Rehearsal: September 23, 2009
With all the gigs we have done, and more coming up, we rehearsed last night with the dancers again. This has been great for the cohesion of the group, and we are getting a lot of good work in.
We still only had four drummers, as N had a visit from his dad from out of town.
However, C was finally able to make it, as work has gotten him a schedule compatible to an actual life. This was C’s first chance to see and hear D’s new dohola, and his reaction was the same as everyone else: Holy Moly!
And when the two of them played together, C on his big djimbe and D on his dohola, it was all K and I could do to be heard at all. It was like swimming against a river, really. Our doums were completely drowned out, and we had to really hit shared teks to get any sound out at all.
But, once we started putting it together, we were able to play on top of that steady bass pulse and get some nice fills and pops in. The dancers thought we sounded great, and were thrilled by the solid rhythms, held down by those huge doums.
We are also getting a lot of good work in on our transitions and our riffs. What I am calling a riff is the small change made to a basic rhythm, to add a bit of freshness to it. For example, when we play Maqsum, we are not just playing Maqsum over and over. We actually play Maqsum twice, Sombati once, and then Saidi once. From there we restart the riff at Maqsum, and repeat. This makes it much less monotonous but at the same time provides that steady pulse and good doums on the 1 and the 3 for the dancers to follow. And, we can add some musicality by letting the dohola just play Maqsum, but have one of our doumbeks play counterpoint with a Sombati all the way through every now and then. Once we add in a riqq, or daf, then other options will also be available to us.
Practice, practice, practice!