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. :-)

Circles of Sound

Circles of Sound: African drumming (4 bands), dancers, DJ; Railwaymens Club, Wind St, Swansea; 8pm, Sat Nov 24th 2007

Woo. Come! Map.

Me drumming, two weekends running


Next Saturday it’s carnival time in Swansea! Once again I’ll be playing steel pans with Rocco’s Rockets, or whatever we’re called this year. Photos from last year here. This time, I’m pleased to report, I’m on bass (pleased because this is easy, it’s bassy, and I’m close to the Jamie-powered main drumkit).

A number of changes from last year: starting point, route, and ending point is different – in particular, we end up on the open area in front of the Waterfront Museum, which sounds all right to me. This probably means we go down Wind Street, which ought to be interesting.

So, come and see!

Then, the following weekend, on Saturday 1st September, Shiko are gigging in sunny Porthcawl. It’ll be in the afternoon, around 2pm, as part of some bigger event taking place (possibly some surfing thing?). There’ll be several drumming groups from the area playing, so it promises to be pretty good. More details as I have them.

Fanti for Bee Hop, 02007/07/21

Fanti djembe and dun-dun/bell patterns for Shiko gig @ Bee Hop, July 21st, 02007.

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Djelidon for Bee Hop, 02007/07/21

Djelidon djembe patterns for Shiko gig @ Bee Hop, July 21st, 02007.

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Shiko gig: Crofty Carnival, Saturday 30th July 2007

Heyup. Shiko will be drumming at Croft Carnvial this Saturday — come and see us!

Crofty is a small village on the north coast of the Gower Peninsula (map here). I’m not 100% sure of the times yet, but I think it starts around noon. I should become certain tomorrow. It’ll probably be a smallish fun affair, drumming on foot as part of a parade, apparently. As usual with Shiko gigs I’m not completely sure what to expect. :-) There is talk of heading off to Pontardullais afterwards to do some busking in pubs (it’s their carnival this Saturday too).

Shiko live! This Saturday and next Saturday!

Gig-tastic… Shiko will be drumming at 5pm this Saturday (19th May 2007), at Coffee Cesso, next to the Waterfront Museum in Swansea Marina. We’ll be playing as part of a charity fundraiser for wells in Africa, so come along, listen to some good music, and give generously! It looks like a good event – from 12 noon until 7pm it’s free (fingers crossed for good weather so we can play outside), then from 7pm to midnight it’s ticketed (a tenner each) but with some pretty good local bands, I’d say. More details here. While Shiko gigs are usually “unpredictable” in terms of timing, we’re assured that 5pm really is our slot, and it really will be 5pm not, say, 5:30. So don’t be late!

Then, the following Saturday (26th May 2007), we’ll be playing again, at the Monkey, on the wonderful Mondo world music night. Woo! Heaven only knows what time we’ll be playing at this one. :-)


A chilled night of African drumming at the Monkey

Oh, hey, the Shiko gig at the Monkey on Monday was fun. It was reeeeaaalllly quiet: probably a quarter of the people there were Shiko people, I’d say. Monday night in Swansea’s bound to be fairly quiet, I suppose, particularly outside term time, plus it was the first night of the new Wales-wide smoking-inside ban. The latter may or may not have been a factor, but it certainly made for strangely smoke-free Monkey experience.

We were there as part of an “African Rhythms” night – basically a couple of guys DJ’ing African music (not the usual Mondo boys, one of whom, Eddie, is also a Shiko’er), and us! As I said, it wasn’t massively well-attended, but that was kinda cool, because it ended up feeling less like a gig, and more like just going and playing together somewhere, but with people dancing. :-) Two people in particular: two girls who do African dancing (they were in the carnival, I remember). We’d prepared three pieces, but in the end only did two of them, and that seemed enough. Later, some random jamming occurred, which was sweet. So, all in all, very chilled, very cool, very much fun.

Kassa for Monkey, 02007/04/02

Kassa djembe patterns for Shiko gig @ Monkey Bar, April 2nd 02007.

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Yankadi/Macru for Monkey, 02007/04/02

Yankadi/Macru djembe patterns for Shiko gig @ Monkey Bar, April 2nd 02007.

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Kennefoli/Soli for Monkey, 02007/04/02

Kennefoli/Soli djembe patterns for Shiko gig @ Monkey Bar, April 2nd 02007.

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Surprise Shiko gig: Monday 2nd April, Monkey Bar

Woo. In a surprise move, Shiko will be drumming at the Monkey Bar, Swansea, on the evening of Monday 2nd April 2007. There is, apparently, some sort of African night going on, and since our beats are west African, our beats are invited. :-) Come!

