Thursday, March 22, 2007

Video #7 - Mandinka Drumming program with P.A. I sent

Meant to post this earlier. The woman singing is called a kanyile (songleader). She's belting it out on the P.A. I sent my teachers almost a year ago. Instead of having to strain her voice and fight to be heard on top of a chous of sometimes hundreds of women, she can soar on top of them all with a mic. I meant to walk as far away as I could from the program to see how far you could actually hear this P.A. in the distance, but I was enjoying watching the proceedings too much to go anywhere. I was so happy to be able to send this to them. Took me awhile to get the extra bread together, but I finally managed it three years after my first visit. Its a killin' Fender Passport that no other group in Gambia has. Most of the high life band's have P.A.'s, or there are P.A's at the clubs they play at, but as with most of the electronics in West Africa, more often then not tweeters are blown, or it only works in mono, or it barely works at all, or etc etc. So for my teachers Jalamang and Mamady, a fully operational P.A. now makes them that much more in demand in Brikama than they already were. Glad to help get them more work. They deserve it! The irony is they play programs at so many compounds that don't have electricity that sometimes they cart the thing over (literally; their roadie pushes the P.A. and drums through town to the gig on a wheelbarrow!) and can't even use it.

In this clip Jalamang and Mamady are playing "Fere," the throwdown 4/4 funk in the repertoire. There's a couple other 4/4 rhythms, but this is the standard for every women's recreational program and maybe the least complicated rhythm in the repertoire (I better be careful what I write). As always, the kanyile sings songs associated with whichever piece the drummers are playing, and the chorus of women responds. When Jalamang senses that the energy level is rising, he amps up the drummers and ultimately the whole crowd with his whistle and off they go.

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