Percussion intruments are not
exactly an obvious choice for music students in a country which has produced
some of the major classical composers. Perhaps the demise of German folk
music following World War II aside from trash and kitsch provides the very
explanation why so many are embracing musical traditions outside Europe.
A notion instigated by real master drummers such as Mustapha Tettey Addy
from Ghana or Dudu Tucci from Brazil - who have both lived in Germany -
and one which can be taken many steps further. Part of the concept involves
German students bringing forth their own ideas and combining traditions,
more so than their teachers, and very carefully taking up submerged national
folk traditions and integrating these in their 'Global Village Music'.
Various Artists: The Soul of Percussion
CD WW 115-2
'The Soul of Percussion' mainly
focusses on european or european based musicians. They take us on a musical
and fantasy-stimulating journey around the globe which starts in small village
in the northern part of Germany, then delves deep into the African soul,
subsequently pays tribute to the Indo-Arabic art of ornamentation, and ultimately
brings us back to our starting point via the Andalusian flamenco.
Common to all 13 titles on this
journey of rhythm is an ability to communicate without words - music is
a universal language. Listeners suddenly become dancers. Rhythm itself is
a dancer !
at home on the lowland plains of northern Germany, multi-instrumentalist
Olaf Plotz and his band Dull Dull have embraced the idea of global village
music for his project in which acoustical instruments are unusually combined
with every-day utensils, resulting in an unexpected sound experience linking
the lowlands with the wide open spaces of the African steppe and sunny Caribbean
Feira (pronounced 'keentah fairer') means 'Thursday' in Portuguese. This
is the day on which some thirty Sambistas come together for their weekly
practice session with the Hamburg musician and bandleader Paul Lazare. Quinta
Feira began with Samba percussion music taken from Brazilian Afro-Blocos
such as Olodum and Timbalada. However, various styles such as funk, HipHop
and Afro-Cuban elements have been added to the band's mix during their five-year
- Homia, who was born in Sierra Leone and subsequently grew up with his
mother in Gambia, built his own drums at an early age, initially using cartons
and tins. Later he learned the traditional rhythms and songs on the Djembé
and Balafon. His work in the Royal Air Force took him to Cyprus and Gibraltar
until he landed in Berlin where he is living since then. Following the end
of his military service, he devoted more of his time to music, touring with
percussion bands 'Africa Mama' and 'Senegambia', and established the Afro-Caribbean
project 'Mag la Ria'. The follow-up to his 1996 debut solo CD 'Heartbeat'
is scheduled for 2000.
singer, musician, actor and choreographer Dénagan Janvier Honfo has
been living in Ger-many for some years, the artist still maintains close
ties with his homeland Benin, whereward he recently acted as compare at
a presentation awards ceremony celebrating the country's finest musicians.
He himself is no stranger to such events, having taken part in various international
festivals such as the competition organised by Radio France Inter-national
and the UNESCO Festival of Culture. Besides his two CD`s comprising traditional
themes focusing on his work as a percussionist, he has also released an
Afro-Pop CD with the group Azuka and established a musical project focusing
Ifang Bondi ("Be Yourself")
from Gambia have quite a unique band history. Their musical director Badou
Jobe was one of the stars of the 'Super Eagles' who brought West Africa
to a frenzy in the 1960s. The band broke up at the height of their career
to further pursue the tradition of the Griots. Ifang Bondi delighted audiences
with their root-blend of 'Afro-Mandingue Sound' for over 20 years. Besides
the arrangements comprising all the instruments, it is the wild percussion
pieces that now enrapture audiences time after time on numerous tours.
eleven South Africans can be seen just as often at inter-national venues
as at regular performances in South African schools where they provide the
"westernised" children with an understanding of their forefathers'
culture. Besides the sophisticated dance choreography it is, above all,
the buzzing, lingering and driving percussion that characterises the trance-like
quality of their music, here in an homage to the cuban Changuito, who supported
Mandela's favourite band on its first international production.
outstanding characteristic of musician and teacher Pedro Weiss, who for
over 15 years has invited students to embark on a journey to 'discover rhythm',
is his sheer inexhaustible pleasure derived from playing music. With two
solo CD's firmly under his belt, he himself repeatedly takes such musical
trips throughout the world tracking down the magic sounds of Oriental, African
and Latin American cultures and integrating them in his own musical style.
Salsa, Samba, Pop and Jazz formations make up part of the 39 year-old's
Shotham, resident in Cologne, has been in demand as a studio musician for
15 years. His skills, developed primarily at the legendary Karnataka College
of Percussion, have been behind more than 75 jazz and world - music productions.
The lively master Indian percussionist works for radio and television companies
and with the support of Goethe Institut travels half the globe. In addition,
he has established three of his own groups: 'Madras Spezial', 'Xillob' and
Mokhtar Al Said began his musical
career over 30 years ago as an accordionist for such famous Arabian singers
as Om Kalsoum and Abdel Halim Hafez and has been a composer for Egyptian
national radio for almost as many years. His arrangements include Egypt's
national anthem. Together with the El Ferka Mesaya Orchestra he has so far
recorded four CD's for the 'Raks Sharki (Oriental dance) Project' organised
by the dancer Jalilah. As the main man is extremely camera-shy, the picture
seen here is that of Jalilah who put together the compositions.
The Egyptian Sayed Balaha made
his first concert appearance on Cairo radio at the age of eight. Its success
gave rise to countless further programmes. Ever since, the Tabla and Darbouka
player has accompanied all the famous Oriental dancers, including Nagua
Fouad, with whom he came to Berlin in 1989. Here he taught Tabla and Oriental
dance, established the Egypt Stars with other Egyptian musicians, and gave
numerous concerts throughout Europe. His first successful solo CD, 'The
devil and the dancer', was followed in 1997 by a collaboration with the
three CD's released by the musical director and arranger of the Salamat
project, percussionist Mahmoud Fadl, primarily provide Western listeners
with an understanding of the Nubian elements of Egyptian music. Fadl, whose
instruments include the Darabuka, Conga, Djembé, Tabla, Tar and the
Duff, recently invited fellow musicians to accompany him, and his dance
rhythms he has known since childhood, on a voyage of discovery along the
Spanish flamenco percussion group boasts an incredible band history. Ten
years ago social workers set-up a workshop project on the "El Torrejòn"
housing estate, a ghetto in the industrial town of Huelva near Seville.
In an area with serious drug problems this workshop seemed an ideal way
of taking youngsters off the streets. At first hands, feet and dustbins
were used as percussion instruments. Subsequent performances in pubs provided
the funds for 'real' instruments. Since 1993 this workshop has witnessed
the formation of some 8 to 10 full-time musicians who have recorded a CD
and accompanied flamenco singers such as Enrigue Morente and Carmen Linares.
Current highlights in the band's history include appearances at the most
important flamenco festivals and the WOMEX World Music Fair.
year old drummer Donald Holtermans, who discovered his love of rhythm 20
years ago, is the driving force behind the project 'Global Drummer'. He
was granted an in-depth insight in a rich variety of culture groups by the
master drummers Mustapha Tettey Addy from Ghana and Pandit Badri Maharaj
Besides accompanying dances and
dance performances he has also played in various bands ('Ganja Band', 'Koo
Wulu') and together with Johannes Heinen established the 'Piano & Drums'
project. Following major contributions on four CD productions, his own debut
solo CD is set to be released in 1998 in which the call of the drums will
be answered in his very own personal style.
In October 1998 the 'Global Drummer'
released his first solo CD on WeltWunder Records.