Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Groove(s) o' the day: On the streets of Aba, Nigeria

I loved this video so much I wanted to lay on you a transcription of the whole thing, but we're going to have to settle for just getting the basic groove. I hit a wall about a minute in— there's an interlude there that is going to be very difficult to notate. It may sound like he's all over the place, but when you study the thing closely in Audacity, his execution is pretty much impeccable, and he stays oriented in 4 the whole time— he does a couple of slight tempo changes, and adds beats when he does the little fills, but that's about it. Let's listen first:

His set up is a little different, and he's playing the bell part with his left hand, but you can play all of these on a normal drumset, and leading with your right. On all the grooves, the accents refer to the bell pattern— he has a really good left hand, and the accents jump around quite a bit. These are all from the first minute of the performance, and the tempo is around quarter note = 195 bpm.

Here is the main groove from the beginning:

A little further in he plays the traditional “short” bell pattern:

This bell variation happens quite a bit:

At about 0:43 there's a change in the drum-hand part (our left, his right). I transcribed this without looking at the video, so I missed that he is playing the first two notes of each triplet on all four beats. You'll have to pencil in another low tom note on the downbeats of 2 and 4. He implies a cross rhythm by playing the second note of each triplet a little late with the left hand. The only way to execute that is to be extremely fluent with the first polyrhythm on line 5 of the Ladzekpo page from a few days ago. Our drummer today executes this rhythm in the cracks between the triplet notation below, and Ladzekpo's rhythm:

And for fun, here's a little lick he does at about 0:13. It's possible I was one beat off by in the way I wrote this out; the actual downbeat could be on beat 2 of this example, which would give us a normal short bell pattern in the first measure, and alternating triplets starting with the left hand in the second measure:

So, those are some of the notes. Being and playing as real as this kid is the really hard part.

[h/t to Peter Kalu, Arky, Victor Wooten  for making and sharing the video]