Drumming by Laborers in LeisureGrade Level: 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, C-U
Volume 9, #21 and #22: Drumming of the Sosyete Wou, and Djouba and Kongo Drumming
1. Listen to the 'Djouba and Konga Drumming' (Volume 9: #22), and ask students to keep a soft steady pulse by (for example) tapping with just one or two fingers per hand on a dependable surface such as a book or a table-top.
2. Listen again to the selection. Ask students to direct their attention to the following questions, and to respond to them according to what they hear.
Q: What are the instruments being played?
3. Listen again to the selection to 57", and play along with the beat on drums (djembe or conga drums are best), using flat hands or finger tips. Aim for sounding a slow and steady beat, even as faster pulses, which are subdivisions of the slower beat, tick along in between on the recording.
4. Without the recording, practice playing steady beats. On cue (which could be a call, such as "2", or "Twice as Fast", or the clicking sound of a wood block), play two pulses to a steady beat. Then, on cue again, such as "1", or "Home", or "Beat", return to the slower, steady beats. As well, try playing four pulses to a steady beat, using a cue such as "4", returning to "Twice as Fast", and the original "Home" beat. For example:
Original (Home) Beat, "1"
5. Listen again to the selection to 57", and on cue from the teacher ("1", "2", "4"), students can play twice-as-fast, or the subdivisions of the beat that are "twice as fast" ("2") and "four times as fast" ("4).
6. Challenge students to adjust to the different sections of drumming quality of the rhythm; do likewise at 1'28" and 2'02". In fact, the music is moving between djouba and kongo rhythm styles.
2. Listen to the recording again, with special attention to
3. Divide students into groups of three or four players, each with drums, sticks, and rattles to play. Ask that students explore the possibilities of pitch and timbre on the instruments, in order that they might construct
4. Allow the student groups to perform for one another, and lead discussion on the featuring of elements of the Sosyete Wou group.
5. Listen to the recording again as comparison with the student compositions.
2. Describe the presence of drumming (and other percussion) music in the labor societies of Haiti, in which music would be performed for parties associated with work brigades. This lively percussion music was intended to temper the rigors of work and to provide energy to the workers, who played as well as danced to the sounds of the percussion rhythms. According to Alan Lomax, who recorded this music of laborers in 1937, the drumming 'is associated with labor, though it does not occur during labor.' Instead, the work is proceeded or followed with the drumming and dancing.
3. Assign students the task of searching into the topics of 'work song,' Djouba drumming and dancing (relative to work related to cultivation and farming), Kongo drumming and dancing, and music of laborers across historical periods and cultures.