Monday morning here, breezy again. Last night I had a nice dinner of Lach (not as in loch ness, as in the hebrew/arabic "ch" sound), a hot porridge that the Sao family eats every Sunday night. They eat it with a cows milk yoghurt that is a bit sour to Western tastes, so I just went for a small amount of it. Thats the trick. Each time someone serves the yoghurt I have too much of it and can't hang. But last night I had just a small amount, and it worked out fine. Lesson learned.
Below please check out this video of my Mandinka drum teachers from Gambia playing their most "standard" tune, Lenjen. There are multiple parts to Lenjen, this is the part they called "especially lenjen." Its the shout chorus as it were, the rhythms that the women do their solo dance movements to. Jalamang Camara, my teacher, would normally be playing sabaro, the lead drum, but is playing kutirindingo ( the smallest of the three-drum ensemble) on the right of the screen. Mamady Danfa is on the left of the screen and is playing kutiriba, the deputy drum he always plays. Lenjen is a deeply elusive set of rhythms that I didn't master in my first two months attempting it in 2002-03. I actually finally started to get in the too-brief time spent with my teachers last week in Gambia (as I wrote earlier, seems like a dream!).
Chek out Jalamang's incredibly elegant playing. His small hands, as I've mentioned, are perfectly suited to these drums, and he plays with a mastery that is both relaxed and intense. Again, the Roy Haynes of Brikama! I've had the good fortune to play with Roy's son, cornetist/composer Graham Haynes a few times. I should give Graham some footage of Jalamang to give to his dad!