Layne Redmond's Thoughts on Frame Drumming
Material Inspired by Brazilian Rhythms — Beginners to Advanced Tracks
Retreat will be at the Prama Institute, an amazingly beautiful and health conscious retreat center outside Asheville, NC. Prama has continued to build and expand with beautiful new private rooms and now air-conditioning in the dorms and workshop spaces! The food is very high quality, local and organic when possible!
The retreat will kick off Wednesday night with an opening rhythmic ritual around the bonfire led by Tommy Be: The Shaman’s beat and the Theta state!
Then Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we’ll be working with Middle Eastern style tambourine, tar and knee position styles of frame drumming, including techniques from the Middle East, Azerbaijan, North Africa, Brazil and India. There will be extensive work on split hand technique and the chirt mah snapping traditions and an emphasis this July on Brazilian candomblé trance rhythms.
For advanced students Tommy will be offering special sessions focusing on learning to improvise with frame drums. He will also be teaching his personally developed techniques for pandeiro and kanjira.
Therapeutic Rhythmic Integration Techniques – Every morning all levels will meet to work together on entrainment-rhythmic synchronization exercises for developing a powerful sense of time, abilities to work with odd meters while walking a pulse in four and as a therapeutic tool for synchronizing mind and body. Special emphasis on candomblé agogo bell patterns adapted for tambourine for these exercises.
MAKE YOUR WHOLE MIND AND BODY YOUR GROOVE!
Every evening will be a special event including:
When The Drummers Were Women:
The Birth of the Frame Drum in the Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations
Layne’s lectures on the origins of the frame drum in the Mediterranean world from her incomparable slide archive of the ancient goddesses, women and men framedrummers. In the ancient Mediterranean world, the frame drum is associated primarily with women and in particular with the Bee Priestesses, called the Melissaes in Greek or the Deborahs in Hebrew. They served the Bee Goddesses: Aphrodite, Artemis, Cybele, Demeter, Persephone, Neith, and later the Virgin Mary. Many of the drumming priestesses functioned as oracles, a highly valued and honored position. The drumming, humming, and breathing practices were traditionally used to develop the oracular aspect of the mind, along with healing physical and emotional imbalances. We see traditions from Sumer, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Egypt, Anatolia, Greece and Rome.
An evening learning to create Sound Rituals from ancient transformational practices:
* the buzzing humming bee breath pranaymas that realign the entire nervous system, brain, and body by intense vibration of the vocal chords.
* Learn overtone singing.
* Create sacred space through ritual with the frame drum, Brazilian overtone whistles, Tibetan bowls, gongs and bells.
Movie Night: Excerpts from Layne’s film Axé Orixá shot in Salvador, Brazil. See footage from the amazing festival of Iemanja, the festival of Omolu, Bom Fim and much more!
Sunday Closing Ritual
Thinking mythically and working ritually, seeing what was, what is, and what can be. We will create the final closing ritual using the many tools we have worked on through these five days.
Rituals are collective actions that access and influence the deep resources of the unconscious mind. Using sacred symbols, sound, and energy, rituals open communication between different dimensions of our being and between the human and the divine. What we feel, care for, and imagine together influences the innermost resources of the unconscious mind. Our shared energy and emotion transforms our drumming, breathing and sound practices into the path of self-realization.
EARLY REGISTRATION, POSTMARKED OR POSTED BY JUNE 1, 2013
Option 1: Stay Onsite Includes 3 exceptional local and mostly organic meals a day – Wednesday dinner through Sunday lunch (best retreat food Layne has ever eaten!)
_____ $620 Dorm Room Bunk Bed with Pillow Only; Bring Your Own Sleeping Bag or Linens
_____ $630 Dorm Room Bunk Bed with Pillow and Bedding Provided
_____ $520 Tenting with Bath Facility Access; Bring Your Own Tent & Sleeping Bag
Option 2: Commute
_____ $465 Commuting; Lunch and Dinner Only, Thursday Lunch through Sunday Lunch
_____ $513 Commuting; Include Breakfasts, Thursday Breakfast through Sunday Lunch
HOUSING IS FILLING UP! REGISTER SOON!
