Saturday, October 02, 2010

A secret love

I have been playing djembe for over 4 years now, but I have to admit, I have always wanted to play the dun duns. Dun duns are the big bass drums in the West African drum ensemble. They are the booming, melodic backbone upon which the other drums weave their magic spells. It is a heavy responsibility to carry the whole rhythmic structure of a piece. If the dun duns mess up, the djembes, the dancers, the whole thing comes to a screeching halt.

Dun duns are big wooden cylinders covered on both ends with thick cowhide. You play them with sticks made out of a very light and fibrous wood that is remarkably strong for being so light. They are about an inch in diameter and have a hammer head embedded in one end.

My teacher has lent me his set of dun duns and I am learning a few songs. I have been practicing like crazy over the last couple of days and having a ball doing it. I have put the set of big drums in the corner of my dining room and every time I walk by I pull up a chair and play for awhile.

Hey, do me a favor. Don't tell my djembes, ok?

No comments: