing everyone – players, dancers, and listeners – together as one in a transcendent experience, almost akin to the trance states I have witnessed in some African dance drumming. The instruments in both cultures can be regarded as people, each with its own voice, personality, sound quality, tonality, loudness and softness, rhythm, duration, inflection, form, and accent. While the drumset is now a well-known instrument in most parts of the world, the sound sources of African cultures may be less familiar. Let us consider the instruments, sounds, and meanings given to us by the E√e people. AN E√E FAMILY OF DRUM, BELL AND RATTLE VOICES
s with many African peoples, the drums, bells, and rattles of the E√e are not simply practical objects, but a family, personified extensions of an individual and collective voice, a life sense expressing an ultimate being-in-theworld. These instrumental sounds unite with song, dance, and spoken texts, creating a drama that is an entrance, seen through people’s eyes, to hearts and values. Even as a non-African I have experienced this connection each time I pick up a bell, rattle, or drumsticks to join the ensemble: a pure, unconditional, uncompromising bond that is deep, real, and ultimate. It can force a person to see existence and oneself in a new way, without the distractions of first world materialism – direct, open, unbounded, and fully human. Libations are poured and offerings made to ancestors, the creator, and, when a large tree is felled to make drums, to spirits that reside there, because drumming is life and spirit. In a parallel way the drumset in the African American heritage is a family of metal, wood, and drum voices that come together through the coordinated independence and unity of the hands 318
The drums most commonly played in E√e music are atsime√u, boba, sogo, kidi, kagaN, totodzi, and kroboto. Other drums include √uga, gadzo√uga, asi√ui, dondo, and pattigame. The predominant metal bells are the double bell gaNkogui and the boat-shaped atoke also called toke. Additional bells are the metal container ganugbagba, and the castanet frikyiwa. Axatse, the most commonly heard rattle in E√e villages, is a hollow gourd with an external netting of beads, wood, or shells. The basket kushi, clustered a∂o∂o, and clapper a√aga also function as rattles. Other common percussion sounds are wooden sticks struck together and handclaps, which reinforce the bell or rattle rhythms. Each of these instruments involve materials from the natural environment – twine cords for securing animal membrane drumheads, rattle netting, straps,
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV or drum snares; wood from trees for drum shells, tuning pegs, drum stands, or sticks; gourds for rattles; iron for bells and rattles, drum stands, or reinforcement bands on drums made from bent wooden slats; and shells, seeds, or beads for rattles. The connection of musician and instrument creates and explosion of energy that unites a community of people in their remembrance, celebration, and destiny. The drum ensemble is at the center of this transcendence. Its music is a sophisticated complex of pitches and timbres in time, with each instrumental voice contributing its own sounds to the ensemble, reflecting language, dance movements, or telling a story, a dance drama. An integral part of this process is drum language known as √ugbe (‘drum speech’ or ‘drum language’). √ugbe is a reflection of the tones and patterns of E√e speech in the instrumental sounds of the drum ensemble and its lead drums, such as atsime√u. While the repertoire of atsime√u syllables can vary somewhat due to variations in the expression of language and songs as they are adapted to the drum from region to region, the underlying message is clear for all to experience. We can adapt √ugbe sounds to drumset. One way is to literally transfer African drum parts, for instance, kidi and sogo on bass drum, kagaN on high hat, and confining each atsime√u sound to a single unchanging part of the kit. Although this can be done I and others have found it creates a dense, heavy texture that does not feel like the original or like a living drumset rhythm. My approach is to adapt rather than copy: to find the essence of each atsime√u call and ensemble response and retain as much as possible of the tonal shape and feel of the original, expressing it in a way that makes sense for both African music and the drumset traditions. This involves changing some tones, omitting others, and occasionally adding sounds. Space must be left in the groove so it can breathe and move, interact with other musicians and dancers in many contemporary styles, in effect, so it can swing.
Let us now focus on the instrumental voices of the E√e. 319
hye wonnhye one who burns be not burned Forgiveness
Seshie Adonu Ladzekpo shaving a drum skin
The basic sounds of atsime√u are produced by three individual techniques in each hand and their blending: a full palm or bare hand across the whole drumhead with the center of the palm at the center of the head, the fingers from the knuckles applied at the edge of the head, and a wooden stick at the center of the head or side of the drum shell. Its performance commonly employs combined one-stick/one-hand, two-stick, and two-hand techniques. Striking or muting the center or edge of the drumhead or drum shell with these techniques produces the range of low-, medium-, and high-pitched sounds that mark its voice in the drum ensemble.
tsime√u is one of the most prominent drums played by the E√e, since it functions as a master drum in many spiritual, warrior, ritual, commemorative, educational, social, and recreational styles. It can be carved from a single section of tree or constructed by joining long bent wooden slats together, secured with metal bands about its cylindrical and convex-shaped body. Its length varies from about four feet to more than five feet, with a slightly larger fourteen to twenty inch circumference at its central section that tapers toward its narrower top and bottom ends. Its single top drumhead is commonly taken from antelope skin and fastened in place by sewing the membrane around a circular rim with a cord that is fastened to wooden pegs a few inches below. The excess skin is then trimmed off after sewing and mounting is complete. The head, rim, and cord are stretched and looped around the pegs to keep the drumhead taut. The pegs secure tightly into holes in the drum body to maintain tuning. Atsime√u is played in a slanted position, leaning on a wooden or metal drum stand (√udetsi) that allows the sound to project from its open bottom. The drummer stands to the side for execution of the strokes in a comfortable position. I have heard E√e musicians compare its deep voice to that of a mother, father, or elder in the village.
Some strokes are bounced off the drumhead, creating open, resonant sounds, while others are accomplished by pressing the hand or stick on the head, muting and stopping the sound. As with other E√e drums, hand or stick strokes are played in a relaxed manner, primarily from the forearm, wrist, and fingers. This parallels some drumset styles, in which playing comes from the wrist, fingers, and ankle rather than the whole arm or leg.
Olu Nudzor Gbeti attaching an atsime u drum head
ATSIME U LEAD DRUM
√UGBE STROKES AND THEIR SOUNDS
Yaotse agbeli playing ATSIME U in kopeyia
ga - weak hand bass de - strong hand stick open gi - weak hand open ki - weak hand mute to - strong hand stick bounced mute with weak hand pressing drumhead ka - stick stroke on side/shell of drum body dza - combination of weak hand ga and strong hand stick ka dzi - combination of weak hand ki and strong hand stick ka
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV HAND STROKES
GA The lowest tone and deepest vibration is created by bouncing the full palm and hand from the center and extending over most of the drumhead. This is a bass sound known as ga (pronounced ‘gah’) in √ugbe drum language.
KI A muted stroke is accomplished by pressing the fingers on the drumhead on stroke contact to muffle the sound. The hand position is the same as for ‘gi’ but the muting technique raises the pitch higher, and its tone is represented as ki (pronounced ‘kee’).
GI Using a bounce stroke at the edge of the drumhead with the whole length of the fingers as the knuckles straddle the rim produces a medium-pitched sound called gi (pronounced ‘gee’). As with ‘ga,’ this is an open, resonant tone.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV STICK STROKES
While the wooden sticks used in playing E√e drums vary in size, a common atsime√u stick dimension is twelve to fourteen inches in length with a threequarter inch diameter.
