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How to Play Djembe (Book/CD set) Paperback – February 15, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is well laid-out, uses layman's vocabulary, and notation is easy to use and interpret, though I am still figuring out triplets and 12/8 time (! ). Instructions include playing position and posture, the "handing" of the three basic sounds: bass, tone/open, and slap, as well as how to tune your rope-strung African djembe. A nice feature for actual practicing is that the book will lay flat on the floor and the musical notation is printed large enough that you can see it from a standing position.
Dworsky and Sansby start you off learning syncopating parts to Kuku, a very popular West African rythm, as well as Djole, Kassa, Suku, Madan and a couple others.
The accompanying CD, is perhaps the key element to this instruction. The CD contains the djembe artistry of Sidi-Joh Mohammed Camara, a master drummer from Bamako, Mali. This is what makes the whole process really come alive. You learn the parts by reading and practicing, then playing what you hear on the CD with Sidi. You also hear Sidi-Joh playing the parts ensemble with others so you know what the whole sound and rythm are like. In the instructional tracks, usually two parts are played. You can separately listen to either part by turning your CD players balance either full left or full right, and play along with Sidi.
I am an enthusiastic beginner on djembe having only started 4 months ago. I'm only able to get personal intruction sporadically. Considering that the book and CD are about the same cost as an hour's private lesson with a djembe artist, it's a good buy. Heartily recommended.
The CD is what truly makes this book 5 stars. It has a multitrack feature. You can adjust the balance on your stereo to hear one drum part at a time. I like to play one part while my stereo plays another. In addition, the tracks go for about five minutes so you can really get into the rhythm, build stamina, and maybe practice soloing!
There is only one thing that keeps me from giving this book/CD five stars.
A previous reviewer says the CD allows you to hear what the "whole rhythm" is like, which isn't entirely true. The book doesn't address bell and djun-djun (bass drum) parts at all, and these parts are not present on the CD. These rhythms are incomplete with just the djembe parts. The book/CD never gives the student a complete view of what the African rhythms, as played by a proper ensemble, should sound like. I don't fault them for not teaching these parts, as this is a book about playing djembe, but much of the rhythm context is missing.
With the excess space on the CD, the removal of the sample tracks from the "Jaguar..." album, and a bit of creative work, the authors should have been able to give the listener a taste of what the full rhythms sound like, even if only for a couple minutes each.
I still recommend this book to the beginner, but recommend that the beginner seek another source as well that better emphasizes the whole of the rhythms.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Yipes, no embedded sounds or the CD with the book! Instead, they refer you to a website. For heaven's sake, don't get the kindle version of this 14-year-old book.Published on July 24, 2014 by Kari Gunderson
Ordered this because book stores were limited to "self-learning" books for main instruments. Great book! But know that this book is African rhythms.Published on May 8, 2014 by Kurena
You need a teacher and lots and lots of practice. Or a trip to Africa - that is the most efficient way of learning, but the book does give you a basic understanding.Published on March 5, 2014 by Ole Asbjørn Riis
There is no CD or mp3 download for the kindle delivering . For this price, I expect more from Amazon.Published on January 6, 2014 by Rudi Zimmerer
This is a good book/CD for beginners and intermediate hand drummers. Dworsky & Sansby do well at the impossible task of turning writing into rhythm, but the CD really teaches the... Read morePublished on July 2, 2013 by Charles Murray
I'm a beginner, and it's easy to use. I've learned a lot, and I'm even teaching djembe now to one of my clients.Published on February 11, 2013 by Kathleen