Historical help - History of certain hand drums

... post here historical info of any other musical instrument non specified in the above forum (suggest here to open a new forum!)..

Postby ABAKUA » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:50 am

I thought I might add something to the bongo lke instrument being discussed..

I have this recording of a Muslim wedding ceremony, The crushing of a millet "Arrawal", and Senegalese wrestling made in the Medina quarter of Dakar by the Diola people.


I have taken some pics of the cover and the inserts. Makes for some interesting reading.


Attachment: http://mycongaplace.com/forum/eng/uploa ... CN2775.JPG
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Postby ABAKUA » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:52 am

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Postby ABAKUA » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:52 am

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Postby ABAKUA » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:54 am

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Postby ABAKUA » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:54 am

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Postby ABAKUA » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:55 am

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Postby ABAKUA » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:57 am

If you scroll down on this link: CLICK HERE! you can here samples from this recording.

Scroll down on that link (page) and you will find 3 samples.

Enjoy.




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Postby Berimbau » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:26 am

Dear Abakua,
As tantalizing as the picture of that Diola double drum may seem, I really doubt that it has anything to do with the turn of the 20th century development of the bongo in Cuba. Now the Diola also have single player drum chimes with up to five instruments joined together! So please don't anybody write to try and convince me that Candido's great grandfather was Diola!!! Drum chimes are also found in Central Africa. Any decent anthropologist worth their salt would tell you that multiplicity is just one of the logical steps in organological innovation. If one sounds good, more will sound better. I think that the issues surrounding the origin of the bongo is a bit more complicated than that.
Z - Yes their are Muslim Bantu but they are found only along the East Coast of Africa, again quite far from the usual trade routes to Cuba. Again, the internal African slave trade targeted these Bantu-speaking East Africans for servitude in North Africa, and also along the Persian Gulf.



Saludos,



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Postby ABAKUA » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:31 am

I really doubt that it has anything to do with the turn of the 20th century development of the bongo in Cuba.


I never stated it did, nor am I of the opinion that it did.

I posted that to add some colour and additional info to the discussion and show that similar instruments/influences are also found in other tribes/African communities. Nothing more.
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Postby akdom » Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:17 pm

Hi Facundo

As I mentionned in another post, I have the booklets that sum up the several volumes of Mr. Ortiz, and you are right, they are THE reference in that field.

I am ver y happy to see that people are getting more and more interrested by history, culture and backgrounds of afro cuban instruments and rhythms. Like in traditional West African music, it is very hard to understand a rhythm if we don't get as much background as possible.

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Postby Facundo » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:32 pm

akdom wrote:Hi Facundo

As I mentionned in another post, I have the booklets that sum up the several volumes of Mr. Ortiz, and you are right, they are THE reference in that field.

I am ver y happy to see that people are getting more and more interrested by history, culture and backgrounds of afro cuban instruments and rhythms. Like in traditional West African music, it is very hard to understand a rhythm if we don't get as much background as possible.

B

Hey B,

Absolutely, Ortiz's works are incomparable. Nothing has been done like his books. I was unaware of the booklets you mention but you really have to see the debth of material in the actual volumes to appreciate what he did. You are right, there is a very rich history behind the music of the Afro Cubans.

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Postby Berimbau » Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:09 pm

Although most folks posting here know Don Fernando Ortiz for his groundbreaking and exhaustive five volume set, "Los Instrumentos," he is finally now recognized as one of the leading lights in cultural anthropolgy. To put it simpley, even with such heavy players on the field as Herskovits, Courlander, etc., Don Fernando was the only one who got it RIGHT by articulating his theory of transculturation. Despite this, it has taken the rest of the world a half century to catch up with this Cuban visionary! Rumor on the street in NYC a decade ago was that Dr. Morton Marks had completed an English translation of "Los Instrumentos" but was unable to have it published for some reason.
Now Ortiz's other works are equally impressive, and far more obtainable, with some even now available in English translation. Ortiz's Cuban Counterpoint has long been available in English, although it is of nominal value to most musicians, and Judith Bettelheim recently published an English translation of his "La Fiesta de Afrocubana del 'Dia de Reyes' in her "Cuban Festivals" book. Antonio Benitiz-Rojo has published a very nice catalog of a 1999 exhibition in Los Angeles that combined Joseph Howard's extensive collection of African and African Diasporan percussion instruments with Don Fernando's "Los Instrumentos."
A new edition of Los Instrumentos was published in a two volume set in Spain a few years back, but is now VERY difficult to obtain. E-Bay has a Canadian dealer who regularly sells reprinted sets of Ortiz's original monographs that form the corpus of the five volume set.
Ortiz is simply essential reading for anyone even remotely interested in our music.



Saludos,




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Postby Facundo » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:14 pm

Berimbau wrote:Actually, very much is now KNOWN regarding even the smallest details of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, including the specific names of boats, captains, where they left from, landed, and even the ethnic mix of their human cargo. One need only go to a decent university library and consult the works of Curtin, Rawley, et al.
Yes there were Muslims in the African slave trade to Cuba, but they were in the distinct minority. Most of these unfortunate souls were taken from the Western Sudanic belt in a geographic area that included parts of Mali as well as Northern Ghana and Nigeria. Morocco was NOT a part of these slave trade routes, again those routes went in the opposite direction, from Mali TO Morocco!
Yes the Arabic greeting is found in some Palo ceremonies. I cannot at present remember the source for it (I'm pleading Katrina brain) but it could even have come from Southern Spain, which WAS under Arabic domination for centuries! I don't find it's use here particularly significant. Many New World African religions are noted for such transcultural interchanges.
As to the term Tbila, it is derived from the same Arabic root word as Tabla, which has been used for centuries in North Africa to describe both the goblet and kettle drums. Indians actually borrowed the term from the Arabs as their own twin "tabla" drums were being developed.



