"The Drummer's Diary" - share w. us what happens to you drumming

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Postby GuruPimpi » Wed Apr 20, 2005 2:42 pm


I just woke up and had lunch, cause i got back home from a concert early in the morning. It was great concert, i hope I will get some pics from it and put it here too, like Abakua - man, you're on the long train running :D - nice visual effect those palladiums have, cause of the metal rings...

We were one of the bands who played on the some sort of the Students Wine party, dedicated to a certain wine, which is produced in the region i come from - that means a lot of local bands, we all know each other.... Mainly pop rock, r n' b, funk hip hop, and also polka bands... After a gig we went to city to have fun in a jazz club, where we will have a concert on 14 th may and where I met my good friend, ex co-youth worker and very dear friend, who is also a musician from England. We have a new member in a band (he plays flute, and also is no stranger to djembe and other percussions - great) and he provoked a jam session with playing on chairs - - - Geeez, imagine 10 guys playing music with chairs and others around dancing, shouting... very powerful and happy!

Thanks god i took a day off...

Hardly wait when we get back and have an ALL-Nighter there :D

Take care guys and keep the groovin' groovin'!

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Postby Firebrand » Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:30 am

this thread sounds fun.

My take:

April 14th 2005,

My latest gig...performing with my father's quartet (my father, my brother Ahmed on flute, myself on percussion, and Lorena Garay on guitar). We were performing for a cultural series in an art gallery hosted on the University of Massachusetts at Amherst campus. For these type of shows, my father likes that I "show off" my new Peruvian cajon (custom made by one helluva Cajon maker, a Chilean carpenter). To be honest, I haven't really practiced my Cajon technique. I approach it from a very Bongo/Drumset aspect. Bongo in playing technique, drumset in rhythm application. In the past, I had a chance to talk with Ruben Blades ' Ineditus' percussionist (the one with the long, black hair and glasses), and he's got this Cajon setup in which he makes the Cajon the bass drum and snare drum, and uses the other hand for hi-hat, cowbell, and Cymbal hitting. It's HARD...but I've learned a few rhythms that way, and that always impresses audiences. I get a lot of "what's that" questions from the audience. :laugh: Still though...I can't get the dexterity and speed of 4 limb drumset rhythms...but I've been able to make pseudo 6/8, rock rhythms, samba and even jazz/swing styles (with hihat on my left leg) which sound cool. For really intimate settings, such a setup is eclectic and original...I prefer a drumset for the freedom of application that it gives, but sometimes the "coolness" of extending drumset stuff to a Cajon is rewarding.

Needless to say, I felt very inspired that evening...I made it a point to make my bongo solo in my father's "San Sebastian" song very "to the roots" (there were some Latino percussionists in the audience who I wanted to reach :cool: ). I wanted to say, "I get the tradition, boys..."

One negative aspect to the evening is that I was feeling very tired early into the show. That's my fault, though. I work a 9-5, so I haven't kept a rigorous training schedule...my wrists and arms are telling "hey buddy...get to the practice room".

That was my last experience.
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Postby yoni » Sat Apr 23, 2005 3:43 pm

Hola Firebrand!

Sounds like you put on a great show! I'd love to hear the music. That is cool, performing with your father. I performed with mine a lot also when he was alive - a great learning experience. I still perform with a younger brother at times, also a percussionist, and that is also fun. I guess family connections can make special things happen musically. But I think of none of this while playing, just try to relate to the sounds as I can.

I also have a steady day job (part-time) that I will try to leave soon. Not that it tires me, but keeps me bound to a certain area where not enough is happening for me musically.

Tomorrow I have time off and leave to play the 4 day music festival that I really look forward to.

All the best to all of you!
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Postby ABAKUA » Sat Apr 30, 2005 6:17 pm

Tonights installement,

Just got home, its 4.17am here in Sydney...

Had 4 gigs today, one after another starting this afternoon...
First one was an open air Festival, then our 'Noche Cubana' show, then 2 night club gigs.

I cant sleep! Got that terrible ringing in my ears, you know the one you get when everything is silent... grrrr hate it.
Even used ear plugs tonight, but the nightclubs were just too farken loud! hehehe Im getting too old for this nightclub shit!
Plus our band is fairly loud also. Tonight was 10 piece original Cuban Timba band, 'Armandito Y Su Mecanica'.
Great performances though, we rocked the joint hard.

