Tradition of Burundi Drumming - Looking for decent video and/or other

Use this forum to discuss about all the other percussions and/or to suggest a new specified forum to add

Postby Chupacabra » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:04 am

Hello All,
This is my first post on the CongaBoard. I just discovered it a couple of nights ago and wonder where the H-E double-hockey-sticks you've been hiding!
Anyway, on to my topic. A long time ago, probably around 1973 or '74 in Montreal, I was with my parents and had the chance encounter to see these amazing dark-skinned people like I had never seen before. They were dressed very differently than anyone I had ever seen in my 8 or 9 years of life. But most remarkable was what they were doing: Chanting, marching, dancing and drumming. They paraded in with their immense drums (ingomas) balanced on their heads while flailing their sticks with speed and precision, chanting and march/dancing as they opened their presentation. I remember my parents not wanting anything to do with this at all but I was absolutely awe-struck and I put up the fight of my life to stay and watch this spectacle - I guess my mother got the short straw because she was the one who stayed while I was up as close as I could get to the square that they were playing in.
Years passed and time faded the memory until I started getting interested in world music and percussion a few years ago. And then one evening on YouTube I rediscovered those amazing drummers and dancers that I had been so entranced by as a child: The Royal Drummers of Burundi. If you haven't heard of them - look them up on YouTube and you'll get a small taste of the power and majesty of their tradition. When I first started going through those little clips with their foggy video and cloudy audio, the memories of that show flooded back instantly.
If there is anyone out there who knows where I can find some decent quality video, of any category (documentary, performance, tutorial, etc.) I would be most grateful if you could let me know. And that goes for any other resources as well. If I ever get the chance to see them again I would go well out of my way - if travel to central Africa was viable right now I'd be over there looking for them! A little too dangerous there now for travel.
If anyone has experienced Burundi Drummers I would be glad to hear from you as well.
... --- ... ... --- ... ...---...
Chupacabra
 
Posts: 353
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:57 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Postby Bachikaze » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:17 pm

I am a big fan of Batimbo (Drummers of Burundi). I built a drum group partially based on the performance style of this group. I wrote this for a website:

Wow! Powerful stuff. The Burundi Drummers, like Kodô, are a visual, as well as musical treat. The ensemble consists of twelve to twenty drummers who are court musicians in their country. The drummers enter the performing area with their large peg pedestal-shaped drums on their heads. They form a semi-circle with the large amashako drums on one side and the similar-looking but smaller ibishikizu drums on the other. In the center is the inkiranya, an amashako painted in the colors of the Burundi flag. They beat a constant, evolving set of rhythms while dancing and leaping.

Each member takes a turn playing the lead part on the central inkiranya, displaying his talents in his rhythms and his dancing, leaping, miming, and caricatures of people and animals.

The drums are large, with a heavy sound. They are played with long, thick sticks. For sharp punctuation, players strike the flanks of the wooden drums, as well as the cowhide head. They also shout in unison at changes in the rhythm.

Part of the inspriration for our ikigala bass drums came from the drums of Batimbo. We also play some rhythms in a style inspired by their performances.


Unfortunately, I have found no videos better than choppy, blurry images. There really should be a DVD of these guys. I have three audio CDs of them. Good luck, and please let me know if you're more successful than I have been.
User avatar
Bachikaze
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:08 am
Location: La Mesa, CA, USA

Postby Chupacabra » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:10 am

Thank you for the response, it's nice to hear from someone who has experienced the Drummers of Burundi (Batimbo). The latest info that I have is from an acquaintance who is originally from the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo), or Zaire when he used to live there and he seemed pretty certain that the tradition is almost extinct in Burundi. With the wars between Hutu and Tutsi, ebola, HIV/AIDS, following the American Dream, and so on, it has taken it's toll on the old ways. I really do hope he's wrong and I will continue my search. One of my life goals is to see another show with the Drummers of Burundi. It would be nice to learn some of the rhythms and dances but I think I would feel out of place in practising them - not to mention the part about balancing a drum on my head and dancing, chanting and playing at the same time is so far beyond my current abilities that it might seem impossible. Of course, just the way I am, it wouldn't be enough just to learn some drum rhythms and call it a day. I need to learn something about the people and places that it all comes from. For better or worse.
Are you the same guy who runs members.cox.net? If so, I've been on your website a couple of times and found it quite interesting and informative.
... --- ... ... --- ... ...---...
Chupacabra
 
Posts: 353
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:57 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Postby Bachikaze » Mon Dec 24, 2007 11:56 pm

I'm glad you found this post two weeks after your original message.

I can imagine that life is too tough in Burundi right now to worry about making DVDs. I envy you that you have actually seen Batimbo live. I have not had that experience.

My drum group, Goro-Goro http://gorogoro.info doesn't try to copy Batimbo (impossible!). I was inspired by some of the aspects of their performances and their drums. I designed my ikigalas partially based on the amashakos, partially on taiko drums, and partially on the practical needs of my group.

http://members.cox.net/drum2/ikigala1.htm

I have a number of drum-based websites on two servers: cox.net and gorogoro.info. Most are accessible from here:

http://members.cox.net/drum/drumcom1.htm

Thanks for reminding me about videos of Batimbo on YouTube. Some were added since I last checked. Some seem to be from a German documentary I unsuccessfully tried to order online.




Edited By Bachikaze on 1198541068
User avatar
Bachikaze
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:08 am
Location: La Mesa, CA, USA


Return to Other instruments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest