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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:30 pm
by windhorse
James, you don't remember walking up the hill with you guys? I was there! Yep, it was darn awesome as usual! I cut out a bit early.

Day 5
The next morning, I go to Level 5 “Cajon de Muerto” with Chris Walker. At least that’s what it said on the schedule, but Chris said that it would be more properly called “Cajon pa los Muertes”. It was quite interesting, as are all of Chris’s classes.. He is so cool and suave that he projects that into his students.. We learned several Plegarias and some really interesting patterns based around the bombo note in 6/8. Then, I went and observed a level 3 dance class with Palo/Yemaya. It started with Johnny Santos on four congas, and a full bata accompaniment. I must say that Johnny’s chops were most impressive! It was fully amazing to watch that for a while. Then, I went to have a tea and relax for while. After lunch it was Iyesa with Toto Berriel. What a fun class!!! I didn’t really learn anything new, except for a bit on Caja variations, but it was quite fun anyway! Song class was awesome as usual, then there was a guest lecture right after it. A lady named Amanda Vincent gave a speech about African Diaspora of bata, and how much has changed in Africa while Cuba retained the old ways. It was very interesting. That night there was an unofficial party in the staff dorms. They were really rocking as usual, and I was one of the fireflies soaking it up..


PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:52 pm
by Congadelica
Great reports brother windhorse , I feel like i done the workshops woth you guys .
Im looking forward to a 2 dayer with Raz of One Voice music in september . ... -september

For the meantime Im happy playing too many gig with the Samba :shock: , we got a big Carnival in Liverpool with what is being advertised as the largest Rio canival outside of Rio . I play with a bateria called Republic Of swing out of Manchester they are as good as it gets with Rio samba . will be palying alongside these guys . 8) :evil: ... ol-parade/

I am desparatly waiting to join a study group local to me in Manchester . of rumba for sure . :roll:

Good to see your getting good sized portions of Folklorico cubana hermano. 8)



Re: Humboldt workshops - Franicsco goes off

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:01 pm
by taikonoatama
It's worth it to come to these workshops solely for the parties EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. What I'm really talking about is the music AT the (rumba) parties, for 7 straight nights. The Cubans do not let up. This music in this setting (i.e., not in a performance setting - just casually in someone's living room or kitchen or wherever) lays waste to any conga-based music I've ever seen in any other setting. The only thing that I can imagine better is if it were IN Cuba, but I'll take it. I cannot fully express how fully bad-ass this is. Night after night.

Like tonight for example.

Franicsco Aguabella played bembe caja (low drum) for one very, very, very, incredible hour. It was volcanic. Thunderous. Beyond solid. It was friggin' epic. Big stick in the right hand, and sometimes left, too. He's just a god on that drum is what he is. Totally owns it. And to do this at age 82? Are you kidding me? Un-friggin'-believable.

Susana Arenas and other dancers were working it big time, and the singng/coro sounding so sweet. It just went on and on and I think we were all sorry when it finally stopped.

Seriously, you congueros of any level need to make your plans for next year and get out here. It's not super expensive - a lot of people from the Midwest and East Coast flew through Salt Lake City and the connector rt flight from there to here on the redwood-covered coast of Northern California was only $160 - cheaper than flying through the SF Bay Area and renting a car or flying up from there.



PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:45 pm
by windhorse
Marco, thanks for the comments,, and enjoy the musical sharing!!!
James, I agree! Like our conversation with Howie. It is truly a wonder that it is really that outstanding of workshop and so few visit this place.. Such a shame... And on the otherhand, such a gift for us who do make it here.

Day 6 Next morning I miss breakfast and go to Mark Lamson’s level 3 bata class. He is a gentlemanly type with a calm demeanor and VERY thorough! I liked it a lot, so I’m going back the next two days. I’m really a beginner batalero, if that,, so I was just there to observe and soak in what I could. I tapped out patterns on my legs – they call it “mirroring” – and it seemed a good method for learning this music. I already have plenty of recordings and notation,, so I’m not bothering to write anything out. Then, went to my favorite coffee house and had some tea. Back to lunch, then off to Toto’s Conga (comparsa) class! Did I mention I love that guy!? He’s got such great positive energy! You can’t go wrong in one of his classes! I played mostly the bomba, then a bit of bell.. They had what we normally play as the lead on the Segundo, then added quinto on top of that pattern. Interesing.. It helps to round out the conga sound. After dinner, song class included mostly three or four songs to sing over comparsa, then a bit of a follow-up on the Orisha songs we’d been learning the last few days. Then, the second of Amanda Vincent’s lectures on African diaspora of bata, dry and intellectual as it was, still to me, a good addition to the workshops. Afterwards a party at Kevin’s house. Everyone was there, and the music as wonderful as ever!

'08 Humboldt Afro-Cuban camp ends another year

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:02 pm
by windhorse
Day 7 Again, I miss breakfast and go to Mark Lamson’s Bata class. This time I actually played something which I held on the okonkolo. They did a call from the Iya, which I missed because I didn’t know what the rhythm was doing. So, Mark then showed me my new part. It was an off-beat thing and I held it! Made me feel good to hold my own for at least a small sampling of bata. It’s such a deep world and I’m just now stepping my toes in to test the waters.. I’m psyched to play more of this tantalizing instrument. For the second lesson that day, I went to Toto’s Level 4 Arara. I learned the bell pattern fairly quickly, and it was yet another way to play Arara bell.. There must 100s of different variants! I enjoyed this class again because of Toto’s enthusiasm and vast feel of the music. I pulls it out of everyone! Later that night we went to the Humbrewery again for an evening of Rumba and merriment. I was “on the wagon” still and would not have even one beer since that first time there and getting drunk and ruined my taste for alcohol. The students first did a set, then the HEAVY WEIGHTS came out to play! Two worth noting here.. Johnny Santos on the large Bajo playing tumba cajon parts and the tres dos on a conga. He anchored both parts and really did a tasteful and wickedly awesome combination of the two.. I am ever more impressed every time I see this man perform. Howie Koffman our fearless leader! Really crisp tone on his quinto style! He’s been working on his chops and the man is a heavy weight in my book. I’m sure years of playing next to the masters has done it’s part in his ascension.