Hands have had it for today though!

Looking forward to rumba jam tommorrow with some local percussionists at a BBQ down at the beach. :)
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Postby yoni » Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:19 pm

Hi ABAKUA and all,

My hands have had it for today, too! Just got back from the festival where I played something like a marathon - 3 days nearly non-stop with lots of groups and jams... some amazing stuff happened onstage. Did a couple of duo shows with my friend Amin - the wildest violinist and oud player I've heard ever, and we tore it up. Was way better than the small concert we did in the north a few months back; the festivals give the players some days to meet up, warm up, then heat up! This fest had 35,000 in attendance and hundreds saw our shows. This year much was recorded and videoed (finally!) so I hope soon to have something to show here to back up what I'm saying.

Got back to my village just in time for the end of Passover "golden calf" ceremony they have here - a village tradition where they build a "golden calf", do a parade with it, a short play around it (with a village elder playing Moses), and then burn it and dance around the fire for hours - while yours truly leads all the drummers in djembe madness.

Oooh, are my hands sore! Surprised I can still type. Better rest now. Nightie night, all!
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Postby windhorse » Mon May 02, 2005 1:02 am

I'll join in the chorus of pained hands... :p
Problem isn't from drums though, it's from playing chekere yesterday! We played a really long Agbe since we're learning it,, and I was on the lead Chekere! Hitting the base of the thumb a bit too hard...

Sounded good though!
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Postby GuruPimpi » Mon May 02, 2005 5:07 am

it's 6:56 am here and I got back from the concert with a new funk covers band (12 members; brass, 4 singers...) i'm playing now also. The frontman is so pleased with me having in a band that I had to have some more solos than usual; i don't like that, but i like the appreciation and respect that I get from all in a band. I also started (after a long time) a loving relationship with a very temperamented lady... :D Very fine and pleasing night for me...
Dear diary, I'm happy to be around! Groovin' and movin', that's what I like!

I salute all!


ps: BTW, i had a gig with a belly dancer on friday, first time, it was awesome!!!...and by some strange intuitive feeling, wasn't the last time :D Things are coming to their place...
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Postby CongaTick » Mon May 02, 2005 12:23 pm

Belly dancers... tours... fantastic gigs... concerts...how truly great for all of you guys! By comparison our weekly practices and attempts to book gigs in local clubs and restaurants seems so pathetic. But then I think of the music we make... it's all about the groove and how it carries us... and I know that though our bodies may not be on the stage (yet) our spirit is with you. Oh yeah, it is. Rock on.
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Postby JohnnyConga » Mon May 02, 2005 6:29 pm

Well I just finished 7 nights of rehearsals and gigs with 3 different bands in one week, oooooooweeeeee, whew!.... This week my band "Tumba Caliente" is booked for "Cinco de Mayo" festivities at Spokane Falls Community College in the morning, and then that night at Ella's Jazz Club-CENTERSTAGE....(check out there site)...in Spokane, Washington...I am also preparing my "folklore" group "Origins" for the 3 day World Rhythm Festival on May 20 to the 22nd here in Seattle....Paoli Mejias and many others will be here to give FREE classes in ALL kinds of hand drumming....go online http://www.swps.org....World Rhythm Festival.....check out the percussion workshops schedule.....it is an incredible festival and the largest of it's kind anywhere....3 days and the whole city is Drumming.......or at least trying.... :;): ...."JC" Johnny Conga.... :D
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Postby captainquinto » Mon May 09, 2005 8:08 pm

Greetings! This is a great thread going here. My experiences are not yet "to par" with most postings but - as CongaTick said - my spirit is with you! Last night I hosted a fire side jam session. Conga, quinto, tumba, djembe, clave, cow bells (2 sizes), vibra-slap and morracca. My friend Rick got into some solid grooves and we took turns improvising and jamming on top of it with the other hand percussions filling in nicely. We played for hours, stopping intermittently to rest and re-group. What I didn't realize until later is that two of us had split our hands pretty good and splattered blood across the skins. Human blood smeared on stretched animal skin next to a blazing fire - primal!! It's the primordial feelings that I like best with drumming: trance-like by nature.