Click here to download a PDF of the Registration Form
(Look for it in your downloads)
For questions, contact Farrunnissa at
NurLuna@aol.com or 919 361-2383.
The Prama Institute sits in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, 20 minutes from Asheville, two hours from Knoxville, and within three hours of Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro.
Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), 45 minutes
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), 1 ½ hrs
Tri-Cities Regional Airport in Johnson City, Tennessee (TRI) 1 ½ hrs
Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT), 2 ½ hrs
The pandeiro is the Brazilian tambourine and although it is not known exactly how it arrived in Brazil here are some of the possibilities. The frame drum first appears in our history painted on the shrine room wall in the Neolithic city of Chatal Huyuk in what is now Turkey around 5600 BCE. It is shown in the hands of figures dancing around a large bull, possibly the forerunner of the Dionysian rites that involve the god’s manifestation as a sacred bull that is torn to pieces and then resurrected by the power of the frame drum. A similar tradition is still carried on today in the Bumba Meu Boi rites in the state of Maranhao in western Brazil.
The Brazilian pandeiro is a tambourine played in a unique style all of its own but is probably related to the earliest tambourines with jingles that have been definitively identified from the Roman period, c. 250 CE. It is quite possible that the earlier frame drums seen on the Greek and South Italian vases had jingles on them but there is no definite proof of this although the South Italian style of tambourines with jingles persists to this day in the areas where the ancient vases are found.
Some historians theorize that Crusaders brought the Middle Eastern style tambourine to Europe sometime in the 13th century. Some believe the tambourine traveled from India across Europe with the Gypsies. It eventually shows up in Portugal and is known as the pandereta or adufe. These drums then traveled to the Brazil with Portuguese colonizers. There it was quickly adapted by the Africans brought there as slaves to their own rhythmic celebrations and practices and is still used in many styles of Brazilian music from Samba, Chorro, Coco to Bossa Nova and plays a key role in capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts.
Although not traditionally played in the terreiros, the temples of candomblé, the rhythms played on pandeiro are deeply rooted in the rhythms of candomblé.
Here we see an elder pandeiro player making an offering with his candomblé house at the festival of Iemanja, the goddess of the sea!
NEW PANDEIRO INSTRUCTIONAL DVD
I have been working on an instructional dvd of Bahian percussion focusing on the classical style of pandeiro playing from chorinho that is taught at UFBA, the university percussion department in Salvador, Brazil. Although it covers basic surdo, the focus is on pandeiro by three of the young graduates of UFBA who are from different neighborhoods in Salvador, so each percussionist shows some interestingly unique techniques. The dvd covers from the very beginning basics of playing pandeiro to the most advanced level. Here is a ten-minute excerpt from this DVD.
I have just added a $30 pledge level for a HQ download of this DVD on our Kickstarter page! And you will also get the download of the 8 tracks of music and when finished a download of the documentary.
It is also available as a hard copy DVD at this pledge level:
DRUM LOVER’S PACKAGE: Limited Edition DVD WITH BONUS DISC including complete footage of the drummers recording the music for the film, PLUS an exclusive BAHIAN PERCUSSION INSTRUCTIONAL DVD. You also get the limited edition CD, and your name in the credits! Yes, you DO receive the downloads for the DVDs, Bonus Disc, and CD. (Bahian Percussion DVD, CD and Studio Drummers Bonus Disc downloads available this Dec. 2012)
By pledging you support my documentary project and you get a great DVD!!!
