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In Writing the book Strange Hunting, I did a lot of research. In fact, more than one reviewer has mentioned the amount of research that went into my book. In doing that research I relied on many sources.

The second chapter, I Rabas, starts off in a remote village in Mali, West Africa. The main character, Berk Willis, and his father are later hired to protect a camel caravan that goes into the Sahara Desert, meeting bands of nomads, Tuareg tribesmen, and desert bandits along the way. Setting the story in Mali had a few advantages, first I knew a few people who had visited there and a few who were born and raised there. I was able to pick people's brians, study their photos, and watch their videos. Second, I had always wanted to go there and had studied some of its cultural traditions of drum and dance and related rituals. I had collected a fair amount of information on Mali in hopes I would visit one day. Lastly, Mali was the perfect setting for the story I wanted to tell. The place had to be remote, difficult, and it helped that it was populated with a diversity of people each with their own traditions, stories, and myths.

Here are some images I found that helped me create the second chapter of Strange Hunting.

Fulani

 

This first photo is of a person from the Fulani, or Fula, tribe in Mali. They are known for their unique conical hats, their jewelry and other accessories, and the dark dyes often used to make their mouths black. Yellow face paint is commonly used by the Fulani for certain occassions.

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Ten Best Djembe Books and Videos

1. Mamady Keita - A Life for the Djembe (Book and CD) - A comprehensive book containing history, background, and personal info. from Mamady Keita. Dozens of rhythms are transcribed and the accompanying CD has samples of basic djembe and Dunun parts.

2. Rhythms and Songs From Guinea- Famoudou Konate (Book and CD) - Explanation of the djembe and the music tradition of Guinea along with history and a bio. of Famoudou. Many of the elements of Malinke rhythms are explained and several rhythms are transcribed including songs, solos, echauffements and breaks. The rhythms are played on the accompanying CD.

3. Djembe - Percussion From West Africa - Ibro Konate (Book and CD) - Great learning guide for beginner to intermediate players. Contains information on everything from choosing a djembe and basic playing techniques to notes on music structure and vocabulary all explained in a very understandable way. Contains many exercises for helping people play and understand malinke rhythms. 8 rhythms are notated including breaks and solo parts and are played part by part on the CD.

4. Guinee: Les Rythmes Du Mandeng (series) - Mamady Keita (DVD) - Mamady's series of instructional videos each contain 6-8 rhythms with a brief cultural explanation for each. Parts are played traditional style with Dundun, Sangban, and Kenkeni played separately with attached bells. Djembe and dundun parts are played individually and then ensemble (together).

5. Journey Into Rhythm (series) - Karamba Diabate (Video) - Karamba explains the context of each rhythm, then shows each djembe accompaniment and break. Dundun are played ballet style -one person playing all three drums. Each rhythm is shown played live by a full ensemble.

6. Thione Diop Teaches: Djembe and Dunun Rhythms of Senegal (DVD) - Senegalese rhythms introduced and taught by Thione Diop. The video has karaoke style notation so viewers can follow along as it plays. Two djembe accompaniments are shown per song along with separate dunun parts. Each rhythm is shown in slow and fast versions for easy learning.

7. Fara Bakan - Instructional Djembe (DVD) - Fara Tolno teaches six traditional rhythms of the Mande People of Guinea. Each rhythm includes an explanation of its origin and meaning and a breakdown into its specific parts including djembe, dunun, sangban, and kenkeni, each with bell parts. Each rhythm is then performed ensemble style.

8. Made in Guinea, West Africa -Aly Sylla (DVD) - Susu djembefola Aly Sylla, director of Les percussion De Guinea, takes viewers through 6 traditional rhythms including djembe and doundoun parts. The video also provides a glimpse of traditional life and culture in Guinea.

9. Mamady Keita and Sewa Kan Live @Couleur Cafe (DVD) - This performance video showcases Mamady's group Sewa Kan in live performance. Mamady and several guest artists are prominently featured.

10. ? If you think I've missed a book or video that belongs in the top ten, let me know!

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