The Troupe
This drummer's journey with other drummers.

Searching for Chobi

Every so often I go on a journey, and search for Chobi.

Chobi is a rhythm, often spoken of, and almost never agreed upon by any two sources.  There seem to be almost as many “real” Chobi as there are drummers. And, there are perfectly natural reasons for that.

To the best of my knowledge, Chobi means something like, “The color of wood” in Farsi.  From that, there is a style of rug or carpet, that was apparently named after the colors of the natural dyes used for that rug.  The dyeing technique resulted in a chobi color, and soon the rugs were called Chobi.

This leads us to the dance called Chobi.  I presume that the dancing occurred often on the Chobi rugs, and the name rubbed off, much like the color onto the dancers’ feet.  That, of course, leads to the name of the rhythm (or rhythms) that were popular at those dances.

Now, all of that makes complete sense.  It happens a lot, in many cultures.  The Tango, Waltz, Debke, and so on are both dances and rhythms.  And, from time to time the dance and the rhythm split up, or the rhythm is played so well by a certain family of musicians that the name changes, or a class of people, or a region, or a nation. The Ghawazee and Nawari are good examples of this.

There is nothing too crazy in a the idea that a rhythm happens to be named, “the color of wood”.

So, why am I compelled from time to time to try (fruitlessly, but still undaunted) to find a hidden history?  Why am I hoping that maybe a “Chobi” is an ancient tribe of musicians, or a long lost nation in the Upper Egypt?

I suppose that it is one of the many, many reasons I love drumming so much.

Drumming is history, as told through community, music, and dance.

Here are a few Chobi to get you through the day.   These are not the “right” ones, simply the ones I have found and heard.

 

Chobi (4/4)

Basic (Doom and Tek)

Simple Count

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

D

D

T

T

T

This is played at a lot of community dances, wedding parties, restaurants, and so on. If there was such a thing as a “typical” Chobi, this would be it.

 

Chobi (4/4)

Basic (Doom and Tek)

Simple Count

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

D

D

T

T

This is the simplest version I have heard. Basically a Beledi, with the Doum and Tek at the “& 3” reversed. Nice and clean, and a good change up to the Beledi, or Maqsum.

 

Chobi (4/4)

Basic (Doom and Tek)

Simple Count

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

D

D

T

D

T

T

Played correctly, this gets everyone up and dancing. Babies wiggle, the old folks wink at each other, and good things start happening. This is my favorite of the variations I have heard. Broken down to its basic components it is a Triple Doum Beledi, but the feeling is slightly different.  Beledi seems like it is waiting for you to start dancing.  This variant of Chobi isn’t waiting for anyone.

 

Chobi (4/4)

Basic (Doom and Tek)

Simple Count

1

&

2

&

3

&

4

&

D

D

D

D

T

T

T

Popular for belly dance solos, with lots of flourishes at the end.

 

3 Responses to “Searching for Chobi”

  1. Awesome research! Fun!

  2. Thanks for the chobi!

  3. […] of you have already checked out “Searching for Chobi“, which touches on how interesting, difficult, and frustrating hunting down rhythms and their […]


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