what does anyone make of our local drummer, haphazard slapdash every time you step out the front door
i like Matt’s idea that Indian Tabla players are not allowed to touch the sacred Tabla drum, until they can use their mouths and body to make every noise the drum can make.
I can see them sitting about in a circle, blowing Raspberries, else, ‘how about this one’, making squelch noises with a hand under their armpit
The trouble with drums is that theres utterly no way to practise quietly,
with most things you can work on it in your room, then tantarra the full fanfare of talent!
With drums, every belly flop, every missed beat, every heffalump fumble is awful audible for miles around
………….. from an old email, tom tom, muffle mumbled, but i guess, the gist is there
When i lived in the caves in Granada (las cuevas de sacremonto), for a while i shared a cave with 2 turkish drummers, wild hair, calm, stern faces, wicked grins.
Making my way home in the evening, you could hear the call of the drums, ahead, above.
Walk on, past the gypsy caves, then through the hole in the wall, which was literally a rubble hole through 14th century crenellated battlements, above it crudely daubed graffiti, ‘ojo ladronnes’, sorta ‘beware thieves’
follow the goat paths, down skirting past the junky valley, up, on, towards the green valley,
always the sinous drum sound, repetitive, sometimes sounding nearer, sometimes further away, snake guile guiding me home.
look to the right, above the city, beyond the valley, across to the Alhambra, toad squatted on the hill, beyond even that the snow clad heights of the Sierra nevada
sunset, fulcrum of the day, drum, the heartbeat of the blood red sun setting in the west, drum, the rhythm backbone of the bone ivory full moon rising in the east
Turn the corner, there they’d be, squatted by the fire, pummeling out the mesmeric rhythm.
These two believed in making their own drums, a laborious process of strength, mingled with blood sacrifice.
The first step was to find the right type of tree, the right size, carefully selected, chopped down, harvested. next, the slow process of gouge, hollowing out the trunk, then slowly hardening and seasoning the wood.
The blood sacrifice, to make the djembe drum live, this was to kill, then flay a goat. kid gloves.
my friend made the grim, universal finger across the throat gesture.
I was very glad not to be around for that!
Once the skin was finally ready, it would be drawn taut, with ropes, across the hollowed trunk.
Brute heaving, theres a real bundled up force, a power in a drum, this which makes it sing so loudly.
Then all the time they weren’t pounding, they’d be heating the drum by the warmth of the camp fire, tightening the ropes, the subtle, supple adjustment of the tension, all to soften, modulate, perfect the sound
boom badda bing!