In African tradition it is said that a skilled player ’can make his djembe talk’. And this is so true. The djembe drum has as many stories to tell as the player can tell. When mastered, it becomes an extension of the body, of one’s thoughts and experiences.
Our djembe has its own story. Coming straight from Ghana, it went on a trip to New York, then Paris and then Romania. While working in the US, Adi became fascinated by the underground musical world swarming in New York subways. It’s amazing! Each corner has its own ‘subscribers’ from break-dancers to ‘jazzers’ and from freaks with all kinds of weird inventions to djembe players. This is how Adi met Jaroh, the 65 year old African brick worker who in his spare time told his stories with his djembe in the subway, for little money.
On his way to work, each day Adi was being more and more mesmerized by the sound of Jaroh’s djembe and so, one day, at the end of his performance, Adi started applauding all by himself with no one else around but him. Jaroh looked at him and waved him to come closer. This is how it all started. Adi asked if he can learn how to play on the djembe so Jaroh proposed that we would take him to one of his friends who sold original hand carved djembes in an African market in the uptown Harlem. Jaroh personally hand picked the djembe that is now very active in the Modiwo sound. Later on, Jaroh took Adi for drumming lessons in the subway. So now, Jaroh was playing, and Adi was learning. And the fee was that all the money collected when playing together would remain to Jaroh. That’s a pretty good deal! And it was quite a scenery: a black old African and a young white European playing together in a New York subway. That puts an interesting spin on things.
On the way home, Adi and the djembe made a stop in Paris where they toured the city together and stopped to play in the parks whenever it felt like a good moment. We won’t expand on the fact that they almost missed the plane to Romania and the pilot had to stop the plane in the middle of the track so that the two ramblers could be brought with an emergency airport car. Maybe we’ll do that in another post All we know so far is that both of them arrived safe and sound in Romania where they are still friends and still telling stories together. If you don’t believe, listen to The Call on our SoundCloud