Maarten Schepers - Djembe


Djembe | Dunun | Drumset (Book / CD), by Maarten Schepers, is for the beginner to advanced drummer / percussionist. The beginner will discover some basic Malinke rhythms from both the Djembe and Dunun, while the advanced, more experienced player will increase their knowledge and sharpen their skills in the area of solos, variations and applying these rhythms to the drumset.

It is clear that author Maarten Schepers is well versed in the French/African drumming tradition, with his knowledge of drumset and percussion allowing him to connect and apply the Djembe and Dunun with the modern-day drumkit.

The book covers five traditional Malinke rhythms from West Africa; four of which are from from Guinea (Dunungbé, Balakulandja, Soli and Bundiani) and one from Mali (Djélidon). Each section of the book begins with a brief background and history of the culture, followed by a list of the traditional / original instrumentation, basic patterns, solos and variations (also known as "chauffes") incorporated by each instrument. After the thorough explanation of the traditional dunun and djembe patterns, the parts are superimposed step by step so that the reader can interpret and apply the rhythms to the drumset.

I personally feel that the book is well written and notated, but I'm not into the French and English versions of the book appearing on each and every page. Did I forget to mention the book is in French and English? I would have preferred that the first half of the book be in one language and that latter half in the other language ... like you see with many International owners manuals. Perhaps for the individual wishing to learn or reference to a second language it's great ... but for me, no thank you.

The audio examples on the two CDs included are also very good. with each of the traditional instrument's patterns being demonstrated on its own individual track. The full ensemble for the given rhythm is then played; all instruments included. Next each part is applied to the drumset.

With the wealth of information provided in this book / cd, I would say that its more than just a book to apply African rhythms to the drumset. Hand drummers wishing to learn more about these traditional rhythms will find a wealth of knowledge as well. The book will definitely be a little overwhelming (at first) to the individual who doesn't have much experience (newbie) with music notation, let alone drumset notation. However, the 144 page book does supply a simplified notation key above the conventional notation. But with the two languages appearing side-by-side, one's eyes may glaze over for brief periods of time.  With that said, I still think Djembe | Dunun | Drumset is a good resource.

As with the popularity of Cuban and Brazilian rhythms being applied to drumset several decades ago, so too the rhythms from in and around Africa. With increased exposure, I'm sure Djembe | Dunun | Drumset will become a standard resource for many world drummers/percussionists library.