You can find out more about these traditions at our Website
Oldest representation of a frame drum from Chatal Huyuk, Anatolia, present day Turkey. c. 5600 BCE
This Thanksgiving I am feeling exceedingly grateful to all the ancestors who played the framedrum and all the students of today who are dedicating themselves to the framedrum and all the future framedrummers! These images are from my archive from the ancient Mediterranean world. If you have images from other cultures that I have not had a chance to research, please send to Layne@layneredmond.com
Babylonian, c. 2000 BCE
Egyptian Incense Spoon, drummer with rectangular frame drum, c. 1500BCE
Ancient Phoenician, (current day Israel/Palestine) c. 1000 BCE
Cybele, Anatolian goddess, from Greece, c. 350 BCE
Roman, 2nd c. CE
And I’m so very grateful for the support so many of you have shown for my film project,
Blessings and gratefulness, hugs and kisses, Layne
I’m working on the archive of When The Drummers Were Women, my collection of images of the drummers of the ancient Mediterranean world. Here are some new ones recently added.
Carchemish, Southeastern Anatolia, Gaziantep (province) Date 2000 BC-1000 BC Baked clay female figure with tambourine
Goddess Cybele, Found in Rome, circa 2nd century CE. Metropolitan Museum.
Dionysos decorated altar. End of the reign of Augustus, 44 - 27 BCE. From the excavations of the Roman theater. Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla, Spain.
Maenad, from the Museo Archeologico Naples, Pompeii, circa CE 79
And from c. 1970!! John Lennon, in case anyone doesn’t recognize him.
Every night of our summer retreat, July 11 - 15, I will be showing the ancient images. This will be a great retreat, please come if you can!
The Ancient Tools of the Bee Priestess
with Layne Redmond & Tommy Brunjes.
Location: The Barn At Valhalla, Chapel Hill, NC
Welcome to my new Frame Drummer Blog! Please Subscribe over in the left hand column — either RSS Feed or by Email!
You’re getting a preview of these Ten Steps which will be published early next year in Percussive Notes.
Part 2: Steps 6 - 10
6. Set a practice schedule and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what time of day you play. However, your body will respond the best if you choose the same time each day to train. I find that mornings, right after a cup of caffeine is a fantastic time to practice. Caffeine and drumming = perfect! Make your practice sessions important enough to be a sacred time slot reserved only for your drumming. BUT don’t limit your practicing to your scheduled practice sessions. Make practice “dates” with other serious frame drummers and if you find more time to play, use it. Got an extra five minutes, just grab a drum and fill it full of rhythms! And that brings us to the next step.
7. Keep your drums right near you, easily accessible. Don’t pack them away in their cases. Put one in every room you spend time in! The walls are the perfect places – just not over a heat vent or in the sun. Even if you only have five minutes, pick it up and play. I had a long hallway in one of the houses I lived in and the walls were covered with drums, it was like a tunnel of frame drums. I often stopped on my way to another room, took down a drum and played for five minutes. I listened to an interview with the comedian and serious banjo player, Steve Martin, where he talked about keeping a banjo in every room. He said if he had to walk to another room to get his banjo, he might not do it, but if it was right in sight he picked it up more often.
8. Understand where you’re really at:
If you really want to know how you’re doing, record your practice session as you play along with the metronome.
And then the next test is to video tape yourself. My karma was that almost every performance Glen Velez and I did in the early to late 80’s was video taped. I remember clearly the first time I watched myself on video. We had filmed a cable TV show. When we were playing, I thought I was grooving. When I watched it, I saw that my eyes were closed, my mouth was hanging open, I was sort of stomping my foot to keep time — I looked like Lorraine Newman playing a junkie! Well, that started an intense training of my whole body, mind and spirit playing that continues to this day. People always comment on my smile as I play and one very potent secret I discovered was that the more my mind/body smiled the more my drumming projected the essence of smiling energy towards my listeners, a true way of sweetening your audience!
8. Read Mastery by George Leonard. And then read it again and again. There’s always room to improve, and this book shows you how to approach that mentally. I reread this book every year.
