16 April 2007

Monday's mp3: Turning to Percussion

What a weekend. I was drenched in rhythms, courtesy of the World Rhythm Festival at the Seattle Center. Two days of workshops and performances by world-class drummers and percussionists and dancers, all the while a large, organically shifting drum circle took place outside on the expansive lawn.

It was tough to choose just where to be, what to do. Yesterday I settled into a two-hour workshop on drum circle facilitation with Arthur Hull, and later a dumbek workshop with Raquy Danziger. Outside of the workshop rooms I caught some energetic performances, and chatted with a number of great musicians, including Modibo Traore, Pepe Danza, and Thione Diop.

This morning, my mind is still throbbing with the wonder of it all, so I'll share a percussive song with you. "The Turning" is a drum rhythm of the Ewe people of Ghana, played while dancers execute a graceful turn. On his CD of the same name, Jerry Leake uses it as a metaphor for exploring new ideas and combinations of instruments.

The opening track "Woodwork" uses balafon, sticks, cajon, clave, etc., then "En Tundra" launches with resonant tabla, which is quickly joined by the Ewe drums sogo, kidi, and kagan. Among other twists are vibraphone covers of jazz standards by Miles Davis and Bill Evans. "Ramki" includes Indian vocal percussion and tabla alongside balafon and agogo. For a percussion album, The Turning has plenty of changes to keep things interesting, and from start to finish the combinations work.

[mp3] Jerry Leake: The Turning
from The Turning-Percussion Expansions

hoop girl by earball visions

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