TSI A pressed stick stroke at the center of the drumhead brings a high-pitched muted sound referred to as tsi (pronounced ‘chee’).
DE A bounced resonant stick stroke at the center of the drumhead yields a medium-pitched sound called de or te in the drum language (pronounced ‘day’ and ‘tay’). These names are used equivalently, since ‘te’ is substituted for ‘de’ when it is easier to use the letter ‘t’ in speaking the drum syllables rapidly. When the weak hand takes up a stick in a two-stick style, it can also play this open stroke. The weak hand open stroke is known as ge (pronounced ‘gay’).
TO A bounced stick stroke at the drumhead center while pressing the edge of the head with the opposite hand creates a sharp, high-pitched sound known as to (pronounced ‘tow’ as in towing a boat). Since only one hand is striking the drum, ‘to’ can be heard as a single stick sound.
KA A hard pressed stick shot applied to the side of the drum shell (√ukOgo) produces a sharp high-pitched sound called ka (pronounced ‘kah’).
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV COMBINED HAND STROKES
DZA A simultaneous combination of the wooden stick stroke ‘ka’ on the drum shell with the opposite hand bass tone ‘ga’ on the drumhead generates a strong deep sound with a sharp attack referred to as dza (pronounced ‘djah’).
VLO When ‘de’ and ‘ge’ or ‘de’ and ‘gi’ are played together at a speed faster than the underlying pulses, this composite flam-like sound is known as gle or gre (pronounced ‘gleh’ and ‘greh’). ‘Gi’ and ‘de’ played in the same manner are spoken as vlo (pronounced ‘vloh’) in the drum syllables.
DZI A similar combination of ‘ka’ with the opposite hand muted stroke ‘ki’ results in an intense higher-pitched sound called dzi (pronounced ‘djee’).
The letter ‘n’ is added at the end of an open tone to signify a short muted sound whose time span is roughly one underlying pulse. This is usually accomplished by muting the edge of the drumhead with the fingers. For example, the open stick stroke ‘de’ is adapted as den to express a short open sound muted with the fingers. 327
oba is a large drum resting on a wood or metal stand similar to that used for atsime√u. It has a slightly convex cylindrical shape with a single head attached to the drum body in the same way as atsime√u. The drummer leans forward against the drum shell with both legs straddling the sides, allowing a good angle for hand or stick strokes. Its wide diameter (usually between twenty to twentysix inches) and height (often twenty-eight to thirtysix inches) give it a large resonating chamber from whose open bottom end comes a huge bass sound like thunder. Boba is played as a lead drum in some pieces, such as the E√e recreational dance drumming Gahu, and a supporting drum in others, such as Kinka, also an E√e recreational music. As a lead drum its playing techniques are similar to atsime√u but, due to its low pitch range, boba mostly uses atsime√u’s lower √ugbe stroke sounds. Its sticks are similar in size to atsime√u’s. As a supporting drum boba employs hand and finger strokes that reinforce or embellish other support drum patterns, such as the open tones of kidi and sogo. Like atsime√u, its voice can be heard as that of an elder.
open hand tones on boba
uga is a carved wooden medium-sized singleheaded open-bottomed drum that is the lead drum in Akpese music. It is played with a hand technique and is approximately two feet in height with a drumhead diameter of about twelve inches.
adzo√uga is a cylindrical open single-headed carved wooden drum usually played with the hands. It is the lead drum in Gadzo dance drumming and has a deep voice, standing about two and one-half to three feet tall with a slightly expanded midsection and a narrower base. Such a slender base or foot of a drum allows a smaller column of air coming out of the drum, and more control over its sound. Antelope or deer skin is commonly used for its drum membrane. Gadzo√uga strokes and sounds are the same as for √uga.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV √UGA AND GADZO√UGA LEAD DRUM √UGBE STROKES AND THEIR SOUNDS da – strong hand bass ga – weak hand bass de/te – strong hand open (two consecutive des, the second called te) ge/gi – weak hand open tsa – strong hand muted slap tsi – strong hand mute ki – weak hand mute
DA An open bounce stroke with the full palm of the hand at the center of the head produces a deep bass sound called da (strong hand, pronounced ‘dah’) or ga (weak hand, pronounced ‘gah’).
DE An open bounce stroke with the fingers near the edge of the drumhead creates a mid-range tone known as de (strong hand, pronounced ‘day’) or ge (weak hand, pronounced ‘gay’). Position the hands so that the knuckles are aligned around the rim while the fingers strike into the drumhead.
KI A mute stroke is executed by pressing the fingers firmly on the drumhead on stroke contact to muffle the sound. The hand position is the same as for ‘de’ and ‘ge’, but the muting technique brings the pitch higher and this tone is represented as tsi (strong hand, pronounced ‘chee’) or ki (weak hand, pronounced ‘kee’).
TSA A muted slap stroke is produced by slapping and grabbing the drumhead with the fingers. The hand position is the same as for ‘de’ and ‘ge’, but the muting/slap technique makes the pitch very high with a sharp sound, represented as tsa (pronounced ‘chah’).
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV SOGO SUPPORT STROKES
ogo, like boba, also functions as both a lead and a supporting drum in various pieces. I have heard its low resonant voice compared to an aunt or uncle in a family. It is a single-headed wooden drum whose membrane is attached by means of a sewn rim and pegs in the same manner as atsime√u, and has a closed wooden bottom. Its shape is also similar to atsime√u, with a larger-diameter middle section about fifteen to eighteen inches tapering gradually toward the top and bottom. Its height is commonly twenty-two to twenty-five inches. Some E√e musicians have told me its name is related to the spirit of thunder, named So.
An open bounced stick stroke at the center of the sogo drumhead creates a resonant low-pitched sound called de (strong hand, pronounced ‘day’) or ge (weak hand, pronounced ‘gay’).
When sogo is played as a master drum its strokes are the same as atsime√u. As a support drum it primarily plays open and muted tones. Sogo sticks are usually smaller than those of atsime√u, between ten and thirteen inches in length and one-half to threequarters of an inch in diameter.
DZI A muted stick stroke at the center of the drumhead produces a higher-pitched sound that has different names in various E√e areas. One common name is dzi (pronounced ‘djee’).
idi is a medium-sized support drum whose mid-range voice can reflect that of an older sister or brother. Smaller than sogo, its size averages between nineteen to twenty-three inches in height and eleven to fourteen inches in diameter at its widest point. It is single-headed with a closed bottom and a membrane fastened in the same manner as atsime√u, boba, and sogo. Wooden kidi sticks commonly range from nine to eleven inches in length with a one-third to one-half inch diameter.
A bounced resonant stick stroke at the center of its head brings forth an open ringing sound known as ki (strong hand, pronounced ‘kee’) or di (weak hand, pronounced ‘dee’). Its name is the same as its open strokes.
DZI A muted higher-pitched sound is accomplished by pressing the stick at the center of the drumhead on stroke contact. As with sogo, I have heard different names for this stroke, the most common being dzi (pronounced ‘djee’).
agaN is a slender high-pitched single-headed open-bottomed wooden drum. Its twenty to twenty-two inch height is complemented by an enlarged middle section diameter from seven to nine inches that gradually tapers one to two inches toward the top and bottom ends. Its long thin sticks, commonly twelve to seventeen inches in length and one-quarter to one-third of an inch in thickness, are played as flat strokes across the drumhead, reaching almost to the distant edge of the head near the far rim, evoking a sharp, piercing tone, similar to a snare drum rim shot. Its voice, which can be heard as that of a small child in a family, stands forth in the drum ensemble texture. KagaN can be played resting flat on the ground or at an angle between the player’s legs to increase the sound projection from its open bottom.
