Shiko rhythms, 27th July 2010

This post is mainly of interest to fellow drummers.

As Boyd is away for the next couple of weeks, and we’ve got performances at Drum Camp Wales coming up, and as I happened to have my laptop with me at Tuesday’s practice – here’s a round-up of what we’ve been up to, complete with some audio. The audio’s fairly poor quality (no fancy mic), but you can hear what’s going on, so hopefully it’s useful. (If you only want the audio, you can access it all here.) This is mainly focussed on the djembe parts — sorry, dundun players!

We’re currently working on 3 rhythms: Shiko, Dibon, and Lekoulee. On Tuesday we were practicing Shiko and Dibon.

Rhythm: Shiko

I didn’t record any audio for Shiko, and couldn’t find the patterns online on our site or on the Djansa site or Paul Nas’ West African Percussion Pages — if anyone knows where they are, let me know and I’ll put a link here.

Having said that, I’ve had a go at notating them myself (but might have got them wrong!) — and they all have nice simple mnemonics which are probably enough anyway:

  • Shiko part 1: B---B-T- “Chips, fish and chips”.
  • Shiko, part 2: T-T-B-B-T-T-BB-- “I like crisps and I like chocolate”.
  • Shiko, part 3: T-TT-TT-S-SS-SS- “This is how it goes, this is how it goes” (tones first time, slaps second time).

Rhythm: Dibon

Dibon comes in 2 parts, Dibon-1 and Dibon-2. Dibon-1 has 2 parts, whereas Dibon-2 has only one.

  • Dibon-1, part 1: TTSS--S-TTSSB-S- link; audio.
  • Dibon-1, part 2: S--SS-TTS-BSS-TT link (but note we’ve added a cheeky bass); audio.
  • Dibon-2, only part: SSTTs--B where s indicates a muted slap (hold down the previous tone); note that we start with the bass, on the previous beat — the link should make it clear. I use the mnemonic “I’m gonna play some bass” (where “I’m” is on the bass, and “bass” is on that muted slap, weirdly); audio.


We have 4 breaks; I don’t have notation for any of them, but I do have audio. They are:

  • Intro break: Boyd call, response x 1, Boyd call, response x 3; short-call, flam, short-call, flam; audio.
  • Beer break: “I want some beer (4 times, alternating between djembes & dunduns), Want Some Now!”; audio.
  • Deniz’ break: “BTBT BTBT BTBT clapclap foom!” (but clap silently); audio.
  • Gra’s break: the head-mashing one; audio.


I think I have audio for the dunduns playing (all together) both Dibon-1 and Dibon-2 — but I might have got that wrong.

Putting Shiko and Dibon together

This is the sequence we were practicing on Tuesday; audio.

Intro Break
Beer break
Beer break
Call (Boyd only)
Deniz’ break
Gra’s break
Gra’s break
Then on a call maybe jump back to the first Dibon-1, or stop, or have a cup of tea, or something.


If anyone fancies looking ahead, since we need to practice this over the next couple of weeks too, here’s Lekoulee. :-)