This past weekend I went up to Asheville, NC to attend a performance and private drumming workshop with Bolokada Conde.
From Wikipedia —
Moussa Bolokada Conde is a master drummer, expert of Malinke rhythms, and one of the world’s best djembe players. He joined the Les Percussion du Guinee to replace the legendary Momoudy Keita as their lead drummer. He has traveled and performed in major venues all over the world since 1996 and was featured in the IMAX movie PULSE: a Stomp Odyssey. Since 2004, he has been performing and teaching in the United States. He has conducted percussion workshops in many cities in the US and Europe. He has released two musical CD’s, Morowaya and Sankaran, and is the subject of an upcoming documentary, Bolokada Conde- Malinke Village Djembefola. He was awarded immigrant status as an alien with extraordinary ability in the arts in 2007.
Bolokada has been to Charlotte a few times, he usually comes through once a year but it’s been a few years since he’s been through. I love hearing him play. His sound is amazing, one of the cleanest sounding djembefolas and just a treat to listen to. He inspires to go back to square one and just work on my tones and slaps.
I had a great time in Asheville and got hang out with my sister on the parkway a bit. I actually ended up missing Bolokada’s performance, but I was ok with it because my main reason for going up there was the workshop and I had fun chillin’ with my sis and her hubby.
The workshop was great. We learned a rhythm I had never heard of, and I don’t think anyone else has either.. haha.. 🙂 The rhythm is Soubouyeye, and is a rhythm of love. Of course he explained it much better than this, but I believe ‘soubou’ is Malinke for ‘kiss’. (I’ll have to listen to my recording to make sure).
We crammed a lot into 90 minutes. We did a special break/call, three djembe accompaniments, all the dununs, the song, and a few solo phrases. Bolokada is an excellent teacher. I’ve been to other workshops where we hardly learn all the djembe phrases. Not because people don’t get it or that it’s difficult, but because it can be hard to teach a group and time flies when you’re drumming.
I was able to keep up with the drumming pretty good, but I get lost when singing in Malinke.. I just sort of mumble. I’m glad I recorded it though. We did so much that 20 min. after the workshop I couldn’t remember much of what I had done. The dununs have a really nice feel in this rhythm, just makes you dance. The djembe rhythms aren’t anything special and neither was the call or even the solo phrases, however mixing all these together was really magical. A beautiful rhythm with a nice upbeat feel. Soubouyeye!
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BTW, when I say upbeat.. It’s not a rhythm that is felt on the “upbeat”, I just meant that it feels alive and energizing! However the sangban is played on the upbeat. 🙂