KA Its strokes are heard as open ringing tones and correspond to its name, ka (strong hand, pronounced ‘kah’) and gaN (weak hand, pronounced ‘gahng,’ with the ‘n’ in the throat).
roboto and totodzi are drums with a similar, and sometimes identical, shape and size, but played in different pitch ranges, as kroboto’s voice is tuned lower than totodzi’s. Both drums are made of wood with an open bottom for resonance and a single skin drumhead held in place like those of atsime√u and other drums - by a cord sewn through the membrane, around a circular rim, and attached to wooden tuning pegs fitted into holes near the top end of the drum shell. Their dimensions range from about fifteen to nineteen inches in height with a larger middle-section diameter of twelve to fifteen inches that tapers gradually by two to four inches toward the top and bottom.
si√ui is a generic name for a supporting drum, such as the single-headed open carved wooden hand drum played in Akpese dance drumming that has a wider body tapering to a narrow base. These hand drums are commonly around twenty to twenty-two inches in height with a body diameter of twelve to fifteen inches at the widest point, narrowing to five to eight inches across the base. Its stroke techniques are similar to those of √uga and gadzo√uga.
TOTODZI MUTE STROKE Kroboto (in some villages also known as kloboto) and totodzi may be played as lead drums, but more commonly as support drums, taking the drum syllables of sogo. They are played with two sticks whose dimensions are similar to those of atsime√u or sogo. 335
he carved wooden hourglass-shaped, doubleheaded, string tension drum known as dondo is played with a curved wooden stick. Most dondo I have played are sixteen to eighteen inches long with an eight to nine inch diameter at each drumhead. Its curved wooden stick is usually between ten and twelve inches in length. Strokes are accomplished by rotating the wrist sideways
with the arm angled so that the stick is coming back toward the drum. Changes in head tension created by finger and arm pressure allow dondo to change pitch, speaking in a variety of low, middle, and high tones that can reflect the tones of indigenous African languages, such as Eâˆše. For this reason it is nicknamed a talking drum.
DONDO DRUM HEADS
TYING DONDO STRINGS
attigame, also known as patsi, is a metalshelled double-headed African adaptation of a western snare drum without the snares. Some are the same size as a common snare drum, about twelve to fourteen inches in diameter and four to six inches in depth, while many are smaller, with an eight-inch diameter and a six-inch depth. It is tuned with a series of pegs attached to its rims, and speaks in a medium-low to high pitch range.
It is played with a combined stick and hand technique, resting on the playerâ€™s thigh, with the fingers of the holding hand pressing against or releasing one head, while the free hand strikes the other drumhead with a wooden stick. Finger pressure mutes the sound in varying degrees and shapes the low, medium, and high pitches of stick strokes on the opposite head. The mutes are barely audible but felt as part of the rhythm. A pattigame stick is about ten to twelve inches long with a threeeighths inch diameter.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV length, as well as smaller ones with a total length of eight inches, a large bell length of six inches, and a small bell length of three inches. These diverse tonal qualities are highlighted in bell ensembles such as Hatsiatsia music that include multiple gaNkogui and sometimes other bells such as atoke and frikyiwa. The composite tonal, timbral, and rhythmic voices create a kaleidoscope of evolving patterns and sounds.
aNkogui is a forged iron bell crafted by blacksmiths and has two open cup-like chambers connected to a rod-like extension that can function as a handle. Some E√e musicians have told me it is also called gakpevi (ga, ‘iron’; kpe, ‘carrying’; and vi, ‘child’) and that the sounds of the lower-pitched larger chamber signify a mother’s voice while the higher tones from the smaller chamber reflect a child’s words.
GaNkogui functions as a time referent in ensemble music, with its low and high tones stating the basic rhythm around which a dance drumming ensemble is organized. I have also experienced ensembles in which multiple bells play, with some suggesting, embellishing, or improvising over the basic bell pattern. The timeline is an essential part of E√e and other West African musics, expressing a heartbeat that is a tonal, timbral, and rhythmic guide felt internally by dancers, drummers, and singers. Abraham Kobena Adzenyah describes a bell timeline as an ‘invisible connector.’ This heartbeat is found in the music of many African peoples throughout the world, heard for example in the clave of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean traditions, the agogo double-bell, a descendant of gankogui, in Afro-Brazilian candomble, samba, and capoeira, and the composite handclaps and foot stomps of African American clapping plays such as pattin’ juba in the southern United States. GaNkogui are forged in many sizes from quite large to very small, with corresponding lower and higher tonal ranges. I have played gaNkogui as long as seventeen inches with a large bell chamber length of twelve inches and a small chamber of five-inch 338
GaNkogui is traditionally held in one hand and played with a stick in the opposite hand. The player uses a wrist motion that strikes the central raised area of the outer surface of each chamber. Some contemporary styles utilize other parts of the instrument for timbral variety, such as the flanged edge of each chamber, the extension rod/handle, or the inner surfaces of the two chambers. I have seen a few E√e musicians use these sound sources in collaboration with jazz musicians, such as drumset master Edward Blackwell, who sometimes added a gaNkogui to his drum kit, and occasionally played it with his drumstick inside the lower bell chamber, moving both his stick and the bell itself held in his other hand, to change the sound. A gaNkogui stick is typically between ten to twelve inches long with a diameter somewhere between three-eighths and three-quarters of an inch.
here are two basic gaNkogui strokes that produce three different sounds whose names vary from region to region. In Anyako village a bounce stick stroke over the top of the larger bell yields a lower-pitched resonant tone called tin (pronounced ‘tin’), while the same stroke on the smaller bell is sounded as go (pronounced ‘goh’).
KA Pressing the stick on the top of the smaller bell on stroke contact results in a muted sound known as ka (pronounced ‘kah’).
toke, also known as toke, is a boat-shaped iron bell that is played with a thin metal rod. A common size for this bell is six to eight inches in length with a width of two to three inches and a midpoint height of one and one-half to two and one-half inches that tapers down to narrow rounded and pointed ends. The rod is commonly about five inches long and one-quarter inch in diameter. Atoke rests in the musicianâ€™s open palm, almost parallel to the thumb, from the index finger across the knuckles to the heel of the palm. Strokes are applied with the rod beater across the rim perpendicular to its plane. Atoke is similar to the larger dawuro boat-shaped iron bell of the Asante people of central-western Ghana.
A pair of atoke tuned at different pitches (often around a fourth or fifth apart in western tuning) often play together with a sound that parallels that of gaNkogui. Their voices are heard as female (high) and male (low). Bounce strokes bring out open resonant tones while pressing the rod against the bell rim on stroke contact or grasping the holding hand around the bell creates a high-pitched sharp muted sound.
rikyiwa is a hollow iron castanet-type bell struck with an iron ring that fits around the thumb. It has a strong, piercing sound.
