The ABCs Of Agbadza: African Drumming

Fanga , a Liberian welcoming song, is one of the best-known pieces of drum music from West Africa. I continue to find that many of the concepts used in African drum ensemble music have not only helped my hand drumming and drum-set playing immeasurably but have also greatly affected my overall approach to playing and the depth of my musical enjoyment, especially with learning how to hear patterns and parts as a cohesive whole. Sometimes we can get so caught up in what we're doing as drummers that we forget we are just one part of a much bigger musical picture. Remember to start slowly and to practice with a metronome or loop. Breathe through each phrase, and relax as you play.

Jim Donovan is a current and founding member of the multiplatinum band Rusted Root. He has released three solo CDs as well as four instructional drumming CDs. http://www.jimdonovanmusic.com

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  • I love this! This is so useful and helpful as I work with African-American youth and immigrants from the islands. I am trying to encourage them to learn how to read charts and this will help a lot. Any chance we could get audio examples to click along with this?