Hand Drum Lessons & Notation for Djembes, Dununs & Bells

How to Play Dununs: 2 New Free Drum Lessons On YouTube

After a long hiatus, I have recorded and uploaded 2 new free drum lessons to my popular YouTube channel – the Djembe Lessons Playlist. In these video lessons I present the basic techniques and patterns needed to play a selection of common patterns for dununs, particularly kenkeni and sangban, in the traditional style with mounted bells.

Dunun Basic Video 1: How to Play Dununs: Basic Technique and Patterns. For a beginner I break down the elementary bell patterns and how they fit with the stick beats, and demonstrate the open and mute notes with the stick hand. You can see the various combinations of single and double bell and stick beats in action with seven sample tradtional rhythm parts.

Dunun Basic Video 2: Kenkeni Part for Dununba. A second lesson presents a basic and advanced version of the challenging kenkeni part for the Dununba family of rhythms, beginning with an onbeat “training wheels” version and moving on to the traditional offbeat feel.

Below you will find notation for the seven traditional rhythm samples in the basic beginner’s lesson:

Notation Key:
x = bell without stick played
o = open hit with stick (and bell)
m = mute (closed) hit with stick (and bell)

Makru: o – x – o – x – 
Yanvalou (Haitian): o – x – m – 
6/8 ride: x – x x – x x – x x – x
Mendiani: o – x x – x o – x x – x
Bolokonondo: m – x m – x m – x m – x
Sorsornet: x – o x – o x – o x – o
Kassa: x – o o – x m – 

For more notation see my Roots Jam rhythm collections (3 vol.) with optional audio files (CD or MP3 downloads) at DjembeRhythms.com, or more free lessons at Alternative Culture Magazine website.

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