Elliott Orr – percussion – Introduction to the Djembe

Module 1 covers:

Introduction to the Djembe
History, context and meaning.
Technique of the Djembe
Bass, Tone and Slap.

Key points:
Djembe, pronounced with a silent ‘d’, means ‘to gather in peace’.
The djembe is always accompanied by the doundouns, they are a family of drums.
The largest is the Doundounba (‘ba’ means big).
The middle Doundoun is the Sangbang.
The smallest is the Kenkeni.
Introducing Charles Wall.
Also know as Bobby Alu, Charles is an amazing musician and a great human. I’ve been teaching Charles djembe and doundoun since around 2005. Check him out on Spotify as Bobby Alu.
Each time you sit down to play it’s important to have a good warm up. Loosen up the shoulders, wrists and hands.
Sit forward in your chair and maintain good posture.

Technique:
Bounce off the drum – strike the drum quickly and bounce straight back up. Imagine you are lifting the sounds out of the djembe rather than pushing into the skin.
Be light and don’t allow your fingers to ‘stick’ to the skin.
The first row of knuckles lines up directly over the rim of the djembe.
Tones are found with your fingers straight and together.
Slaps are found with fingers slightly separated and ever so slightly curled.
At 16 min 53 seconds you could pause the video and repeat that simple rudiment for much longer.
Do the same at 19:57.
Before beginning each new Module I would suggest that you remind the students about the technique and then do the warm up from Module 1.
Start the warm up each day at 20:25 and go up until 23:44.