Drums of Africa and India

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Bob Becker has a busy travel, teaching and performing schedule.  If you’ve seen him play mallets you know he’s a virtuoso. But his expertise extends beyond mallets. Two of Bob’s workshops explore West African Drumming and North Indian drumming. In North Indian classical music the most important percussion instrument is the tabla, whereas in West African drumming, there are whole drum families. The African Workshop is “hands on” while the Indian workshop is a lecture demo. Bob looks at the construction of the Indian tabla, its history, the playing technique and repertoire, and the traditional solo performance; he also looks at improvisation on the instrument and welcomes questions. Having studied under master drummer Pandit Sharda Sahai, Bob’s demonstrations on the tabla are truly inspiring. The African workshop, like the Indian, also examines construction methods and playing techniques, but also looks at the traditions of “rhythmic ambiguity and conversation”! (If you heard about the Talking Drum Symposium at U of T, you will know about drums having conversations.) The balance of the African workshop is spent learning several traditional ensemble styles from Ghana. As you can imagine, this is an exhilarating workshop when 10 participants and Bob get going! (More than 10 can participate, but have to take turns). I hope you have a chance to enjoy these two workshops some day soon!

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