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Alex | Aju


Uploaded .

Caveat emptor: I did absolutely none of the drumming in this piece.


My friend Kokou “Alex” Yemey delighted me with another visit this evening. He played “Aju” - all 5 tracks from memory (“I’ve heard it since I was a child”).

“Aju” is a name without implicit meaning, referring specifically to this pattern. West African, and specific to voodoo harvest ceremony held in the fall of each year, this song is publicly played every night from around 4-8pm for 1 month, after the harvest, in thanksgiving, by an animist tribe. It’s an ancient, traditional pattern. It is considered to be “classical”: the beats are well known and not to be altered. As far as Alex & I know, “Aju” has not been recorded before.

Traditionally, this pattern is performed by an all male percussion ensemble, to an all female dance squad. During the month of this celebration, the female dancers are confined to a fortified compound every night, and they speak in a special language that is used only during this month.

I had considered submitting this to Ramen Music, as it is indeed a treasure, but Alex did not feel that “Aju” was his to sell.

Rick Phillips's avatar
Rick Phillips said

So sorry to hear of Alex's passing, God bless him and his family, Play on Alex, Aloha

Norm's avatar
Norm said

RIP Alex. I am so happy I could share this with the world while you were with us. Hey world, when you evolve enough to appreciate this, enjoy!

b3nny's avatar
b3nny said

this is good, i really like the timing of all these nice percussions. i was tilting the whole time.

Johnny Stone's avatar
Johnny Stone said

Great beat nice one. And thanks for your recent comment.

Movement To Contact's avatar
Movement To Contact said

Drum Man!

Klarion's avatar
Klarion said

As for playing with it, I would say, listen to the shaker. It's keeping a steady beat most of the time.

Klarion's avatar
Klarion said

thanks for sharing this. It's great and also educational :)

vaisvil's avatar
vaisvil said

This is so complex rhythmically that I don't know *how* to play along. I'm not sure if one should - it stands on its own - wow. This is a lesson here. Please send Alex my regards for his skill and sharing his cultural heritage.

launched's avatar
launched said

Yes, I'm loving these great pieces from Alex - Fantastic! The recording quality has been excellent along the way as well.

corbinSound's avatar
corbinSound said

Rythmic genius

Reefwalker's avatar
Reefwalker said

I really love these, well recorded also,. BTW, I cant believe you didnt keep one of the kitchen cabinets on the drum room- those sounded awesome

Wildgeas Music's avatar
Wildgeas Music said

Spirited playing. A lesson learned for me.

Alister Flint's avatar
Alister Flint said

amazing playing! and when closing the eyes, it transports you there right way.. excellent drums!

Movement To Contact's avatar
Movement To Contact said

Very cool!

kavin.'s avatar
kavin. said

This is great that he played this with the "tape" running! Can I use this? I would not alter it, as you mentioned it shoud'nt be.

Tharek Ali Mokbul's avatar
Tharek Ali Mokbul said

SWEET!!!!! This are some Awesome Beats!

Guest said

Wow, sharp shooting voodoo! What a treat! Thanks for sharing!

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