MARY AGAMA PLAYING GANUGBAGBA
anugbagba (ganu, ‘tin’ and gbagba, ‘broken’) is a metal container, often an empty tin or bucket, played as a bell with two wooden sticks. It has many sizes, depending on the size of the container used. Its sticks can commonly range from ten to sixteen inches with a one-quarter to onehalf inch diameter. Stroke names vary in different areas, but in many villages strong hand strokes are represented with the spoken sound ka (pronounced ‘kah’) while weak hand strokes are spoken as ta (pronounced ‘tah’). Kpla (pronounced ‘kplah’) stands for the sound of two sticks striking together.
xatse is a hollow gourd calabash rattle with a larger globe-shaped surface surrounded by a netting of shells, seeds, wood, or beads and a smaller stem-like protrusion that functions as a handle. Its seeds and inner materials are scraped out and the gourd functions both as a surface on which the netted materials bounce for sound production and as a resonator for hand or leg strokes against the gourd. Its composite tonal and raspy sound is generated by striking it on the palm of the hand, against the thigh, or through the air. Axatse are found in many sizes, most commonly with the diameter of the larger globe between six and ten inches and an overall length of ten to sixteen inches, including the gourd stem handle.
TI Striking axatse with the palm of the hand brings out a higher-pitched sound called ti (pronounced ‘tee’).
PA Bouncing axatse off the thigh produces a lowerpitched tone known as pa (pronounced ‘pah’) in most E√e villages. 342
ushi is a basket rattle constructed as a chamber of woven fibers whose hollow interior contains seeds or pebbles. They are usually played with one in each hand, and swinging or snapping them through the air creates a softer swishing sound than that of axatse.
∂o∂o is a double-ended forged iron rattle
with a cluster of at least three open-mouthed chambers with clappers at each end, connected by a single handle. It is usually played in religious rituals.
These are some of the instruments of the E√e. They join together to speak in a drum language that mirrors the voices of the people, living in villages for thousands of years and carrying an ancient message up to the present day and into the future. In our work we will listen to these messages and hear how they can live through the drumset.
∂ ∂ √
A O O (RIGHT HAND) AND A AGA (LEFT Hand)
Do Azie PLAYING
a∂o∂o and A AGA
√aga is a small open-mouthed iron bell with
a clapper that can function as a rattle.
NTESIE – NYANSA BUN MU NE MATE MASIE I HAVE HEARD AND KEPT IT - WISDOM
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV E√e Letters and Pronunciation Guide
Based on Daniel Kodzo Avorgbedor’s “Modes of Musical Continuity Among the ANlo-E√e of Accra: A Study in Urban Ethnomusicology,” (Ph.D. dissertation Indiana University, 1986), xii-xiii. © 1986. All rights reserved.
∂ This sound is made with the tip of the tongue
N A sound similar to the English ‘ng,’ as in sing
dz Pronounced as the ‘j’ in jump.
ny Pronounced as in the French ‘gn,’ as in igname.
E Sounds as ’eh’.
O An open ‘o,’ sounding as ‘aw’ or ‘au’ as in
against the rear of the hard palate, similar to the ‘r’ sound (voiced retroflex stop).
˙ Air passes through a narrow opening between the lips, as in blowing out a candle (voiceless bilabial fricative).
gb A combination of the two sounds, with a soft ‘g.’ Pronounced at the soft palate through a simultaneous closure of the lips and released simultaneously without aspiration (voiced labiovelar stop). kp A combination of the two sounds, with a soft ‘k.’ Pronounced at the soft palate through a simultaneous closure of the lips and released simultaneously without aspiration, but voiceless.
ts The same as the ‘ch’ in change.
√ Sounds as ‘fv’ or ‘pfv.’ V Pronounced as ‘yuh’ as if from under the chin. x
Sounds like ‘h.’ Air passes through a narrow bridge formed by raising the back of the tongue toward the soft palate (voiced velar fricative).
AKOMA NTOASO SYMBOL OF AGREEMENT 344
gbedamasi (center) with KPEGISU DANCERS AT KOPEYIA VILLAGE
Phonetic pronunciation is included. For some words stress is shown in capital letters while relative pitches in the E√e language are indicated as 1 for low, 2 for midrange, and 3 for high. Pitches and meanings of words can change based on context. Accra (ah KRAH) Capital city of Ghana, West Africa, situated at the country’s southern coast on the Gulf of Guinea.
Adinkra (ah ding krah) Lit. ‘farewell.’ Several distinct traditional motifs, symbols, or patterns used in designing fabric of the same name. Each symbol represents a unique proverb, metaphor, or words of wisdom.
A∂aNuwOtO (ah1 dah1 ngoo1 wah1 tah2) A name for God as ‘the great counsellor/creator.’
Adowa (ah doh WAH) A secular dance drumming of the Asante people of centralwestern Ghana. It also functions as a funeral music and dance.
A∂Otri (ah1 daw1 tree3) The military central wing of the traditional ANlO-E√e state.
(ahdz ROH) A recreational dance drumming of the E√e people of Ghana, Togo, and Benin.
A∂o∂o (ah1 doh2 doh2) A double-ended iron rattle with a cluster of clappered bells at each end.
Afa (ah1 FAH2) A West African divinity of divination.
Adzogbo (ahd zohg bo) Lit. adzo, ‘war’ and gbo, ‘divinity.’ A war divinity among the FO and E√e peoples of Ghana, Togo, and Benin.
Aflao (ah flah oo) A town at the southeastern corner of Ghana near the border with Togo.
Adzohu (ahd1 zoh1 WHO2) Lit. adzo, ‘war’ and hu, ‘dance drumming.’ A dance drumming used in the rituals of Adzogbo.
AgbekO (ahg beh kaw) Lit. ‘lives are safe.’ An E√e war dance drumming, also known as AtsiagbekO.
talking drums ensemble
Ago (ah1 goh2) A generic term for processional dance drumming among the E√e people. Also a term for calling praise or summoning. In Adzohu, a ritualistic medium for spiritual unity with the divinity.
Asante (ah shan tee; also spelled Ashanti) A cultural group in central western Ghana.
Agogo (ah goh goh) An iron double bell played in Afro-Brazilian music, tracable to West African double bells.
Asi√ui (ah1 shee3 voo3 ee3) supporting drum.
Akpese (ak peh SAY) drumming.
An E√e social dance
AmedzOdzO (ah may dzaw dzaw) Reincarnation. Amehehe∂ego (ah meh hey hey deh goh) The ‘outdooring’ or introduction of a newborn child to the community. Anyako (an1 yah1 koh2) An island town on the Keta lagoon in southeastern Ghana. ANlO-E√e (ang law eh fvay) A distinct cultural grouping of E√e people that resides in the southern coastal area of E√eland. Asaadua (ah say dyou wah) A secular dance drumming of the Asante people. Its functions include accompanying processionals of the Queen Mother and her entourage to and from traditional state events. 346
Asikpe (ah1 SHEEK3 peh2) A traditional holler signifying danger or a cry for help. The E√e term for a
Atamga (ah tahm gah) Lit. ata, ‘oath’ and ga, ‘great.’ An old E√e dance drumming that evolved into present day AgbekO. Its name is derived from the oath taken by E√e warriors before battle. Atoke
(ah toh kay) A small forged iron boatshaped bell of the E√e people.
