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A number of years ago one of my students asked me to notate the pattern used by Jeff Porcaro on the tune Mushanga, from the Toto album entitled The Seventh One, so I thought I'd share it with you.

When asked about the origin of the Mushanga rhythm, Jeff Porcaro had this to say:

"Steve Gadd had made a trip to PIT to give a clinic, and my father [Joe Porcaro] happened to be there. Then, later, my father showed me this fast samba that Steve played for the class. It had to do with an inverted paradiddle.

"'Mushanga' is basically the sticking from that same thing. Then I added some stuff to it. The tom pattern came from listening to Floyd Sneed of Three Dog Night on the tune 'King Solomon's Mines'. There were all of these toms going on and that's what I wanted to hear. So that was in my head when I was working on 'Mushanga'. I'm still waiting for that original idea.

"The basic Mushanga fragmented pattern:
Standard Drumset Notation used; stickings apply to the hands, not feet."

Mushanga - Basic Groove

In his video, Jeff plays this pattern, filling up the space with ghosted single strokes between the snare and the second rack tom. The exception is the added left hand ghost stroke which occurs just after the beat 3 backbeat (see diagram below). This is a signature for Porcaro ... adding the extra bounce after backbeats ... which he also does on Rosanna.

He then adds the following to the basic pattern; played with the right hand on the rim of the second rack tom, left hand on the hi-hat. Notice how the hi-hat on beat one is slightly loose to achieve a more legato sound.


Mushanga - Complete Groove
Jeff Porcaro - Mushanga Drum Groove

To see and hear more of what Jeff does on Mushanga, pick-up a copy of his instructional video and/or listen to Track 5 of Toto - The Seventh One. Be sure to experiment and improvise around this pattern to create your own groove and sound.




Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40+ years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the owner and creator of DrummerCafe.com, which he founded in December of 1996.