This is a very acrobatic dance for the virgins, to be played for many hours, so MAN UP! :-) Mamady's book explains the cultural origins, and notates the Sangban bell differently, which is harder to play and seems counter to the usual way of having the bell play at the same time as drum hits, but sounds very nice; this is now my favoured way of playing it. Paul Nas notates two other different Sangban bells, and a cool extra occasional Dununba fill-in to drop in = not easy while keeping the offbeat double bell!
>120bpm 12/8 1&a2&a3&a4&a ("One and a Two and a Three and a Four and a...") r rl r rl Djembe 1 S.OS..S.OS.. ("Round the back, Round the back") r lrlr lrl Djembe 2 S..SOOS..SOO ("fag, 'av- in' a fag, 'av- in' a") r lr lr rl Djembe 3 S..SS..BS.OO ("Fly a-way to Spain cuc-koo") Bell 1 PN1 x.x.xx.xx.x. Bell 1 PN2 x.xx.x.xx.x. Bell 1 M.K. x.xx.xx.xx.x ("eggs are boiled, the eggs are boiled, the") Bell 1 x.xx.xx.x.x. ("One dou-ble dou-ble five six") +Sangban G.G..g..G.G. ("vir- gins dance! Watch the") $ Bell 2 x.xx.xx.xx.x ("eggs are boiled, the eggs are boiled, the") +Kenkeni K....KK....K ("eggs the eggs the") $ Bell 3 .xx.xx.xx.xx +Dununba .DD.......DD +Dun Alt PN .DD.D.D.D.DD | .DD.......DD Counting 4 1&a2&a3&a4&a
The Dununba is seriously mesmeric when you get it, if you can get it! This leads to a whole world of polymetric nirvana, so it's well worth practising! Try walking your feet in time: 1..2..3..4.. to have something to bounce off onto the offbeat bell and drum notes.
The Djembe parts are the standard 12/8 accompaniments, but check out the bewitching extra Djembe 3 which is an extended version of Rythme Populaire (so this is why you persevered learning the correct handing! :) When fitting it over the other parts, it may help to rethink the "Round The Back" words (counted in four beats) as "BACK to front, let's PLAY it" (counted in three crotchet beats, with the emphasis on "BACK" and "PLAY" falling on beats 1 and 3), like this:
Counting 4 1&a2&a3&a4&a ("1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a...") Djembe 1 S.OS..S.OS.. ("Round thback, Round thback") Djembe 2 S..SOOS..SOO ("fag, 'avin' a fag, 'av-in' a") Counting 3 1.&a2.&a3.&a ("1-ey anda 2-ey and a 3-ey and a...") Djembe 1 S.OS..S.OS.. ("BACK to front, let's PLAY it") Djembe 3 S..SS..BS.OO ("Fly a-way to Spain cuckoo") r lr lr rl Counting 4 1&a2&a3&a4&a ("1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a...")
It takes skill to be able to come in (at the correct tempo) with part 3 over part 1, and vice versa, but once you can do it, you're well on the way to mastering the dizzy heights of mixed-meter mesmeric mayhem that this West African music uses to bamboozle the mind and entrance dancers' feet.
Key to notation
Traditional Guinean rhythm from
Mamady Keita, taught by
(notated by Malcolm Smith on 2012-05-09 + 2014-05-30 + 2017-11-29)