Atrikpui (ah treek poo ee) An ancestral dance drumming that prepares warriors for battle.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV Atsime√u (ah1 chee3 meh2 voo2) Lit. atsime, ‘forked tree branch’ and √u, ‘drum.’ The lead drum in the basic E√e drum ensemble. A√aga (ah vah gah) A small forged iron clappered open-mouthed bell that can function as a rattle. AwOmefia (ah waw meh fee ah) The paramount chief of the ANlO-E√e state. Axatse (ah hot say) A gourd calabash rattle with a netting of beads, shells, or seeds about its body. AzagunO (ah zah goo naw)
A lead drummer.
AzeNu (ah1 zay1 ngoo2) An old E√e warrior dance drumming presently performed to honor community leaders. Bell pattern/bell cycle/timeline A repeating rhythm that is used as a time referent in an ensemble. It is often played on a metal bell and felt internally by dancers and drummers. Benin (beh NEEN) Formerly known as Dahomey, a coastal West African country to the east of Ghana between Togo and Nigeria, where many E√e and FO people live. Berimbau (behr eem bough) A musical bow played in Afro-Brazilan music.
Candomble (kahn dom blay) An Afro-Brazilan religion related to traditional West African religions. Capoeira (kah poh air ah ) Lit. ‘bush.’ An AfroBrazilian martial arts form with percussion and berimbau accompaniment. Caxixi (kah SHEE shee) A basket rattle played in Afro-Brazilian music one of whose probable ancestors is the West African kushi. Chimurenga (chee moo ren gah) Music of the people of Zimbabwe that used traditional melodies and songs to support its war of independence.
Boba (boh bah) A large E√e single-headed wooden drum with a deep voice.
Clave (kla vay) A timeline found in Afro-Cuban music traceable to West African traditions. Two common forms are Rumba clave, and Son clave, 4/4 timelines.
Bombo note (BOHM boh) The deep-toned open offbeat stroke played on the Bombo drum in Afro-Cuban music.
Columbia clave (koh LOOM bee ah kla vay) 12/8 timeline in Afro-Cuban music.
Cote D’Ivoire (kote dee vwa) A coastal West African country bordering Ghana to the west. Dahomey (dah hoh may) Benin.
The ancient name for
Dance drumming A description of the multiple nature of African musical expression as a dance drama with song, dance, instrumental music, and literary and dramatic elements. Dawuro (dah woo roh) A boat shaped forged iron bell among the Asante people. 347
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV south-central coastal Ghana, including the capital city of Accra, and stretching eastward to the Volta River. Gadzo (gahd zoh) A recreational music of the E√e people, derived from ancient warrior dance drumming. Gadzo√uga (gahd1 zoh1 voo2 gah2) A carved wooden lead drum for Gadzo music. Gakpevi (gak peh vee) gaNkogui.
GA OBONU DRUMMERS
Denu (deh2 noo3) Lit. ‘the beginning of palm trees.’ A coastal town in southeastern Ghana. Dialogue A conversation between lead drum and support drums, dancers, or singers; or between dancers and singers. Also known as call and response. Dondo (dohn2 doh3) A carved wooden hourglassshaped, double-headed, string tension drum played with a curved wooden stick. Among the Dagbamba people of northern Ghana this drum is known as luna (loong ah). E√e (eh vay) The people who reside across a West African area stretching from southeastern Ghana at the Volta River eastward through the southern coastal and inland regions of Togo and Benin. E√egbe (eh vay gbeh) Lit. e√e, ‘E√e’ and gbe, ‘language.’ The language spoken by the E√e people. E√u (eh voo) An E√e word for drum that is also used to describe the multiple events of dance, drumming, singing, and drama. FO (faw)
Another name for
Gamelan (GAH meh lahn) Traditional ensemble music of Indonesia, which can include tuned metallophones, wooden xylophones, gongs, drums, flute, spike fiddle, zither, and vocalists in basic, embellished, and improvised layers of melodic, timbral, and rhythmic patterns stratified in an interlocking and complex modal polyphony. Ganugbagba (gah noo gbah gbah) A metal container, often an empty tin or bucket, played with two wooden sticks and functioning as a bell. GaNkogui (gahn1 KOH2 gowee3) A forged iron double bell of the E√e people. Ghana (gah nah) A coastal West African country and former British colony known as the Gold Coast, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African nation to gain political independence on March 6, 1957. It is also called the ‘Black Star of Africa’ in recognition of its independence. Guaguanco (wah wahn KOH) A style of AfroCuban rumba music. One of its distinctive rhythms is a composite open tone low-highhigh-low phrase played between low- and medium-pitched hand drums.
A major cultural group in Benin.
Frikyiwa (free chee wah) A hollow iron castanettype bell struck with a ring. Ga (gah) A cultural group also referred to as the Gadangme whose traditional homeland is in 348
krado Court authority
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV Haxiawo (ha1 heah3 woh3) Female supporting song leaders in the dance drumming community. Some also play rhythms with handclaps, wooden sticks, or axtase.
Juba (JEW bah) An African American rhythm, dance movement, and clapping play found in the southern United States and the Caribbean. Also known as pattin’ juba, it is traceable to West Africa. Kadawo (kah dah woh) ‘Whips’ of the E√e musical community who help arrange the details of performances. Kadodo (kah doh doh) Lit. ‘Pulling together/ forming a circle.’ A section of Adzohu music in which the performers create a communal circle in celebration and worship of Adzogbo. KagaN (kah gah ngoo) A slender, single-headed, high-pitched, wooden E√e support drum.
Haxiawo Halo (hah1 loh2) A song warfare in which opposing communities compose songs and drum patterns insulting each other, as a substitute for physical violence. Hatsiatsia (hah chah chah) An E√e interlude music in which bells, rattles, and songs play a primary role.
Kente (ken teh) A traditional West African fabric that includes colorful motifs. Keta (keh tah) Lit. ‘the head of the sand.’ A coastal town in the ANlO-E√e region. Kidi (kee dee) A single-headed, medium sized and pitched, wooden E√e support drum.
Hatsolawo (hah1 cho2 lah2 woh3) Male supporting song leaders in the dance drumming community. HesinO (heh2 see2 naw1) leader.
A composer and song
Highlife An African popular music combining indigenous melodies, lyrics, tunings, rhythms, and playing styles with nonindigenous, mainly Western, instruments, melodies, and playing styles. Its forms include voice and guitar, brass bands, ballroom orchestras, and guitar-horn bands, the last of which is considered a national music by Ghanaians. Ho (hoh) The capital city of the Volta region, located in northern E√eland. Hogbetsotso Za (hoh gbeh choh choh zah) A festival in commemoration of the flight and resettlement of the ANlO-E√e people from Notsie in present day Togo to their current Ghanaian home.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV Kinka (KING2 kah1) drumming. KpOli (kpaw1 lee3) for Afa.
An E√e recreational dance Lit. ‘destiny.’ Another name
Kushi (koo1 shee3) A basket rattle of the FO and E√e peoples. Lashibi (lah1 shee2 bee3) The military eastward left wing of the traditional ANlO E√e state. Main beat series An underlying succession of beats felt internally in a given piece. One of many beat series that are felt by members of an ensemble, it often relates to dancers’ foot movements. Mawuga Kitikata (mah2 woo3 gah2 kee3 tee3 kah1 tah1) Lit. ‘The great and overall God.’ The supreme creator.
An underlying division of time within the duration of a gross beat for a given piece of music.
