West African Rhythm Checklist

How many of these rhythms do you know?  You can add to/print this checklist (not comprehensive but a good place to start) and see how many you can learn enough to recognize/play from just hearing the rhythm…  At the bottom I posted my current status (I’m cheating because some of these I had memorized in the past but have forgotten)  – I’ve been really slacking in the area of traditional memorization over the last 3 years because I haven’t been going to class.  If you want to learn you have to practice, right?  Support your Regional Griots and their well-studied USA apprentice counterparts and keep the tradition alive…

Click below for a downloadable PDF of this West African Rhythm Chart.

West-African-Rhythms

Baga Gine
Balakulandjan
Denadon
Djabara New!
Djole
Donaba
Dunungbe
Guinea Fare
Kadan
Fankani
Kakilambe
Kassa
Kassa Soro
Konden 1
Konden_2
Konowulen 1
Kuku
Kurabadon
Lamba (Djelidon)
Mendiani
Moribayassa
Nantalomba
N’Goron
Sinte
Sofa
Soko
Soli
Soli
Soli des Manian
Sorsornet
Sunun
Takosaba
Tiriba
Toro

my status:  (some have been forgotten, sadly, due to lack of upkeep – but often it’s there in the back of the mind and will come back if tapped into again) – some of these I may have taken only two or three random lessons on when Djoniba Dance Center was still in Union Square in NYC.  From a student perspective that place was awesome.  You could basically walk in at anytime, and if there wasn’t already a class planned, almost any of the drummers there like Vado, Pablo, Mangue, or even Fode Bangoura sometimes, were always willing to give a walk-in private lesson for $20.  Are you kidding me?  I can walk in like it’s a restaurant and order up some custom Kakilambe knowledge for $20 at any old time of the day?  Yeah those were the days….  If I had been a little more dedicated the grid below could have easily fully checked off.   “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”…

Baga Gine

Balakulandjan

Denadon

 X

Djabara

Djole

 X

Dundunba

 X

Dunungbe

Guinea Fare

 X

Kadan

 X

Fankani

Kakilambe

 X

Kassa

 X

Kassa Soro

Konden 1

Konden_2

Konowulen 1

Kuku

 X

Kurabadon

Lamba (Djelidon)

 X

Mendiani

 X

Moribayassa

Nantalomba

N’Goron

Sinte

 X

Sofa

Soko

 X

Soli

 X

Soli Fast Variation

 

Soli des Manian

Sorsornet

 X

Sunun

Takosaba

 X

Tiriba

 X

Toro

 

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One Response to “West African Rhythm Checklist”

  1. KevinJuly 11, 2013 at 1:29 AM #

    I think check list is an awesome idea. When teaching, I usually start with Kuku and Moribayassa. Moribayassa is really easy to feel and beginners pick up on it quick. It’s fun to play and it’s not technically difficult.

    I’ve touched on most the rhythms above, but like you, I don’t get enough practice time in to retain all the rhythms I’ve once learned. I’d love to see some other comments about which rhythms you started with, and favorites to play.

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