Peace to all and keep spreading the ryd'm!!
Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
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Postby slapadrum » Tue May 10, 2005 1:17 am

this is a very cool thread I have been talking with a freind of mine and were getting ready to start our drum circle up again I am excited about it.We have had some great jams together once we took a road trip and got jam with arthur hull for an afternoon it was pretty cool he is a really nice guy.
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Postby Raymond » Wed May 11, 2005 7:01 pm

Well, let me get with the "wave" and let you guys know what I've done during the last week.

Been working all week in my firm doing tax returns, I am a tax consultant, trying to deal with a tax deadline here in Puerto Rico that is in May 16. (Working average 12 to 14 hours everyday during the last two weeks). Last Thursday had a rehearsal with a christian salsa band I am helping and it was messy while we were putting together a new arrangement...not all musicians there and problems with the way the percussionists were supposed to do...No music sheets for percussion. Had to go over the brass and piano sheets to see what we were supposed to do...Was there with a good friend of mine that was visiting me here in Puerto Rico that was the one who put me back in music while we were in the Air Force....We laughed a lot of the way the rehearsal was taking place....The last time we did the "new song," he took the timbales, I am the timbal player in the group, and I took the bongos....we gave it another punch! (This group is not that great, although they amazed me in live presentations when they bring other people, but I am here not for the money but for the enthusiasm of the musicans).

On Sunday, went to the traditional rumba in my hometown of Gurabo that takes place in the last day of the "fiestas de pueblo" (town festivities).....Brought my timbales and bongos....had to deal with the ego of the most famous conguero in town, who believes he is the greatest thing on earth but he is not, people wanting to play...waiting for a bass player to arrive...saw this great kid named Diego Rivera give an oustanding conga solo....Lots of improvisation...it was fun as always despite the "bad moments" dealing with "egos."

On Monday, went to channel 6 to record a tv program, Prodigio Claudio, the famous PR cuatro player, was going to accompany Charlie Aponte and Jerry Rivas of El Gran Combo and Sammy Marrero of Raphy Leavitt's La Selecta. They were supposed to sing PR tipico music, they improvised "decimas" which they did and typical guarachas...It was fun and I think historic.....Don't know when the program "Asi Canta Puerto Rico" is going to air but it airs on Tuesdays and Saturdays....Prodigio felt very good with the program which we did "ad lib" right on the spot just with a rehearsal and recording....Great!

Upcoming.....another rehearsal on Thursday with the christian salsa group and a whole day of recording on Sunday with Prodigio Claudio and his upcoming album. (Already have two songs recording...doing 6 on Sunday).

I'll keep you posted..

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Postby CongaTick » Sat May 21, 2005 11:34 am

New toy on its way and I can hardly wait. A Remo 16 X 27 Earth djembe will soon be added to my 3 conga + bongo setup. Gig tonight at suburban yuppie watering hole will put our flute player on stage for first time. Practices and rehearsals gone very well. He gives us a new texture. Must rest up for 4 sets, 50+ songs.

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Postby CongaTick » Sun May 22, 2005 5:41 pm

Whew! Hands beat after 4 hour, 60 song gig at bar/club with heavy crowd noise. Even with my clip-on mics and our four fully amped we had to stretch to hear the monitors all the time. By the end of the fourth hour, my rolls were getting sluggish, my fills didn't seem to fill, my slaps seemed more like pitty-pats, and I was resigned to keeping time and groove. Hands well-conditioned, hard/callused tips, but loud-crowd gigs are sometimes a trial, so playing hard and loud for so long a bit of a struggle for 62 year old coot. Anybody else find themselves in a similar boat?
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Postby yoni » Sun May 22, 2005 10:48 pm

Congatick, you may be 62 but you ain't no coot! Four hours is a LONG gig for a hand drummer of ANY age. Hope you switch off on cowbell or other stick percussion to save your hands some wear and swelling! Make sure you're WELL-miked. If so, you might try working on double-stroke rolls, which may not be as loud, but are much easier to sustain once you get it down. Wish I could hear sound samples of your group, but the computer I post from has no speakers!@#%*
I DID see that you have shows in Pennsylvania (did I spell it right?). I remember auto trips out there from NYC as a youth; some fond memories.
Loud crowds can be a drag, so I hope you all have a louder sound system!
All the best to you,
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