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Written & published by: Lucy Ilado (Music in Africa Portal)

The Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA) in Zanzibar, Tanzania, has organised a workshop for drummers between 21 and 23 July.

DCMA managing director Alessia Lombardo.

The sessions will be facilitated by drummer and percussionist Jafary Bandukine. The workshop will offer a mix of theory and practical exercises covering topics such as Drumming Flexibility, Control and ImprovisationHow to Experiment and Combine Sounds, and Body Coordination.

A jam session performance with all the workshop participants will be held each evening at Mr Kahawa restaurant in Paje.

“This workshop is part of our recently launched monthly artist development programme that seeks to equip our students and teachers through the exchange of information and skills with already practising musicians,” DCMA managing director Alessia Lombardo told Music In Africa.

“These workshops allow us to support musicians during this COVID-19 because most of them have lost their sole source of income.” 

Bandukine said he was looking forward to bonding and sharing knowledge with the participants. He said the involvement of women in the percussion field had grown over time, but there was still a significant gap between the number of female and male percussionists.

“I would like to see young women discover their connection with past female percussionists and establish their position in today’s field. Most of them believe that the drums are for men and cannot bring real income,” he said.

Since 2015, Bandukine has collaborated with various musicians and bands in Dar es Salaam. He played drums on Swahili Ally’s Nadunda album (2018) and Isack Abeneko’s Wakati (2019). 

He admires the work of Tanzanian percussionists Abdalla Juma Membe, popularly known as Kikombe Beat, and Martin Sambwe, who recently received a scholarship to study music at the Action Music Academy in Dar es salaam. 

As is the case with athletes, the level of fitness needed to be a percussionist requires strict physical training, due to the often strenuous nature of the performances.

“You need to be physically fit and very disciplined, especially if you are playing with a band; punctuality is a must,” Bandukine said. “You also need to be attentive so that you do not overpower other instruments and the vocalist. The audience needs to hear a well-balanced sound.”

When asked to offer a word of advice to aspiring percussionists and drummers, Bandukine said: “My advice is to try to be creative. Be open-minded and listen to other styles of music and other performers. Also, try to love music and to enjoy what you do.”