Day 8 Since I had some pizza last night, I wake up late, miss breakfast, and the start of the bata class. I decide to blow it off, have a leisurely shower, and plan with James on our adventurous day to the beach and redwood forest. We pick up Karl and all three of us go to Patrick’s Point first. The road winds around and we have difficulty finding a parking spot for Agate beach. It turns out that Agate beach has made of rounded gem stones. THE ENTIRE BEACH! The sun had heated up the stones – all of which are rounded – and as we walked towards the ocean, we got foot massages.. It was amazing the feeling on your feet! James immediately started looking around for Agates, even though none of us knew really what made an Agate an Agate. So, we just picked up what our eyes liked the most in the immense pile of beautiful stones. My eyes were picking out the greens, James seemed to like the blues and purples, and Karl liked the reds. Later, James asked a woman who was an Agate hunter, and she said the clear smoky ones were the Agate, which I’ve verified after Googling it. Our next stop was “Wedding Rock” where there is an enormous Batholith with a walking path to the top. We got up there and had a spectacular view of the ocean front below. The pelicans were tiny and skimming the water way down below. The ocean was a deep indigo and small wisps of clouds in the sky. It was truly beautiful. Next stop the Redwoods. So we drove about 30 minutes North to Lady Bird Johnson’s Redwoods. There is circular walking path through the forest that circles several of the extremely large ones with circumferences of 20-30 feet. Unfortunately I didn’t get any camera shots of the redwoods, but I did of the ocean. We got back to the dorms about 4 o’clock. Took a nap, and went to dinner about 6:00. James and I decided to eat out this night – last night and all – and had an awesome sushi dinner at Tomo. The Ngiri slices were about 4X larger than some I’ve had in Colorado. We then came back to the dorms and had an all-out jam session Rumba with Paul, and a few other guys that just happened into it. Then, it was the faculty performance! Wow! It was better than ever! They did Yemaya, Ochun, Rumba, and Comparsa as four different movements. It was well choreographed and they pulled off the Coro with a smaller group of singers than I’ve seen in the past. But, this crew of heavy weights doesn’t need much backup, that’s for sure! I got several pictures of the show. That night, they had the party at Sabina’s house on 6th street, and it didn’t get visited by the police this year! It was really nice. I got to stand right in front of Gallaraga and Toto for most of the night as they smoothly sang throughout the night. Some of the songs are beginning to find their way into my thick skull. I said many goodbyes to my friends as we end this year’s Afro-Cuban camp, and look ahead to next year!

Humboldt pics 1

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:24 pm
by windhorse
I got a few pictures on the last day of camp. This was the pinnacle musical experience of life, as it is each year in Humboldt.

Humboldt pics 2

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:28 pm
by windhorse
More from Song class.

Humboldt pics 3

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:32 pm
by windhorse
Song Class & Staff Concert on last day.

Humboldt pics 4

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:37 pm
by windhorse
More of the Staff Concert.

Humboldt pics 5

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:43 pm
by windhorse
Staff Concert midway.

Humboldt pics 6

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:46 pm
by windhorse
The concert builds momentum to the final Comparsa.

Humboldt pics 7

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:51 pm
by windhorse
That's all I've got! Another great year over again! (My years start and end with each visit the Afro-Cuban Dance Drum and Song camp in Humboldt.)
Thanks James! And everyone else involved in this great experience!


Using a T-Shirt for quieting

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:16 am
by windhorse
I was just doing a little technique practice on a t-shirt covered quinto.
After looking for the thread on keeping the sound down for neighbors during your practices,
and not finding it.. I'm putting it right here in the ubiquitous drummer's diary.
The feel was pretty much exactly what it is on the uncovered quinto.
The sound was greatly muted and nutty sounding. It actually sounds kind of nice! :P

I've Gotta remember this..


PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:36 pm
by Congadelica
Dave that looks like a great time everyone looks happy happy. :D
I am doing this weekend workshop in 2 weeks ,

Infact i am on the pic from the last workshop we did . Im in green learning the corus to Ellegua for OYA .

Ill try remember to take some pics .

Anyone in the UK who wants to do this weekend course you`ll be most welcome .there are still a few places left .
Raz is a great teacher .
Contact Leon will take care of you. its in Manchester UK .
The Zion arts centre is a great place with exellent rooms and a decent theatre .



PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:59 am
by windhorse
That's great Marco! I hope you learn a bunch there!
Actually, this being the fourth of these workshops I've attended, it felt like I wasn't learning as much as previous visits... However, my friends tell me how impressed they are with how much better I sound.. I attribute it to playing with and just being near these great players.. Kind of osmosis rather than actual didactic learning.. It's like after a while the attitude, and the feel of the music gets through your skin and starts to soak in..
It sure is fun though!!!!!!!!!

Be sure to post with how it goes and what you guys cover!