Samba (SAHM bah) A popular Afro-Brazilian music and dance style originating in Bahia province and traceable to Angolan and Congolese dance music. Second line The people who are drawn to, congregate around, dance with, and follow the New Orleans brass band musicians in parades and processionals. Their exuberant display often includes colorful clothing, waving handkerchiefs, and swirling umbrellas. Secondary beat series A succession of gross beats or underlying pulses coexisting with other beat series, distinct from the main beat series, but also felt internally by ensemble members.
Mbira (im BEE rah) A tuned idiophone of southeastern Africa. It is constructed of a wooden soundboard mounting a number of metal keys that are plucked with the thumbs and forefingers. Mbira usually have a resonating chamber, such as a gourd calabash, to amplify sound and a buzzing implement, such as shells or bottle caps attached to the soundboard, to diversify the sound. Multiple Rhythmic Perspectives The simultaneous existence and perception of more than one beat series in a rhythm or ensemble of rhythms. Nigeria (nigh JEE ree ah) The most populous West African country, located to the east of Benin and west of Cameroon, on the Guinea coast.
(gnaw shee) A town currently within the borders of Togo from which the ANlO-E√e
(ngoo beh taw) Young women who are candidates for traditional puberty rituals among the E√e people; the rituals are known by the same name.
Pattigame (PAH tee game) A small doubleheaded, metal-shell drum played with a combined stick and hand technique.
makoni and agbek
Sogo (soh goh) A wooden, single-headed, low pitched E√e drum. Time span The duration of a drum, bell, rattle, or cymbal pattern. Togo (toh goh) A coastal West African country east of Ghana and west of Benin where many E√e people reside.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV Tonuglawo (toh noo glah who) Ring leaders who inspire performers in the dancing area. TOgbui Nyigbla (tawg bwee nyeeg blah) A chief or divinity who is protector of the ANlO-E√e people. TOhonO (taw hoh naw) Another name for Ye√e, divinity of thunder. Volta (vohl tah) The longest river in Ghana, running from Burkina Faso in the north southward to the Atlantic Ocean. Also a name for the southeastern region of Ghana.
(fvoo dah dah who) Female elders of the drum and dance community.
√udetsi √uga √ugbe
(fvoo deh chee) A drum stand, usually to support atsime√u in a tilted position.
An E√e lead drum.
(fvoo gbeh) Lit. √u, ‘drum’ and gbe, ‘language.’ Drum language.
l-r: singers mekpornunya, eva, and sutorxue
(fvoo kaw goh) drum.
The wooden body of a
(fvoo meh gah who) Male elders of the drum and dance community.
Woe (way) The military westward right wing of the traditional ANlO-E√e state. Ye√e (yeh pfeh)
The E√e divinity of thunder.
Ye√e√u (yeh pfeh pfoo) The ritual dance drumming of Ye√e.
OSRANE NE NSOROMMA FAITHFULNESS
Yin and Yang (yihn/yahng) Yin and yang are a pair of categories in Chinese philosophy. Ancient philosophers used this concept to explain the two antagonistic but symbiotic forces in nature. Taoists think that the paradox of yin and yang is intrinsic within all aspects of existence and the interaction of yin and yang is the fundamental principle of the cosmos.
nyame nnwu na mawu Perpetual existence
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV FREEMAN KWADZO DONKOR
the Akan in the central-western area, the Ga, Ahanta, Nzema, and Fante to the south, and his own E√e peoples of the southeast. He was brought to teach African dance in Wesleyan University’s world music program (Middletown, Connecticut, USA) in the early 1970s by master drummer Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, founder of the African music program there. Mr. Donkor taught at Wesleyan until his death in 1989. He also taught in local schools and arts centers, such as the Middletown kindergarten-high school program, New Haven Center for the Arts, and Wesleyan’s center for Creative Youth. Along with Professor Adzenyah Freeman was a founding member of the jazz highlife ensemble Talking Drums that performed throughout the United States in the 1980s. Mr. Donkor was a world authority on West African dance, drumming, and culture, a human library of cultural and artistic knowledge. He is recognized by all committed people in world music as a master artist and scholar. Freeman approached African dance and drumming with an intensity that matched his eyes. He taught by action more than words, yet when he spoke, it was often in proverbs that had many levels of meaning. Whenever he played drums or danced there was a loose yet focused solar explosion that made myself and others think of jazz master drummer Elvin Jones’ style, a feeling that would kick you up and make you smile.
reeman Kwadzo Donkor was born in the late 1930s in the village of Tsiame in the Volta region in southeastern Ghana, West Africa. As a boy he attended English-style schools where he was not allowed to speak his native E√e language or to perform traditional dance and music, as a colonial strategy toward denial of culture. He would often sneak away from school grounds, climbing fences at night to take part in indigenous musical activities. When detected he was beaten as a punishment, but this only increased his resolve to keep his cultural connections. Freeman was accepted at the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studies in the 1960s and toured the world with the Ghana National Dance Ensemble. While at the Institute he did fieldwork throughout Ghana, learning the traditional dance and music of many ethnic groups, including the Dagbamba, Fra Fra, Dagara, and Lobi to the North,
He taught many students, colleagues, and performers now at the leading edge of dance, music, academia, and social activism. His life spreading the arts of West African peoples throughout the world included sacrifices that made some of his years difficult. His spirit lives on in those of us who experienced his dance and drumming. Freeman Kwadzo Donkor showed us how dance and drumming are spirit, beyond time and space.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV RAY HART
oyal Francis Hartigan (Ray Hart) was born June 25, 1887 in West Boylston, a town near Worcester, Massachusetts, and grew up on the family farm. He began Irish clog and tap dancing at a young age and hopped a train to New York City in his mid-teens to follow his art and help with the expenses of a large family of nine children. He would dance in the street to earn money, and lived at the edge of life to survive. He eventually met other dancers, musicians, comedians, singers, and worked his way up the music and show business circuits until he won the world championship for Irish Clog dancing held at Madison Square Garden. Thereafter Ray’s opportunities expanded and he toured the country in stage shows and vaudeville, bringing his art to people of all backgrounds with the sounds of his tap shoes, both Irish wooden clog and metal taps. He appeared in large concert halls in major cities such as New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as intimate clubs in small towns. He took the shorter stage name Ray Hart to fit on the theater marquees in each city that publicized the performers for the current and coming shows. Ray’s success continued and he danced around the world at well known venues in Hong Kong, China, and other parts of Asia, Australia, France, Germany, England, Ireland, Spain, and Italy, and the Americas. He performed in formal concerts for the royalty of Europe and Asia, circling the globe seven times. He worked with other well known artists of his day, such as Will Rogers, Ukelele Ike (Cliff Edwards), Eddie Cantor, and Jimmy Durante. In his career he danced with the masters of tap, including Bill Robinson, John Bubbles Sublett, Peg Leg Bates, the Nicholas brothers, the Step brothers, and the Hines family, accompanied by some of the greatest jazz performers and orchestras of the day. Mr. Hart also taught tap, jazz, and ballroom dancing to the children of many Hollywood, California show people, including those of movie producer Florence Ziegfeld. His stories about the unique experiences in his artistic travels made his life seem like an adventure. Mr. Hart also played piano, cello, banjo, and ukelele, creating his own versions of the string instruments with uniquely-shaped bodies, each with its own distinctive sound. He also sang, scatted, and whistled melodies and jazz solos, especially when accompanying his students and colleagues.
