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CCC Drummers Beat A New Rhythm

March 7, 2012

West African Drum Ensemble students in their Dashikis pictured (L to R) Alexandria Black, Matthias Burke, Jessica Nading, and Garrett Baugher.

West African Drum Ensemble students in their Dashikis pictured (L to R) Alexandria Black, Matthias Burke, Jessica Nading, and Garrett Baugher.

Coffeyville Community College Instrumental Music Director Jeremy Kirk has started a West African Drum Ensemble this spring.  The students perform all authentic, original rhythms and dances from West Africa using West African instruments including Djmebes, Djun Djuns (Dununba, Sangban, Kenkeni), Gankogui Bells, Atoke Bells, Caxixis, and Shakere.

The students learn the pieces in an authentic, traditional manner, meaning no western musical notation is involved.  The class incorporates traditional syllables to learn rhythms. (i.e. Gun, Dun, Go, Do, Pa, Ta).  Each syllable indicates what tone to perform and which hand, right or left, it is performed with.  There are three basic djembe tones -the bass tone, open tone, and slap tone - and the class spends time honing techniques for each. During performances, students wear a traditional West African garment called Dashikis.

The class explores the background of each piece, how the instruments are made, and how music is incorporated into West African culture.  If you would like to learn more about the West African Drum Class or are interested in hearing them perform, please contact Jeremy Kirk at [email protected] or call 620.251.7700, ext. 2107.