Rehearsal: August 12, 2009
First and foremost, it was awesome. I am still utterly buzzed from the rehearsal last night, and I am very excited about our upcoming gigs.
The dancers, as always, looked great. They were working last night on sword routines, and trios, duos, and solos while doing the sword dances. They are so good that none of the drummers was even the least bit nervous.
We started off with a slow to mid tempo 4/4 combination rhythm. Sounded nice and groovy, very strong. Our changes were spot on, and we all played very well together. That shifted to a very deliberate 8/4 Shiftitelli, which started a bit scattered but quickly got in line.
Our only bobble was my fault, where I obviously misunderstood the changes the dancers were making and missed my cue to go from 4/4 to 8/4. Ooops.
So, we ran through it again and this time were spot on, including the changes. Everyone was thrilled and the dancers were very happy. Happy dancers = happy drummers. It is really as simple as that.
The happy drummers then decided to stretch their wings a bit, and we swung into a very nice Ayoub groove. And then I got fancy.
I nodded to C, and he went right into playing a Malfuf as our counterpoint on the Ayoub. Instantly we had a bigger sound, and a much more dynamic sound. K was next on my list, and I gave him a serious challenge, and told him to start a Kartachi. He hit it dead on, with confidence and a bit of swing, and I was so impressed I almost forgot my next victim… I caught D’s eye and had him start playing what I call a Triplet + One with his Teks. And D nailed it. N and I held down the Ayoub, filling in the occasional roll or riff.
It sounded SO GOOD. It really brought out a big range in tones and beat, and it was impossible not to sway back and forth to it. Everyone, dancers and drummers, were grinning and smiling and laughing while playing and dancing. Perfect.
If we hit that in front of an audience, I am telling you people will get up and dance. It was great.
I have this swelling sense of pride, joy, and possibility.
Six months ago these guys weren’t even holding a drum, and now they are rocking their asses off, playing for gorgeous dancers, and ready for our gig season.
A bit of praise is in order, so here we go…
N was steady, on point and nice and loud. His confidence is beginning to show and he has begun to do bits of solo pops, rolls, and fills. He sounds great when he does, so I think he has been practicing on his desk at work, driving people nuts. Amen!
C is becoming a force as our bass drum. He is on beat, has a great sound, and is really developing a feel for when to bring us up, or slow us down a bit. As he gains more and more experience, and studies more, his understanding of the beats will increase, and he will begin to play counter rhythms and syncopations almost intuitively.
D has progressed far better than even I had hoped. Even two weeks ago he would not have been able to hear me in the middle of a beat, change what he was doing based on what I told him to do, and then do that while still in rhythm and with confidence. Last night he nailed it. NAILED IT. Did I mention how good it sounded?
K is a beast. He sounded great last night, and his Kartachi really pulled a lot out of our Ayoub. It created a great deal of vibrancy and color, and I was very impressed. He is practicing diligently, playing hard, and his confidence is there.
I am so happy with the drummers. These are a great bunch of guys, and it is just so much fun to play with them. Have I explained how great drumming for dancers is?
Life is good!