Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm back, baby

After three weeks in Vietnam, I am home and had my first djembe class last night. What a blast!

First, I got to see my drum again after a long absence. It looked beautiful, but more importantly, sounded great. Sidy had it while I was away and I actually had a nightmare that it broke while I was gone... but nope, it is in fine shape. I had to laugh because my hands got very sore while playing last night. They are way out of shape.

Sidy's new drums came in while I was gone, too. They are just gorgeous. I saw a few of them last night and can't wait to see (and play) the rest of them. One of the kids in the children's class bought one of them and it is about the prettiest skin I have ever seen.

During class, Lisa was playing the dun duns and it was wonderful to be laying the djembe parts over the bass drums. It helped to make us aware of the rhythm and timing. I felt like we were really starting to dig into the intricacies of the piece we are working one. Lisa was using real African drumsticks, too, which are shaped a little like hammers and are made of a very light wood. (Almost as light as balsa, really.) They were very cool indeed and she sounded great with them.

We had a couple of new students, too, who were able to pick up the rhythms very quickly. It was kind of unbelievable, actually, because Wassolonka has such complex rhythms.

So, I am back. I am happy to be playing again.


James said...

Hi Rachel, welcome back. I trust you had a great trip?

Rachel said...

Hey James,

It was amazing!

I have been writing about it on my other blog:


I was especially fascinated with the Cham drummers I met in Nha Trang.

Their drums are beautiful- double ended, with goatskin on one end and buffalo hide on the other. They play the goat with one hand and the buffalo with a stick. And the rhythms were very complex. Two drummers sit facing each other and play 4 different rhythms at once.