Hand Drum Lessons & Notation for Djembes, Dununs & Bells

Author Archives: Nowick Gray

Roots Super Jam

New Release!

Roots Super JamRoots Super Jam:
Collected West African & Diaspora Drum Rhythms

Roots Jam * Volumes 1, 2 & 3

All three volumes of Roots Jam West African and Afro-Latin drumming lessons and notation are now available to you in one book. Learn djembe rhythms, dunun patterns, and other hand drum and percussion parts, along with tips to improve your technique and feel. Use Roots Super Jam for solo practice, dance class arrangements, drum circles or ensemble performance.

Special introductory offer: Save nearly 50% for all three Roots Jam books when you order Roots Super Jam.

Click here to order supporting audio files
(for Roots Jam 2 & 3 portions of Roots Super Jam)

Polyrhythms Simplified

Recently I have been emailing a school student working on a music project, answering questions about West African rhythms. His latest query asked for exercises or tips for mastering polyrhythms. Polyrhythms, in a nutshell, are combinations of rhythms using different time signatures, played together. Here are some prototypical polyrhythms: With any 4/4 pattern…the Afro-Latin clave:… Continue Reading

Traditional Drumming in Sri Lanka

Last week I had the pleasure of witnessing up close some ceremonial drumming in front of the Temple of the (Buddha’s) Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Packing my sangban along on this trip for a February drum camp in Thailand, I was eager to see some of the local dundunfolas in action.Not that the rhythms… Continue Reading

Drum Jamming Made Easy (Sometimes)

Two new publications are available this week for beginning or experienced drummers to learn from. Both written in 1996, these resources now make accessible rhythms and experiental lessons that helped me in the early phase of my journey as a hand drummer. Friday Night Jam is a kind of anecdotal, instructional how-to (and sometimes painful how-not-to)… Continue Reading

Friday Night Jam (excerpt)

[excerpt from a journal chronicling music jams 1991-95; photos more recent] A long chat with Michel yesterday on drumming and jamming: the need to be more out there, present, expressive, not flat and holding back, but dynamic: moving in and out of the rhythmic base, with others supporting and being supported: taking and giving space… Continue Reading