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Armando Mafufo teaches basic Middle Eastern rhythms and how to play them on the Arabic drum commonly known as a tabla or doumbec. His intended audience is beginning and early intermediate drummers, but dancers who want a better understanding of Middle Eastern rhythms will also find this video helpful. Although this video doesn't teach finger cymbals, its explanation of rhythms can assist finger cymbal students with understanding the rhythms and dancers can practice by playing along with the drumming.
The video begins with a demonstration of full-speed drumming by Armando for about 1 1/2 minutes. He then offers some opening comments.
The first major instructional section is titled "Dumbek Basic Techniques." In this portion of the video, Armando begins at the very beginning and shows how to hold the drum, and exactly how to hit it to achieve the various sounds such as the deep "doom" sound and the higher-pitched "tek". Armando comes across as very comfortable and natural, as if he were sitting right there in the room offering a private lesson. He anticipates various mistakes that beginning drum students might make and provides tips on how to avoid them. Altogether, this section covers about 10 minutes.
Once Armando finishes reviewing the basic techniques for playing the drum, he then moves on to the primary "meat" of the video, the rhythm instruction. He divides the rhythms into categories according to how many beats each has per measure, as follows:
Armando introduces each rhythm with a written chart that shows how to count it and which drum strokes to use at each point in the counting. He speaks the "one and two and three and four and" counting out loud, then taps that steady count with a pointer while speaking the drum strokes used to play it. After speaking the rhythm, he then picks up the drum and plays it, slowly at first, then progressively faster. The diagrams used on the charts are repeated on the back cover of the video, where they can be conveniently referenced.
Initially, Armando plays the basic rhythm very simply, but then he moves into many variations of it while maintaining the beat. If you're a beginning drummer, you can continue playing the simple version even as Armando wanders off into his variations, which will offer you valuable practice in holding steady to what you need to play even while other musicians are doing something else. Over time, as you master the simple version of the rhythm, you can start learning Armando's variations, one at a time. Intermediate drummers can use Armando's many variations of each rhythm as inspiration to add diversity to their own drumming.
When I was a beginning dance student, I used Armando's instructional cassettes to learn basic rhythms, and I found his practice of speaking the words "doom", "tek", and "ca" to be very helpful. Again, on this video, I appreciate how he vocally speaks each rhythm before playing it. Adding to that, I find his use of a chart that visually diagrams each rhythm to be very useful in understanding how the rhythm is layered on top of basic counting. His use of multiple explanations for each rhythm will help reach people with different styles of learning.
The rhythms that Armando selects to teach on this video are those commonly used in traditional folk music from throughout the Middle East and North Africa, with the majority chosen from those used in Arabic music. Even if you intend to focus exclusively on Egyptian music, this video will offer plenty to learn on rhythms used in Egyptian music such as Maksoom, Beledi, Masmoodi Kabir, Malfoof, Sahidi, and Wahed Tawila.
The lighting and sound quality are excellent. The camera angles are intelligently chosen, showing exactly what they should. They shift frequently enough to avoid monotony, but linger long enough on the important shots.
You Will Probably Enjoy This Video If...
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What I Liked, What I Didn't
What I Liked:
What I Didn't Like:
This video provides a solid introduction to many basic rhythms commonly used in Middle Eastern music. Although it also includes a couple of obscure rhythms such as Karachi that I've rarely seen used, that doesn't really bother me. I would definitely recommend this video for beginning drummers who would like assistance in studying rhythms and intermediate drummers who would like ideas on how to embellish them.
The rhythms selected for this video offer a sampling of assorted rhythms throughout the Middle East and North Africa. People who care solely about Egyptian music will probably find the 6/8 and 9/8 rhythms on this video to be superfluous, though sometimes Egyptian songs make use of rhythms from other regions. The sections on 2/4, 4/4, and 8/4 rhythms offer solid building blocks for learning to play Egyptian music, so the video delivers strong value even for Egyptian-focused drummers.
Reviews of Other Videos By This Instructor
If you'd like to read my reviews of other videos featuring Armando, choose from the list below:
If you'd like to read my reviews of music CD's on which Armando is one of the artists, choose from the list below:
I first discovered the music of Sirocco (the band that Armando plays percussion for) around 1985 when one of my dance teachers used their music in class and dragged me to watch her perform with them as her live musicians. Since then, I have danced to them live myself on various occasions, bought many of their recordings, and met them at dance events. I always enjoy speaking with Armando and his wife Hanya when I see them. They gave me a complimentary copy of this video to review for my web site.
To Buy It
Phone: (+1) (831) 475-3591
Web Site: www.unclemafufo.com
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