Dunun (African Bass Drums)

The Dunun is an African drum that can provide a low frequency, comparable to what western music calls a “bass drum,” to your ensemble. This particular drum comes from West Africa.

Swahili is spoken in East Africa

This week our assignment is the most challenging so far. Fortunately it only require your ears. Please listen to music with Swahili language/lyrics. By the end of the week, you should be familiar with this language. We won’t expect you to be able to speak it of course. Swahili is spoken in East Africa

The Kora vs The Lute

This week you should spend some time learning the difference between the beautiful Kora (harp) instrument and the African lute(s). The latter is a predecessor to the guitar. After you become familiar with the differences, decide which instrument you want to play. Feel free to play both. Kora music

How to play the Shekere

This week we will become familiar with the mother of all percussion shakers. The shekere comes from West Africa. It is very popular all over the world, influencing Latin music as well as jazz.

African Dance Ensemble

This week your assignment is to choregraph a dance routine featuring at least one recognizable dance move from Africa. Traditional or modern African dance. This link is to Ghana Dance Ensemble. I encourage you to go all over the continent to find inspiration. Your routine should accompany a 3+ minute song. Enjoy!

African Music Studies Quiz #2

Next week we will take a field trip and do something a little different. Please check the syllabus Monday morning. In the meantime please review these questions covering the last three weeks. The answers are found on the post (click links) but as in every case, use your own resources. The Zimbabwean marimba is often… Continue reading African Music Studies Quiz #2

The Master Talking Drummer

I had the opportunity to befriend and study with Bisi in 1990. I was one of his first American students at University of Washington when he was a visiting “master talking drummer” from Nigeria care of U.W. School of Ethnomusicology. It is great to verify he is still inspiring thousands of American musicians with his… Continue reading The Master Talking Drummer

The African Xylophone and Marimba

There are many varieties of African xylophones and marimbas. Please become familiar with the West African balafon and the Zimbabwean marimba this week.