African rhythms dundun dunun djembe drum set drumset instructional materials resources books CD

This book/CD set is available at Rhythmtraders

Visit Maarten Schepers' website

Maarten has kindly allowed us to post examples from the book: the rhythm Soli.

See and hear Soli.


Djembe Dunun Drumset
by Maarten Schepers

Book/CD review by Eric Stuer

Maarten's work is a perfect example of why I love the World Wide Web. Back in the old days, it would have taken years for us here in the USA to hear about Maarten Schepers and his studies and writings. Thanks to the Web, our meeting was as simple as an e-mail, and I am currently working with a copy of his book, Djembe, Dunun, Drumset, which is available to all.

Maarten is a drumset player /percussionist who has been immersed in the phenomenal French/African djembe/dunun scene for years, and he has done his homework. His first book covers some very fertile ground, bridging the gap between this African percussion tradition and its application to modern drum set.

The book / CD set deals with 5 traditional Malinke Rhythms, four from Guinea (Dunungbé, Balakulandja, Soli and Bundiani) and one from Mali (Djélidon). The rhythms are selected with great care. For example, Dunungbé is the principal rhythm of the Dunumba family, which is made up of more than twenty rhythms. It is known as the mother of all Dununba rhythms.

This is not merely a drumset book, either. After a bit of historical and cultural background, given for each rhythm at the beginning of the section, the rhythm is then treated in detail from the viewpoint of the original instrumentation, with basic patterns, variations "chauffes" [loosely translated as 'heating up'], and solo material. Many variations on the parts are given , and so on. Only then are possible drumset applications introduced.

Well written and well notated, with good audio examples, this book/CD set succeeds entirely as a learning tool, on various levels. The book is actually useful too for those studying any of the languages that are used, such as French and English [presented side by side throughout], and both standard and simplified musical notation [the simplified is above the standard notation on every page.] This is an added benefit for those beginning drummers learning (or currently intimidated by) standard notation.

At Left, from his website: From left to right : Madou Koïta, Mamady Keïta, Sine Traoré and Maarten Schepers, October 1998. Maarten brings considerable experience to the creation of this book. For his complete discography and resume, more photos and so on, Visit his website .

Basics of the rhythm Soli from the book are posted HERE.

The information given in the original instrumentation portion is also very useful for more advanced players, since it deals with which instrument issues which calls and when, and other issues which seldom if ever get any attention in beginners' djembe classes.

Regarding the drumset portion of the book, however, perhaps it isn't so much a beginning drumset player's book. It might be better to know the basics of drumset and drumset reading in order to be able to really use the material presented.. Still, the simplified notation key above the regular notation gives a bit of insight where normally a newbie might be baffled.

It was certain, with the popularity of djembe and dunun around the world, that it would be only a short time before folks would be blending djembe/dunun with drum set studies. Maarten's Djembe/Dunun Drumset is one of the first such efforts, and we think it will remain one of the best. The book /CD set are a bit hard to obtain here in the states, but we shall keep you posted. In the meantime, visit him at his website.

Eric Stuer, December 2005

back ro Rhythmweb Reviews

This book/CD set is available at Rhythmtraders

We did not give Djembe Dunun Drumset a quick once over look to write this article. Rather, we dug in and read & played through many of the examples, and listened to the accompanying CD for insight. It is on this basis that we recommend the book.

We believe it is destined to become a classic.


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