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Lou. Lou. We'd all like to welcome you to grassroots a program of music of the
people of Maryland I have to say now dance from Colombia as well as Maryland. This program is dedicated to the music. That makes up our every day life. When we came to this country there are many many of us from many different places and for a while we thought that we had to try to become alike. Now during the recent days we found really that there's more value in trying to cherish the differences that we have to look back in to where we came from and to know better where we can all go together enjoying the different cultures that we came from they will now develop. One of the nicest organizations in our area that is helping us to do this is a group of people down in Columbia called the new thing. They're dedicated specially to Afro-American dance and music and the visual arts as well.
And I guess you'd have to say the head of this group he's the leader is topper Karu and I'd like to make him welcome and he'll kind of give you more insight as to what the new thing is all about proper. Thank you very much might like to tell you just a little about our organization. The new thing is a community cultural organization based in the District of Columbia got approximately 16 full time artist 40 apprentices and 250 students who've been involved in music for some time given that one of our primary purposes is to give all due respect and honor to not only African culture but Afro American culture. And over the past five years we've produced approximately 250 concerts that's in Washington a Third World Film Festival. A blues festival that happens to be the first Blues Festival produced by blacks in this country and a whole other range of
activities including sixteen hundred hours of radio time with one approximately 45 film awards in the past two years every conceivable graphic design award that you won in the metropolitan Washington area the story goes on and on but it's a community organization and one of its primary first focuses as I mentioned before is music. And today we'd like to let you take a closer look at that music and come to understand some of the cultural significance relative to that. So to begin. I'd like to introduce some members of the African heritage dances who will be supported by some of the finest percussion is from the Washington area all of whom have achieved national recognition. I'll introduce them later and they'll begin to give you some insight as to what poly rhythmic patterns are about and how much of the rhythms that you hear today in the commercial industry
have been influenced by African percussion at this point I'd like to introduce though the African heritage dances. That was the arrogance dances from Washington D.C..
Those dances were part of a much larger troupe that's performed up and down the East Coast at major universities as far south as Fisk University in Nashville. I think their dance exemplifies what we talk about when we talk about objecting a more positive image of Africa and Africa is much more than Tarzan swinging through the jungle on a vine or a jungle gym swimming some crocodile infested river. It's much more positive experience than that. They try to demonstrate that through their dance the some I'd like to continue by introducing a world renowned singer. His work certainly does not go unnoticed. His music reflects the traditional the more traditional music of our community. What we refer to as blues in the new thing is had a continuing interest in blues and that
we have accumulated approximately 10 miles of Blues film footage which as far as we know is the largest collection of Blues film footage in the world Someday we hope that'll rest as an archive and also a very large collection of quadraphonic blues tapes as well as having produced a blues festival in 1970 this point I'd like to introduce is John Jackson losing. I'll let you know. Thank you. Thank you very much Bruce Jackson John Jackson John Jackson a very fine singer.
Very strong guitar. Now I'd like to introduce our percussive ensemble which will begin to demonstrate some poly rhythms. As you know the Jerome has been the root of all music and you can see how it's influenced the world you can also understand the power of it comes from Africa and has since spread around the world. This point I'd like to introduce Barnett we I'm so cool and should use the other percussionist and they will give us some insight into poly rhythms and some of the influences that African African percussion has had on Afro American music and Western music in general. Barnett wins.
First I would like to introduce Tony Duncanson who plays Tim and Eric who plays traps every other kind of drum imagine a very good discussion and I would like to introduce you to the drum verse by starting with an original African drum which is called The Game bait which is from West Africa which is made out of the one piece of which is carved out of a special kind of wood this is a very high pitched drum and usually has a goat skin and it usually follows the dramas over the dancers movements and the usually doesn't a few steps of the dancers. Then we have the whole melee over there look at me using three sets of these very large one in the intermediate size and then a very small one. And they use these in a battery of
drums to carry various kinds of rhythms and have different tones one is a low tone and one is a high tone playing with usually with sticks. Then you have you associated instruments. Which you which you you have the cowbell was labeled as. And this is a Latin type which is usually found in the Latin countries Cuba South America. Then you have the West African with a forged bill made out of some kind of steel which is made like this and then you have a gong which has two bellows joined together which looks similar to this. Then you have the modern rock just switch shaped like this an African version is a gourd with beads on it and you also have boards with beads in them also in Africa. Then you have the tambourine just the tambourine
is another name for Tam drum in Africa which was made in this country and you had different kinds of bales of bones. You have in your Latin type of drum of Afro-Cuban type of Gudrun you you call one the high pitch drone the key to the highest sound you call disc and then you have the intermediate sound which is called conga and then you had the tune which is the low sound of these drums used Toyota last together formulate various kinds of rhythm in rhythm forms and rhythm patterns we are going to try to explain and also try to play some for use and rhythm patterns like to turn it over to talk Tony Duncanson now so that he can explain to you some
various forms of poly rhythm and probably rhythm and it's usually the first I like to explain to you the the sound that you get out of the drum. This is called the heel of the bass the very low hits the song in the open tone sound. And the solo pop sound very shrill sound is called a solo in Reason is called Solo is usually used when you come above the rhythm to accentuate whatever's happening at the time. The name for this drum is also a membrane a phone because you have a membrane stretched across a hollow opening a hollow log. This is placed together by a blue these are slats pressed together and acted rather forms which we call a membrane of foam. And the drum is a basic instrument. All instruments stem from the drum.
Now I'd like to introduce you to Tony Duncan soon who will explain to you some of the concepts of poly written in plain. Thank you one at first of all I should say that Paul the rhythm is a nothing more than different temples put together to form one solid rhythm. Now in every battery of drums and every battery of drummers you have specific the role that each drum takes. Now the lower drum will take what we call our basic line with them which would be similar to your bass guitar or your bass instruments in an orchestra. Then we have our into media dramas carry what we call our second or our complimentary rhythm and then we have our solo drum which would carry the solo or the melodic patterns within the drum. Now we put these three sources together along with us sociate instruments we have an ensemble or battery and therefore we can
form various poly rhythms. I think the easiest way to show you those would be to play them. And now we will use different tempos and.
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Grass Roots
Producing Organization
Maryland Public Television
Contributing Organization
Maryland Public Television (Owings Mills, Maryland)
Public Broadcasting Service Program NOLA
AMCR 000113
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Episode Description
#3: New Thing
Broadcast Date
Created Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Copyright Holder: MPT
Producing Organization: Maryland Public Television
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Maryland Public Television
Identifier: 35147.0 (MPT)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Master
Duration: 01:00:00?
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Chicago: “Grass Roots,” 1980-06-17, Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 8, 2023,
MLA: “Grass Roots.” 1980-06-17. Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 8, 2023. <>.
APA: Grass Roots. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from