THE 5 KEYS TO MASTERY, George Leonard
1. SURRENDER TO YOUR PASSION
How can I describe the kind of person who is on a path to mastery? First, I don’t think it should be so dead serious. I think you should understand the joy of it, the fun of it. Being willing to see just how far you can go is the self-surpassing quality that we human beings are stuck with. Evolution is a whole long story of mastery. It’s being real. It’s being human. It’s being who we are. – George Leonard
2. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
I started Aikido at age 47, got my first black belt at 52. In the process, I learned what this business of mastery is all about. For example, it once was thought that talent was absolutely important. The Greeks talk about this “divine spark.” That’s why you can become great. But I’ve learned that practice is the magic formula. Practice will make you good at anything you do. And here’ s one of the insights I got after I wrote the book: we are practicing all the time. – George Leonard
3. GET A GUIDE
What if you are practicing wrong? Then you get very good at doing something wrong. If we don’t get good instruction, then we don’t notice when it’s a little out of round. Surrender yourself to your teacher. That doesn’t mean you turn over your life to the teacher – you don’t want a guru. You have to keep the autonomy within yourself. You are finally the ultimate authority of your own practice. The best teachers are those who model the whole thing. They give immediate feedback, it’s generally positive, and they avoid lectures. – George Leonard
4. VISUALIZE THE OUTCOME
You want to make it real and present in the realm of your consciousness. You don’t say “I’m going to do such and such.” – it already has happened. Now, is consciousness real? It exists and it is very powerful. The idea is to have this mesh between your consciousness – your visualization – and the so-called material world. – George Leonard
5. PLAY THE EDGE
There is a human striving for self-transcendence. It’ s part of what makes us human. Wit all of our flaws we want to go a little bit further than we’ve gone before and maybe even further than anyone else has gone before. So we want to play the edge. – George Leonard
9. Dealing with distractions. You need to train yourself to stay in time even while distractions are happening around you. Often something might go wrong in a piece while you are performing or recording, but you still have to stay on your part, be aware of the other musicians you are playing with, where they are on their parts and adjust if you have to without falling out of time. Basically this comes with rehearsing and performing with other players but a young musician friend of mine, started to play out on the streets, he credits it with completely transforming his playing through developing his ability to concentrate and project musically through anything that was happening around him. And there is another way of thinking about distractions — those distracting habits that keep us from practicing and from carrying through on our projects. It is always easy to find things WE HAVE TO DO, and do those things first and hope for time to practice later. Or how easy is it to sit down at the computer and have hours disappear!
10. Exercise. If you don’t die young you are going to get old. Exercise. You won’t be able to play with the speed of a 20 – 30 something year old when you are sixty, but you can gain great mastery of your feel and the flow of your energy through your hands, out through instrument and on out into the world. If each sound is infinite and endless then every sound you make is echoing out there in the universe forever. That should make you think about every sound you make!
I have found practicing yoga and Qi Gong the best forms of exercise for maintaining overall health and particularly for keeping my hands and arms injury free. Actually drumming has become a form of qi gong for me. I’ve even worked with my teacher, Master Wei Len Huang, to help me channel the qi while I’m drumming.
And another great way to stay in shape: dance workout videos! Especially you males out there, I’m talking to you. Don’t give me this, I don’t dance, I drum. In Brazil all drummers dance. And just because you might play classical western music doesn’t mean that fully integrating your mind/body rhythmically is something perhaps beneath your serious approach to music. We all need an hour a day of aerobic exercise to keep our health. You might not think it at twenty but the older you get it becomes a necessity. Forget just getting the groove in your body, get it in your entire being. When you play you should be an expression of total rhythm. My favorites dance work out videos are Brazilian, but there are Middle Eastern, Bollywood and anything that has a killer rhythmic groove and makes you sweat. This is my favorite right now, Samba Reggae Workout with Quenia Ribeiro. It’s a bargain on Amazon and if you don’t already samba, this is the place to start — slowly with Samba Reggae from Salvador. Great live percussion band on this video. I also totally began to understand how this dance evolved from self-defense and martial arts training.
Here’s a YouTube video of her. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMSNMT8TgIM
“There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” ~Vicki Baum
Happy drummers are better drummers!