Two future Shiko gigs

Sometimes people complain to me that I don’t tell them about Shiko gigs far enough in advance (typically I forget about it until the day before, or the day after). Well, let’s do something about that, and put some gigs on the long-range radar for anyone who’s interested.

First, on Saturday 19th May, there’s a benefit gig in Cafe Cesso (?) at the Waterfront Museum, Swansea Marina. This is the cafe at the edge of the museum, with a stage, etc. I think this happens in the afternoon, and there’ll be various people playing, raising money for a project installing wells in Africa. (Novel wells where the pumping is powered by a kids’ roundabout at the top, which leads me to imagine parents swinging whips and shouting “play harder!”, though I’m fairly sure that’s not the actual intent.)

Second, and muchos excitingly, on Saturday 21st July, we’ll be playing at the Bee Hop festival in Dorset, which just looks so cute you could take it home and feed it. This one I’m really looking forward to.

So there you go – no excuses, come and watch! I’m sure there’ll be more cropping up as the summer gets going, and I’ll try to do a better job of mentioning them here. There is, by the way, also a running page of upcoming Shiko stuff on the Shiko site. But anyway.

Shiko at Mumbles St David’s Day Parade 2007

Drumming in public last Saturday was super ++fun.

The “Mumbles St David’s Day Parade” turned out to be somewhat smaller than I’d expected, but was excellent, nonetheless. It consisted of a group of primary school children in a Chinese-style dragon (red, of course), Shiko drumming alongside them, and another group of primary school childen behind, dancing and holding aloft a banner (which I didn’t actually read). About 50 people in total, I guess? It was enough, anyway, and a good crowd turned out to watch us.

The dragon looked like this:

Parade dragon (thumbnail)

Pretty good, eh? There are more photos on the all new Shiko flickr space.

The parade started in the quarry car park, crossed the road to get to the sea front, went south for maybe a couple of hundred metres in front of the grassy bit, then back north along the road to the mini-roundabout, and up Newton Road past the shops and the Ostreme Centre as far as the church at the top. We should have ended up in the school grounds opposite the church, but apparently nobody knew the combination lock for the gate! There was a moment of faff before plan b, and a diversion over the road.

This was the first time I’d drummed and walked at the same time. We all had light drums, mine one of these, donated to Shiko by Abbie, sadly missed since she disappeared around the world on a yacht. Although you can’t see it, I carried it via my climbing harness & a crab, as opposed to the more traditional sling (eg Chris, on the left). I wasn’t sure how well that was going to work, but it was great! I felt very much the modern climbing djembe innovator.

So yeah, it was a lot of fun. Lots of enthusiastic spectators, bemused shoppers & Mumblians, and an interesting mix of car drivers. The downhill traffic was halted all the way down Newtown Road (the uphill side was kept clear, halted further back), and the cars contained, I’d say, a 70/30 mix of people who were lovin’ it, happy to be in the middle of this strange unexpected happening (especially if they had kids, as you can imagine), and scowling men on their own in large cars trying to get to town and Do Important Things. I took particular care to play enthusiastically at these people, and make it as clear as possible that I was having a damn good time on this gorgeous sunny day, even if they weren’t. :-)

In other news, chor and indeed tle.

Drumming on the streets of Mumbles

Last night, Shiko featuring Gimbo played a gig. Sorry I didn’t mention it sooner – I meant to, but kept forgetting. It was at a fundraiser put on by the University’s Visual Arts student society (jugglers, firebreathers, etc.), at the Chicago Rock cafe off Wind St; they’d asked us to come along and play, and so we did: and it was good. In fact, I’d say it was the best gig we’ve done since I’ve been Shiko’ing (which is, admittedly, less than a year) – quite tight and confident. Speaking personally, it was certainly the most confident I’d ever been when performing to an audience (musically at least). We weren’t playing for long, but what we did was fairly high impact, I think. (We did Kennefoli/Soli, then Kassa, for the record.)

Anyway, fair warning: on Saturday 3rd March 2007, we’ll be playing in a St David’s Day parade in Mumbles. More details than that I do not know, except that we’ll be walking and drumming simultaneously, which will be a new experience for me, at least. Should be fun – hope to see you there!

Ooh look: Shiko a few weeks ago. That’s me seated on the right…

Shiko, 13th February, 2007

(Also, awesome (but 5MB) montage of the Shiko new year party, for which I was sadly absent.)