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 Forming an Arabic drumming group- Part 2

Now that we have our core group members, a place to rehearse, a gig coming up (and lets not forget the 57’ Chevy’ with flames down the side as the band cruiser!) we will need some repertoire.

There are many ways of going about this: Some of the drummers may already have learnt material through drumming workshops. If it’s fine by their teachers then you could incorporate some of that. You could also sit down for a few hours and work out some compositions from your favourite Arabic drumming CD’s such as Harem, Passion of Percussion or Sabla Tolo by Hossam Ramzy.  

Soon to be released on this site are drum solos and compositions for ensembles. These will be available through the tutorial videos on the site in the member’s area and you will be more than welcome to use them at your performances.

I have written the solo’s to be played and enjoyed by as many drummers as possible and by all different levels.

Note: be sure to credit me when you go live on the BBC!

There are also some fantastic ideas for drumming ensembles in the e-book mentioned earlier: ‘Percussion of the Arabic World and beyond.’

Feel free to have a listen to a couple of the sound files taken from the e-book and you will get the idea.

One thing to keep in the back of your mind whilst creating your first ‘set list’ is originality. Do you want to sound like every other drumming group that played before you? Or could you take the music to a new and fresh place?

By now I’m sure you have heard many ‘run of the mill’ darbuka solos or fills.

Try and avoid some of these so people don’t roll their eyes every time you play. Let’s remember that many of the people in your audience will have been to lots of Hafla’s (Middle Eastern dance parties) and other belly dance nights and would really appreciate something unique.

Now that you have taken everything I just said as gospel and applied it to your playing, we are now ready for the gig! 

Here are a few Do’s and more importantly, Don’ts to consider:


·        Wear something smart: Look great, play great!

·        Bring a strap so you can rove with your drum

·        Bring a spare darbuka skin and tuning key just incase

·        Arrive early to set up chairs, stage, microphones, lights etc

·        Smile and get lost in the moment, this is as good as it gets.

·        Make sure you get paid for your efforts


·        Dress up like Aladdin, its so unnecessary 

·        Forget you are part of a group and not the superstar!

·        Play for free just because you are starting out (The money you earn could buy your group a Davul)

·        Forget to love every minute of it.

After playing your first show with your new supergroup life will never be the same! You will now be a gig addict craving your next performance in front of even more people and on an even bigger stage.

This is why musicians put up with the struggle of ‘life as a starving performer’ and keep on doing what they do for so long. It’s a fantastic way to connect and inspire people as well as promote the power of music!


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