Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Northern Brazilian drumming

From the Vic Firth site, here's a nice clinic on northeastern Brazilian drumming, by US drummer Scott Kettner. He discusses the folkloric/authentic forms of the Baião and Maracatu rhythms, which have a history of being adapted for the drumset outside of Brazil, and also Forró (pronounced fo-HO) rhythms, which doesn't so much, but we're starting to hear more about it— I know of at least one good Forró group in Portland, for example.

This clip starts with a clarification on what how Baião— which should be familiar to most people reading this at least as a type of drumset groove— is actually played in Brazil, raising a point about authenticity which I'll continue below.

This is welcome information, because it's certainly better to be educated about what we're doing than to be ignorant about it, but at the same time, our familiar Baião-influenced groove has its own history of usage by some great musicians outside of its original location and context, and is an artistically viable derivation in its own right. And just as a practical matter, when American musicians call for the style, the musical setting will very likely have little in common with the real thing as practiced in Brazil, or anywhere else, and it's going to be some form of that familiar drumset adaptation they'll be expecting to hear. Though you would have the option of educating them about what the authentic groove is if you know it.

Anyhow, the entire clinic is well worth watching— there's also downloadable a nice fat clinic handout which I would be sure to grab.

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