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2015-04-19 15:29

West Africa, slightly North.

The Westerkwartier region of the province Groningen is the bit next to Friesland.

It is an unlikely hotspot of djembé activity, but at least one of Pape Seck and Fred Claassen seems to live in the area, and they have taken the local population in hand. Every bohemianly inclinated lady of a certain age from the district showed up for the performance, and quite a lot of them didn't need a second invitation to dance. (We didn't extend one - we came to sit in a chair - but the performers did.)

That we were there at all was a consequence of having enjoyed playing the djembé at a percussion workshop organised by our workplace. (More specifically, organised by the drummer in the works band, in which we oursel play bass guitar, so rhythmsectional solidarity meant we had to show up.) Then we thought it would be jolly to take lessons, but djembé players lean towards the casually bohemian types who are happy to take a fee for a workshop if you provide the hall and the participants, but mostly discinclined to actually do any of that themselves. It was while tracking down one of the rare exceptions that we came across a notice of this performance.

We're now signed up for a trial lesson for an actual course, in any case. West African percussion might not have been our top choice of rhythmic specialisation if we had a free choice - the Latin American traditions are also very tempting, and to our ear nothing can match the charms of the Indian tabla, but that kind of cherry-picking cosmopolitan is not available around here.

This is West-African drumming territory, apparently, and that is locally, contingently and particularly the way it is.

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