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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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