Ray settled in North Adams, Massachusetts, by the 1930s and taught dancing throughout western Massachusetts and adjacent areas of Vermont, New York, and Connecticut, including Williams College (MA). He continued to perform with many other jazz and popular artists in the Northeastern U. S. until his death on November 1, 1964. He was known and loved by many generations of students and performers in New York, Boston, the United States, and the world. He sweated, danced, played, worked, taught, and connected with people all day and night, knowing no limits for music, dance, and life. I would sometimes find him alone at night, working on a new tap rhythm, playing banjo, or singing. He would wear an elegant suit and tie for most things, from a full-dress summer performance in a large 2,000 seat outdoor auditorium to setting up bakelite tap mats for teaching in his North Adams, Massachusetts studios on a cold winter Friday afternoon. Ray Hart taught me, as well as generations of students and associates, that to dance can be sacred, the center of life, and that to perform, to live, you dance with all you’ve got, you dance no matter what. 355
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV HAZEL HARTIGAN
azel Clark Gay was born on November 29, 1907 in North Adams, Massachusetts, named after her great-great-grandfather Aziel Clark, a late 18th and early 19th century Vermont pioneer/ woodsman. Hazel’s great grandparents, Laura (180299) and Charles Gay lived in the Ohio woodlands among Native American peoples, offering their home as shelter during harsh weather and trading cornbread and supplies for venison and other Native American goods. Her grandfather, Leonard Gay (1835-1928), fought with the Ohio 101st regiment, Company B, in the Northern Army during the Civil War (1861-65). Following the war, he married, settled in Milan, Ohio, and had a son Charles (1867-1953). In 1891 while traveling to find work for the railroad, Charles rescued a young woman from a fall off a stool while she was hanging clothes in Schenectady, New York. Her name was Marguerite Croteau (1876-1952), and they were married soon after and moved to North Adams, where Charles worked for the railroad and its new Hoosac Tunnel project in the northern Berkshires. Charles played the banjo, and brought the sound of music to the household as Hazel was growing up. Hazel was the eighth of eleven children and took up the violin and C-melody saxophone, performing with her sister Marjorie, a pianist, in a women’s dance band in the late 1920s and 1930s. She developed a skilled ear and could replicate a melody heard once or twice with accuracy and great feel. She improvised on violin with a strong rhythmic sense and inventiveness and a large warm sound.
She met and studied tap dance with Ray Hart after his 1930s move to North Adams, and became so proficient that she performed with him throughout the northeastern United States, assisted him in his teaching studios, and developed her own studios in conjunction with his in Great Barrington, Lee, and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, from the 1940s through the early 1970s. She continued to tap dance and play violin until 1996, when she moved to San Jose, California, to be near her son royal. There she continued to teach her son tap dance moves and routines until her death on May 11, 1999. She taught and was loved by generations of students in the Berkshires. Hazel saw magic, wonder, and joy in each thing, from the most magnificent sunset to the tiniest blade of grass. She embraced life and all people with an unconditional love and empathy, for even the furthest stranger or antagonist. She knew no limit to emotion, and absorbed all of life’s events, including the most tragic heartbreak, with a smile. In times of the deepest tragedy, she lifted everything up with her heart, including my dad and I. When I was 3 years old, she held my hands as we danced the walking step together. She and my uncle Ray Hart connected me to a deep spiritual experience beyond the workaday world through the sounds and feel of metal taps on wood floors and bakelite mats in halls that opened out to the world. They lived their art with passion and helped me connect my taps and body movements to the intensity of piano, dance, and drumming in the African American art form of jazz. This would later extend to my experience and connection to West African dance, song, and drumming. My mother, Hazel Clark Gay Hartigan, danced through life with a light, uplifting feel, a deep passion, and an unbounded spirit. After her eyes closed for the last time in the predawn hours, and her heartbeat was no longer felt, she took some deep breaths and raised her eyebrows, telling me something. As my father Jim, Hazel gave me all, unconditional love. It will never leave me. She taught me how to dance in this long night of life.
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV JAMES HARTIGAN
ames Edward Hartigan came into this world on May 30, 1898 in West Boylston, Massachusetts, one of eight brothers and a sister, children of Florence Snow and John Hartigan. His grandfather was known as ‘great John Hartigan,’ a famous vocalist on the English stage in the 1800s. To help with family expenses, he misrepresented his age and enlisted in the U. S. Navy in 1914, becoming part of General Pershing’s American Expeditionary Forces during World War I in Europe as a Chief Gunner’s Mate on the destroyer U.S.S. Satterlee. Jim volunteered to ship food to England from France, and was on three supply ships that were torpedoed and sunk by German U-boats in the English channel. During his Navy service he was stationed in Europe, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, other Caribbean ports, and along the eastern U. S. coast, including Boston, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn, New York.
After the war Mr. Hartigan worked at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and eventually came to Western Massachusetts in the mid-1940s. There he met and married Hazel Clark Gay, a tap dance partner of his brother Ray’s, in 1946. Hazel and Jim had a son, royal, the following year and lived in Lanesboro, Massachusetts from 1947 until moving to Pittsfield in 1950. Jim worked at the General Electric plant in Pittsfield, first as a tool maker, then as a security guard until his retirement in 1963. As a result of his World War I torpedo injuries, Jim suffered debilitating strokes in 1954, 1969, 1972, and 1974, the last of which rendered him a quadriplegic, unable to speak or move his arms or legs. In each of his first three strokes, Jim used a strong will to overcome the physical and psychic obstacles of severe paralysis, regaining almost full use of his arms and legs. He was cared for at home from 1974 until his death on July 4, 1977. Mr. Hartigan was a nature lover and hunting enthusiast, hunting deer and bear in the Pennsylvania woodlands during the 1930s and early 1940s. He remained a target shooting sportsman from the 1940s until the early 1970s, engaging in competitive meets with the General Electric gun club of Pittsfield. Jim was not a performing artist, but he played the snare drum, teaching me rolls and the southern U. S. ‘Bo Diddley’ Beat, related to the Afro-Cuban son clave and Ga Kpanlogo bell rhythms of Ghana. Perhaps because he knew well that our time here is limited and fragile, Jim embraced life to the fullest in every experience, showing how personal resolve and will can overcome the obstacles of life. Although he had never been politically active beyond his hatred of war, and the advice not to trust ‘Republicans, Conservatives, the rich, and big companies,’ he wept when Dr. Martin Luther King and John and Robert Kennedy were politically assassinated in the 1960s, as a personal loss, and the lost hope of a more just society and world. My father James Hartigan taught me how to drum.
