Drum roll in the city

Oct 26, 2018, 07:35 IST | Dalreen Ramos

On his first visit to India, Bill Schdeit, a senior certified Djembe instructor will lead a workshop that introduces participants to traditional West African rhythms

Drum roll in the city

The history of music dates back to 50,000 years, and the djembe drum accounts for 500-odd of those. Although its historical origin is not known, the djembe is more than a musical instrument in West Africa; its literal meaning translates into "gather everyone," and it is played during family rituals, agricultural activities and even to settle dispute. This Sunday, meet Bill Scheidt, an American who is a senior certified teacher of the Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy, a school founded by djembe grandmaster Mamady Keita. He aims to introduce people to the instrument of joy with a structured approach at a workshop with Varun Venkit, director of Taal Inc.

How were you introduced to the djembe drum?
I first fell in love with drum in 1997 during my first trip to Africa. I wrote a grant to study wildlife ecology, and while there learned to speak the language, lived with local families and began to study the music. I later met my teacher, Mamady Keita, dropped my ecological pursuits, and dedicated my life to the djembe. For almost 20 years now, I have spent my life travelling the world studying, teaching and performing with this amazing instrument!

Tell us how exactly the workshop will be carried out.
Students will learn to play traditional djembe rhythms from the Mandingue region of West Africa. They will also learn the history, culture and context of each piece, and how the music reflects the daily life of the people. Students will also learn how the djembe rhythms fit into the overall polyrhythmic form of the music, and how the djembe works together with the other instruments in the ensemble. They will learn the vocal songs and djembe solo techniques that further ornament the music. Finally, we will put everything together in one final performance arrangement.

What will be the takeaway for participants at the workshop?
The biggest takeaway will be the joy of playing traditional West African djembe. My teacher, Mamady Keita, says, 'The drums do not see people's colour. The drums do not see people's age. The drums do not see people's gender. What the drums see is people's hearts.' So my intention is that we all come together from the heart, learn about this amazing instrument, and share a time of joy and fun!

ON October 28, 11 am
AT Versova Social, Andheri West 
Email taalinc1@gmail.com

Cost Rs 4,750

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