Posts by Month: August 2016

Dembadon II

the Djembefola

Dave KobrenskiArtwork Aug 26 2016

This drawing is part two of the Dembadon series. The Dembadon is a pre-marriage festival for the bride-to-be that is quite common in Conakry, Guinea, accompanied by much drumming, singing, and dance. The djembe is the drum played with bare hands that typically plays the “solos” that interact with and speak to the dancers. A djembefola is “one who makes the djembe speak.” Behind the djembe player in this drawing is also the dununba player. The djembes are always accompanied by three “dunun” drums (the bass drums played with a stick and that have a bell mounted on top). The dununba is the largest and deepest of the three dunun drums. This post is a part of my “Drawing on Culture: West Africa” series, made possible by support from my awesome patrons on Patreon! Learn more about how you can support my ongoing work here, with pledges as little as $1. Every amount helps greatly! Dembadon II: the Djembefola 19x24” pencil on bristol by Dave Kobrenski

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Drawing on Culture

Rediscovering my Muse in Africa

Dave KobrenskiArtwork Aug 12 2016

In 2001 I first ventured onto the African continent as a wide-eyed white kid from New Hampshire who had, by a series of strange twists of fate, become very much involved in the music and culture of sub-Saharan Africa. Little did I know that this would only be the beginning of a larger adventure…

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Dembadon I

the Sangbanfola

Dave KobrenskiArtwork Aug 10 2016

This drawing is part one of the Dembadon series. The Dembadon is a pre-marriage festival for the bride-to-be, and is quite common in Conakry, Guinea. The festival features much drumming, singing, and dance. At the Dembadon, the bride-to-be is honored, and it is a time for her to celebrate with friends and family, and, in some cases, say goodbye to them as she goes to start her new life with her new family. In this drawing (part one of a three-part series), I’ve depicted the sangban player at a Dembadon festival. “Sangban” is the name of middle of three drums in the set of dununs (bass drums), and sangbanfola means “one who makes the sangban speak” — and is a generally compliment to the abilities and competence of the player! In the capital city of Conakry, Dembadon festivals are an important part of how musicians earn an income playing traditional music. The musicians are fed before the event in a communal meal, and during the festivities, money is thrown to (or placed on!) the drummers and dancers, and is collected at the end of the festival to be split up equally by the musicians. Usually lasting several hours, the festivities are led by the exuberant singing of the griottes, accompanied by the full ensemble of drummers (djembe, dununba, sangban, and kenkeni drums). The music played during the Dembadon is usually in the family of Soli rhythms, but nowadays it is quite common to also hear rhythms in the dununba family — the dance of the strong men — and danced by everyone! This post is a part of my “Drawing on Culture: West Africa” series, made possible by support from my awesome patrons on Patreon! Learn more about how you can support my ongoing work here, with pledges as little as $1. Every amount helps greatly! Dembadon I: the Sangbanfola 19x24” pencil on bristol by Dave Kobrenski

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