oyal hartigan is a percussionist who began a life in music tap dancing with his mother, Hazel Hartigan, and his uncle, Ray Hart. Inspired by his father, James Hartigan, he added drums and piano by age ten, playing percussion in drum corps, bands, and piano and drumset in small jazz combos. His teachers included pianists Hazel Slater, John Galletly, and John Talarico, ensemble directors David Bournazian, Morton Wayne, William Tortolano, Jacob Epstein, and Frederick Tillis, and percussionists Robert Waltermire, Thomas Dietlin, Clifford Adams, Lenny McBrowne, and Clifford Jarvis. He later studied and performed the musics of Asia, Africa, the Middle East/West Asia, Europe, and the Americas, including indigenous West African drumming, dance, song, and highlife with Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, Kwabena
Boateng, Helen Abena Mensah, Martin Kwaakye Obeng, Aziz Botchway, Sarah Thompson, Godwin Kwesi Agbeli, Emmanuel Kwaku Agbeli, Agbeko Sodzedo, Mary Agamma, Kpeglo KoďŹ Ladzekpo, Olu Nudzor Gbeti, Emmanuel Kwasi Yevutsey, Dorni Ekpe Ahlidza, Seshie Adonu Ladzekpo, Daviza Damali, and C. K. Ladzekpo; Turkish bendir frame drum with Frederick Stubbs; Japanese taiko drumming with Sensei Seichi Tanaka, Philippine kulintang gong and drum ensemble with Danongan Kalanduyan; Chinese Beijing, Cantonese, and Kunqu opera percussion with Li Zhengui, Chang Yuenho, Chang Chungho, Zhang Weihua, Wu Wenguang, and Tong Kinwoon; South Indian solkattu rhythms with Tanjore Ranganathan and Ramnad Raghavan; Korean Pungmulnori gong and drum ensemble with Eunha Pak and Kim Duk Soo; Javanese gamelan with I. M. Harjito, Sumarsam, and Pak Kanto; Sumatran gamelan with Mauly Purba and Ben Pasaribu; Gaelic bodhran with Dennis Waring; Cambodian sampho drumming with Sam-ang Sam; Vietnamese clapper percussion with Chan Le; Native American drumming with David McAllester and Paul Hadzima; Dominican merengue with Tony Viscioso and Paul Austerlitz; Brazilian samba; European symphony with John Talarico and Peter Tanner, and African American blues, gospel, funk, hip-hop, and jazz traditions from many artists, playing in church, and life. He was awarded an A.B. Cum Laude in Philosophy from St. Michaelâ€™s College in 1968, specializing in medieval metaphysics and the existentialism of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. He received a B.A. with honors in African American music at
performing with Chinese guzheng artist zhang weihua 358
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1981, studying with Roland Wiggins, Frederick Tillis, Horace Clarence Boyer, Reggie Workman, Archie Shepp, and Max Roach. royal earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in world music at Wesleyan University in 1983 and 1986, studying intensively with Edward Blackwell, Freeman Donkor, Abraham Adzenyah, and other master artists from Java, India, China, and West Africa. royal’s graduate work was inspired by the unbounded affection, commitment, and support of a life long friend, Mary Ann Knight of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Her sacrifice has made his life in music possible. He has taught world music, African drumming, and world music ensemble at The New School for Social Research (now known as The New School) in New York (1991-93) and the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Wesleyan University. royal taught graduate and undergraduate courses in world music, large and small jazz ensembles, experimental music ensemble, Asian music ensemble (Philippine kulintang), African American music history, ethnomusicology, and West African drumming and dance at San Jose State University (1993-99) before assuming his current position as Associate Professor in world music at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the fall of 1999. He teaches world music survey, area studies, and music of the African diaspora, as well as jazz ensembles. royal was a master artist resident at the New School in 200506 and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of the Philippines during fall 2006.
Brothers, Miami, FL, 1995), as well as Dancin’ On The Time, a book with digital video on 4-way drumset unified independence and layers of time (Tapspace Publications, Portland OR and San Jose, CA, 2006). He also edited and produced percussionist Clifford Adams’ percussion book, Rudiments On Parade (2004). He has given lectures and clinics on world music and jazz in Africa, China, the Philippines, Europe, and North America. He travels with students to West Africa each summer to teach, perform, and do research, collaborating with the musicians at Anyako village and the Dagbe Cultural Centre in Kopeyia village, Volta Region, Ghana. He has performed, given workshops, and recorded internationally with his own quartet (blood drum spirit 1997, 2003, Innova Recordings, ancestors 2007, and blood drum spirit: the royal hartigan ensemble live in china 2007), Juba (Look on the Rainbow 1987), Talking Drums (Talking Drums 1985 and Someday Catch, Someday Down 1987), the Happy Feet Orchestra (Happy Feet 1991), the Fred Ho Afro-Asian Music Ensemble (We Refuse to be Used and Abused and Song for Manong 1988, Underground Railroad to My Heart 1994, Monkey Epic Part 1 1996, Turn Pain Into Power 1997, Monkey Epic Part 2 1997, Yes Means Yes, No Means No! Whatever She Wears, Wherever She Goes! and Warrior Sisters 1998, Night Vision and Voice of the Dragon, Part 1 Once Upon A Time In Chinese America, 2000, Black Panther Suite 2003, Voice of the Dragon Part 2 Shaolin Secret Stories 2004); Hafez Modirzadeh’s Paradox ensemble (Chromodal Discourse 1993, The People’s Blues 1996, The Mystery of Sama 1998), the David Bindman-Tyrone Henderson Project (Strawman Dance 1993, Iliana’s Dance 1996), and poet Nathaniel Mackey (Strick: Song of the Andoumboulou 1995). He has released a documentary and artistic video of his work in West Africa and its relation to African American music cultures (E√e 1997) and a DVD on jazz drumset styles through the Beijing Midi School for Music in Beijing, China (2004).
ESE NE TEKREMA WE IMPROVE AND ADVANCE
In addition to this work his publications include Blood Drum Spirit: Drum Languages of West Africa, African America, Native America, Central Java, and South India, a 1700-page analysis of world drumming traditions (University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI, 1986); articles in Percussive Notes, World of Music, The Rutgers Annual Review of Jazz Studies, Music In China, and The African American Review; and a book with compact disc, West African Rhythms for Drumset (Manhattan Music/Warner
VIVI MEVO NA AGOKU NU HAFI; WO TSO NE FUNA GBE O
A prayer inspired by the Hopi people of Native America with additional words by royal hartigan
from our ancestors, for our ancestors . . .
do not stand at our graves and weep;
WE ARE NOT THERE,
we do not sleep
we are a thousand winter winds that blow,
we are the diamond glints on snow
we are the dawning dew in may’s blooming mist, we are the heartbeat from your dreams kissed
we are the sun on summer’s ripened grain, we are the gentle autumn’s rain
we are harvest leaves of red and orange and gold,
WE ARE the life force of all beings, great and small, young and old we are mountain meadows of brown and tan and green, we are the hidden shadow spirits of all things unseen we are the clouds in an endless sky, we are the sounds of
music, dance, laughter, and song from up on high
when you awaken in the morning’s quiet hush we are the swift uplifting rush of birds in circled flight; we are the soft stars that shine on a moonlit night so do not stand at our graves and cry; � and as before,
WE ARE NOT THERE,
wherever you walk i am with you, near or far
and wherever I move on life’s paths you are right HERE WITH ME, inside my heart
YOU GAVE MEyour life, your work, your sacrifice, your heartbreak, your soul
you held me up in the air of life, filled me with joy, magic, wonder, and love for all things humble and divine, fleeting and eternal; you gave me a smile that lasts forever you gave me a heart without bound, YOU GAVE ME ALL:
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV A mirror for each other’s souls through time and space,
WE ARE ONE and someday, yet again, we will be whole, as we awaken together in the evening’s midnight sun and we’ll dance with spirits deep, and sing the whole way through we’ll laugh at life’s old ills, and to each other be true as we awaken together in the evening’s midnight sun
And I will be with you
and hold you in my arms and
we are one
I will love you forever
we are one
WE ARE ONE