Today at drumming class our master teacher Sandor went over a rhythm that is fast and difficult to play in detail: Mojiri. Mojiri has a simple but very fast thumping base beat and accompaniments which require more precise speed, accuracy and timing than many of the staple rhythms we play. He dissected the rhythms expertly into little pieces and worked us on them, then strung them back together and got us playing them together.
Watching his face as he spoon fed the rhythm pieces to us, I thought about how our particular group is made up mostly of headstrong 50 something women too stubborn to quit even when we really suck. We are somewhat handicapped or rhythm retarded.Though he shows us over and over again anything we want to know, there is sometimes a cast to his jaw that suggests an astonishment we could be so impaired to begin with. No one practices outside of class with the exception of one dedicated newcomer, and our teacher has to live in the patience of a saint dealing with us. I think of us as Sandor’s Special Class.
Congolese is not for the faint of drumming heart. It requires a lot of study and practice, is fast and strong. It requires skill or it sounds pretty awful. I marveled today that our group is still going , but on the other hand, Sandor is a terrific being and a great teacher.Today he wanted us to drum with more vitality and he asked us if we were feminists. He was asking us to drum as though we were declaring ourselves to the world.
What I find very ironic and funny all at the same time is that most of our drumming group does not believe they are all that good but they want to try to play the most difficult stuff anyway. The good news is that Sandor does not ridicule or deny this mad ambition. That he’s still willing to continue teaching us is the miracle.