Over a year ago I stumbled across an instructional drumming cd called “Djembe Fundamentals”. A drumming class friend of mine from Santa Cruz loaned it to me. I listened to the cd , and was stunned to find out that standard West African djembe rhythms I had spent years struggling to learn were all on it in a very clear and accessible format, one that I had never heard of or used before.
I didn’t know it’s creator, Cameron Tummel, from Adam, but my friend from Santa Cruz did. She had taken a few djembe lessons, had a djembe drum, and a lot of ambition. Though she was a beginner, she and I could play together with the cd, and the learning curve for her was about 200%, compared to the inefficient, rambling and painful route to djembe drumming competence I had taken. As far as I was concerned I had found the Rosetta Stone of West African Djembe drumming rhythm. He had the rhythms named, sorted, dissected, pulled apart, demonstrated each at 3 different speeds with a metronome, and then put back together again. Everything any student practicing West African djembe rhythms needs is there. I highly recommend it for any drummer who wants to play West African rhythms.
Now Cameron Tummel has put out another cd and I’m getting one as soon as possible: Djembe SOLOS 4/4. Once again, it is a play-along cd, this time with a call and response format. He plays, you play. Why do I want this cd? Well, any drummer who plays for dancers does a lot of the same repetitious rhythm for relatively long drumming times. Classes are usually an hour or more, and that’s a lot of repetition over time. Riffs are small embellishments or improvisations which freshen up the energy, please the dancers and make playing a lot more fun. I know if I get his cd, I can listen to it, play it, and in a relatively short time absorb into my gut some tasty riffs that will magically re-emerge when I am playing live with others some time in the future. They are the spices to the drumming stew. Though they are Cameron’s riffs, definite structures I can listen to, play, absorb and repeat; they will eventually help me develop more of my own improvisation. For intermediate to advanced djembe drummers who have mastered the basics of classic West African rhythms, this cd is part of the dessert menu
Anyone wanting an audio/visual sample of Cameron dishing out his licks visit the following link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=2gFexF7XM04. I’ve ordered my copy already.
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