Burundian Drums Ensemble

BURUNDIAN DRUMS ENSEMBLE

Djembé Lessons

Claude Ciza is working on new composition, new taste, new drumming vocabulary about the Burundian Drums. At young age, he got already introduced by his mother to those drums. Currently, he is touring around with his band also to be seen in various festivals.
Meaning of sacred drums

At the period of Kingdom (XVI – XVII s) drums in Burundi were much more than simple musical instruments.  As sacred objects, they were only played under exceptional circumstances and then always for ritual purposes including the coronations and kings’ funerals. The sacred drums were myth of the country, the symbol of the sovereignty of the king.  They assured the protection of the country and kept rhythm with regular cycle of the seasons which ensured the prosperity of the livestock and maximum yield from the crops.

The performance of the Royal Drummers has been the same for centuries, and their techniques and traditions are passed down from father to son. The members of the ensemble take turns playing the Inkiranya, dancing, resting, and playing the other drums, rotating throughout the show without interruptions. At the start of their performance, the drummers enter balancing the heavy drums on their heads and singing and playing. There are some extra members who carry ornamental spears and shields and lead the procession with their dance. They then perform a series of rhythms, some accompanied by song, and exit the stage the same way, carrying the drums on their heads and playing.

Beginning in the 1960s, the Drummers have toured the world. They have recorded three albums – Batimbo (Musiques Et Chants) in 1991, Live at Real World in 1993 and The Master Drummers of Burundi in 1994. They have also appeared on Joni Mitchell’s The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975), on Zimbo, the B-side of the Echo & the Bunnymen 12″ single of The Cutter (1983), and the Def Leppard single “Rocket”. They have influenced artists such as Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow, and inspired Thomas Brooman to organize the WOMAD festival in 1982, which shaped the burgeoning world music genre.
In Werner Herzog’s film Fitzcarraldo, you can hear their drumming as the drumming of the bushmen.
Summary on standard Music of Drum
s
Burundi drummers are representatives of Burundi folklore.This ritual dance surprises and fascinates because it’s unique in the world to impose the drummers to follow the movement of the dancer.

CLAUDE

Scene/show concept:

The drummers use two sticks of 30 to 40 centimeters to beat the drum.The Drums are placed on half circle of 12 to 25 following an ascendant order.One drum called Inkiranya, is placed at the middle, and is reserved to the leader of the dance.
Drums are divided in two parts based on their rhythms:
1. The first part of drums called Amashako provides a continuous beat and their drummers are known as Abakokezi.

2. The second part of drums called Ibishikizo follows the movement imposed by the dancer and the drummers are called Abavuzamurisho. The latest observe the movement of the dancer, because the change of the rhythm is indicated by his/her gestures.

The drummers take turns playing the inkiranya, dancing, resting and playing the other drums, rotating throughout the show without interruptions.At the start of the performance, the drummers enter balancing the heavy drums on their heads and singing and playing.

There are some extra members who carry ornamental spears and shields and lead the procession with their dance. The dancers perform a series of rhythms, some accompanied by a song.

The play of drummers is relevant to sound and gesture rhythm that fascinate generations with mixture of spectacular gravity and admirable fantasies. The music expresses the popular and vital joy.

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