Saludos,



Berimbau

Berimbau,

You missed my point regarding the lost history. I am talking about the cultural and social dynamic that took place among the different groups of Africans themselves as a result of the slave trade. In Africa there was a set phenomena as a result of the tribal wars and slave raids. In the diaspora there was a different set resulting from alian tribes having to live together in forced bondage. The latter produced a new common culture that continued to acknowledge the particular aspects of cultural division between them and an individual group identity. Yet, there was exchange overtime that produced both changes in each of these group and a coming together toward a common collective African based identity.

When Ortiz first started studying the Afro-Cubans,as a sociologist, his focus was directed toward trying to document what he thought was an inherent predisposition to crime. What he discovered was the most of the crimes were nothing more than a continuation of the tribal hostilities that existed in their African homeland. Most importantly, found that the Africans had very complex and safisticated cultures. His studies crossed discipline lines from being purely socialogical to anthropological and ethno-mucialogical studies. In doing so he uncovered the impact of slavery from an Afro-Cuban persepective that had not even been considered during his time. He did have contemporties that were doing related work but nothing like his.

My point is that there are a myriad of untold stories an aspects of cultural impact under and resulting from slavery that are untold and in many instances lost. This is due to the lack of concern for the full range of the slavery experience from an African perspective as well as an absence of objective and sensitive scholars to chronical such valuable informaiton.

To further illustrate my point - I had the good fortune of being close to an elder Olorisha who, as a kid, was a neighbor of the famous Olubata, Pablo Roche. The stories he told me about Pablo, his drummers and the culture during that time period had me on the edge of my seat. He remembers Ortiz visiting Pablo to gather information for his studies. Bascom also used Pablo as an informant for his work as well. Pablo, was not only a famous drummber, he initiated into three different traditions, as an Olorisha, a Palero and Abakua. He spoke the language of all three traditions and held positons of importance in all of them. He was a cultrual phenomena that was a product of a unique Diaspora experinece. I will end by affirming that there is a lot behind these drums we play that can enrich our lives in many ways yet the stories go untold.

Fraternaly in the drum,
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Postby Berimbau » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:40 pm

Well said Facundo!
Sorry if I misunderstood your original post. As to events in Africa during the slave trade, we do know that many areas were severely depopulated as a direct result of both the trade and the so-called "interethnic wars" which helped fill the slave ships. This destabilized the continent by robbing it of it's talented youth and left Africa underdeveloped and ripe for the picking. Instead the slaves help to build the juggernaut econonmy we enjoy in the US, but one which dark-skinned people are still hardly able to participate in.
Although such African conflicts certainly did have a pre-existing ethnic dimension, they were largely fueled by the colonial interest of European and American powers. The same scenario is happening in Iraq today, where our terrorist president Bush is trading US soldier's blood for oil futures. The US will be paying a very high price for his criminal actions for a number of generations.
Not that the Bushies are without some regret. A good example of this was the popular redneck bumper sticker seen throughout the Southern US in the mid-80's. It said, "If I knew it was going to be this much trouble, I would have picked my own #### cotton." Now I couldn't agree anymore with that sentiment!! If these lazy Americans hadn't stolen and raped some 17 million Africans then they wouldn't be getting robbed by their niggers today!!! In this life, you reap what you sew, and if when the white man raided Africa to invent his "niggers," he later found himself stuck with them, tough luck!! Just what does the US think that the Iraqies have in store for us? Paybacks are a bitch!
Now it didn't take Don Fernando Ortiz too long to distance himself from the racist doctrines of the Positivists. He doubtless realized that if rampid criminality was such a large part of the African-Atlantic experience, it had it's roots in the crimes of slavery. This same exclusionary system is still firmly entrenched in the US, and we all pay the price for it. It is this system that makes a rapper like 50 cent a thug and Donald Rumsfeld a patriot. In reality 50 cent IS a talentless, petty thug, but Runmsfeld is actually a war criminal!!! In a quantitative sense,
wouldn't you rather have your tv stolen than your entire country?



Saludos,



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Postby tjaderized » Tue May 23, 2006 10:49 pm

Reading through this confirms my impression that we have very little definite knowledge about the true origin of the instrument that we call "bongo"!
Tracing a pair of drums tied together - like the Morrocan clay drums or other types south of the Sahara - just illustrates the "logic" behind the pairing process - the goal to broaden the sound spectrum.
The bongo is much more than the pairing of two drums - its specific playing technique based on the martillo, the important role in the early sextetos, playing variations all the time commenting on the vocals (like dundun drummers do all the time in Nigerian ensembles, literally talking), all that together is what makes it unique.
I have to dig out my copies of Ortiz and Howard to find out if there is anything about the history of this drum - what were the earliest iconographic documents of this drum etc.
I have seen photos, BTW, of cylindrically shaped drums used by Mento bands (e.g. the Jolly Boys) which are seemingly played with the same technique - if that proves anything - but there is more to investigate for us.




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