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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Drumbeats In Gateshead Shopping Centre: Lunchtime July 9

(By Ann Alex).
The sun shone, the people listened (and clapped sometimes) as we played beside the sculpture in Gateshead shopping centre.  ‘We’ are the drummers from the Sage Silver Programme, entertaining with African and Samba drumming.  As I’ve said before on BSH, this type of activity can’t do your jazz skills any harm, learning rhythms and sequences, and working as part of a group.  I thought I detected some improvisation from the samba group, as well!  More about that later.
This year I’ve been involved with the African Drumming, playing djembes (hand drums). A different sound is produced according to whether you hit the drum on the edge or in the middle. Our first piece, which I believe is the rhythm used to introduce the news in Zimbabwe, was a complex (to me anyway) sequence.  We played parts of the sequence, stayed silent for other bits, then gradually built up until we were playing the whole sequence.  Our next piece was a series of riffs, also from Zimbabwe, which we all played together.  The last piece, my favourite, featured different rhythms played simultaneously, all based round the rhythm of a train, gradually increasing in speed, and ending with an African song, call and response, with harmonies.  Great stuff!
I can’t explain so much about the Sambanistas as I haven’t done this for the last 2 years, but they all looked summery in yellow tee shirts and colourful hats.  They play a selection of drums, large free-standing surdos, played with sticks; timbals which are higher-pitched hand drums; snare drums; and there are also agogo bells and tamborims.  This band came on first and they really got the attention of the crowd with 3 or so carnival type tunes.  After our African Drum performance, the advanced group of Sambanistas played a very skilled set, about 5 drummers, each person apparently playing individual parts. The tunes and riffs sounded complex, with some short solos from each player.  Clever stuff.
We are very grateful for the leadership of our drumming tutors, Phil Davids and Jim Montague, and if any jazzers want to join us next term, be quick, and sign up with the Sage Silver Programme.
Ann Alex

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