PRACTICE PLUS PATIENCE EQUALS POWER
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Part One, Steps 1 - 5
Let’s begin by getting to the root of the issue of being a drummer or percussionist or perhaps any type of musician: Repetitive Obsessive Behavior. I prefer Behavior over Disorder! But just face it, if you are a drummer you are OCD: Obsessive-Compulsive Disordered tapper on table tops and steering wheels, pots, pans and anything else that has an interesting sound. However, lucky you, drumming is the perfect channel for this syndrome. In fact you must have some shading of this within your makeup to really excel at drumming! A conventional definition of this syndrome includes: repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform. You are unable to resist them and break free. Well, just pick up your frame drum and pour it all into practicing! Let the incredible harmonic overtones of your frame drum bring you into a balanced and relaxed state. And speaking of relaxed, that brings us to the first rule.
1. Relax. Number one, figure out how to play tension free! Hah! I’ve always found that walking up to a fear stricken, tensioned out student and saying, “relax” serves to send them into total rock like paralysis. So I use the word soften. Focus on teaching your body to soften while you play.
If your fingers are cold, warm your hands and arms up before you play. I rub my hands and arms vigorously with a medicated dark roasted sesame oil, an aryuvedic yoga oil treatment, and then soak in a sink of hot water. Take a dark hand towel reserved for this purpose (sesame oil is persistent) and vigorously rub dry your arms, hands and fingers. If there’s not time for oil treatments, tackling that pile of dirty dishes works great also.
At first you’ll need to concentrate on relaxing your fingers, wrists, and arms as you play. But once you’ve accomplished that you’ll notice that perhaps your neck and shoulders, back or even your legs or hips are tense. Just know that tension, or tightness steals energy from you. When going for playing fast and clean for a long period of time you don’t want to waste energy by keeping unnecessary tension in any muscle group. When you practice for more speed or harder techniques, try for softer or easier. Your best performance will come when you are at your most relaxed. One of the ways I work at relaxing while playing is by taking long deep breaths timed to my rhythms. And of course I’m practicing with my metronome. So you want to find a comfortable length of time for your deep slow breaths, perhaps four measures breathing in (or whatever is comfortable) and then four measures breathing out. I find that doing this type of breathing while working on more complex and faster material mysteriously changes my perception of time and actually seems to make time slow down. At first you’ll have to concentrate and practice to keep the breathing going but soon it will become automatic and you will just drop into your deep breathing rhythms while you play. This is so great for many reasons – it keeps you calm, relaxed and oxygenates your body to meet the energy needs of your muscles.
One specific thing to watch out for when playing a frame drum held in your hand is: No death grip. Keep the holding hand as relaxed as possible for what it needs to do.
Olympic Gold Medalist track sprinter Carl Lewis’ coach said, “the faster you want to go, the more relaxed you have to be”. A quote from Bruce Lee on the subject of speed, “The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”
2. Professional instruction. See your teachers on a regular basis, don’t spend all your time playing with people not as advanced as you are. (Special warning for teachers!!)
If you don’t live within reach of a frame drum teacher you can:
Practice with instructional dvds.
Play along with YouTube videos, there’s tons of instructional videos for many styles of frame drumming on YouTube.
3. Practice with a metronome. I always practice with my metronome, I love it! In fact it is hard for me to practice seriously without one. A metronome is essential for many reasons, including:
A. Developing memory of tempo
B. Developing your internal pulse, which gives you the ability to keep solid time
C. Developing the ability to record in the studio to a click track. When you get called for studio work you’re going to have to nail your part first time out to make the right impression.
D. It is a great tool for measuring and improving yourself systematically.
There will be a whole upcoming blog devoted to using your metronome!
4. Sing your rhythms. This is such a powerful way of learning new rhythms. Make the rhythm into a mantra that completely captivates your conscious mind. Almost all traditional cultures teach you to sing the rhythm – if you can sing it, it won’t be long before you can play it!
5. Practice in front of a mirror. This is an incredibly powerful and somewhat magical way to improve your playing. You can notice strange ways the body is expressing tension or an out of balanced posture or tense facial expressions. If you are working with a video of a good teacher set a mirror up next to the video monitor facing you so that you can watch the video and then check your posture and technique against the posture and technique of the teacher.
Part 2 of Ten Steps Coming Soon!
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For those of you on Facebook a typical drummer doing his homework: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150301500502534