OVERVIEW of MOZAMBIQUE
In my videos Mozambique! Vol. 1 and 2, I perform and teach the original form of the rhythm based on my research in Cuba in 1985, when I met and studied with Pello. These videos are extremely thorough and include a booklet with all patterns written in staff notation and Time Unit Box System. During instruction I count each pattern in both 8th and 16th notes and show how every pattern fits with each other and with Rumba clave, which is played in a split screen window.
The videos have received excellent reviews including 5 out of 5 in April 1998 Modern Drummer, 4.5 out of 5 in Winter 1997 Latin Percussionist, and consistent comments like "one of the best I've seen" and "one of the best on the market". The project is endorsed by Michael Spiro and Chuck Silverman.
In Volume 1 all patterns are played in 3-2 clave and the focus is on a folkloric approach. I include performances of the original rhythm in different size ensembles as well as my arrangements of Mozambique Bata and Mozambique Songo. In Volume 2 the focus is on how Mozambique is typically played in a band setting. All the patterns are played in 2-3 clave and I cover the New York style as well. The rhythm is played in various size ensembles, we dip into Mozambique in 12/8 (!!!) and perform my arrangement of "California Mozambique".
MOZAMBIQUE! Volume 1: Cuban style in 3-2 clave
The rhythm Mozambique was created by Pello el Afrokan in Havana, Cuba during the early 1960's. Although popular in Europe, Mozambique has remained obscure in the United States. California percussionist Kim Atkinson was lucky to study with Pello in Havana during 1985. In this video, Kim shows us his arrangements and gives a very clear and concise presentation of the original parts to the rhythm and their all important relationship to Rumba clave. The second half of the video is devoted to performances of Mozambique in different size ensembles and combined with Bata and Songo rhythms.
"This video not only has the capacity to teach it also has the capacity to inspire. This work is a wonderful tool for us all. "
"This is an excellent opportunity to learn the original Mozambique in a straight forward and well designed format. The material is broken down slowly and carefully, with clear explanations. Highly recommended! "
Outstanding features of Kim's presentation include:
Part 2- Performances: 4 piece ensembles, 8 piece ensemble, Mozambique/Songo, Mozambique/Bata
REVIEWS of MOZAMBIQUE Video Volume 1
West Coast percussionist and teacher Kim Atkinson's first video release, "MOZAMBIQUE Vol.1," arrives in time to restore consumer confidence in off-the-shelf learning resources. Neither a celebrity jam session nor a study of burning conga chops, this well-crafted instructional package aims to make drum students of any persuasion fluent in the language of an essential AfroCuban carnival rhythm.
Although very popular in Europe, authentic "roots" Mozambique has remained unknown in the US Thanks to cold war politics, we have heard only the "New York Mozambique" style of Eddie Palmieri and others. But the Cuban original is a whole different animal, a funky parade groove built from the bottom up with bombos (marching bass drums), bells, congas, and the ever-present clave. The rhythm's Cuban creator, Pello el Afrokan, offered Atkinson an extended tutorial in Havana some years back, so the information presented here is truly firsthand.
Chart learners will enjoy the enclosed booklet that lays out the full notation; workshop learners can key on the spoken "gn, go, pa" drum language; and players of every skill-level will appreciate the "once again --- slowly" approach to the intricate rhythmic layers. "MOZAMBIQUE, VOL.1" is presented skillfully and patiently by a veteran instructor whose guiding principle is that every learner deserves to "get it." This will be a hard act to follow, but rumor has it that "Volume 2" is already in the works."
Says Victor Rendon
The second half of the video features the MOZAMBIQUE in combination with Songo and Bata rhythms. A transcriptions booklet is included with all the parts written in both staff notation and a time-unit-box system. Perhaps the best aspect of the video is that the parts are first played individually and fully explained with the clave. The part are then played in a group making it possible for the viewer to hear what the rhythms sounds like. "
Says Michael Wall - Drummer, Producer, Organizer
The instructional opens with a 5 person combo performance, segueing into a brief section on the origin and development of the rhythm by Cuba's Pello El Afrokan. It's origin as a carnival rhythm and the factors which resulted in the original Mozambique becoming a dance craze in Europe are touched on. Kim explains that the New York style of Mozambique most people are familiar with probably originated from Eddie Palmieri's album "Mozambique"; this form will be covered in Volume 2 of the series.
It's very fortunate that Atkinson is such a meticulous and gifted teacher - there is a wealth of information and parts presented on the video. The clave, multiple bell parts, two bombo parts, and conga parts are presented clearly. In addition to the notation in the provided booklet, Kim counts out each part while playing it, in both 1/8th and 1/16th notes. He even speaks slowly through the various conga patterns using a set of drum-sound syllables. All parts are demonstrated one at a time in combination with clave, which appears in a split screen box.
It's great to have a video where the teacher breaks the more complicated patterns down into smaller chunks, and repeats each chunk - as well as the resulting whole - long enough to really understand and play along. There's none of the "4 bar demo, rewind and squint again" syndrome in this video! Atkinson is articulate and is obviously having plenty of fun playing what he describes as one of his favorite rhythms. Here's someone who knows how to teach!
In addition to the opening 5 person performance, the video includes ensemble performances of 4, 8, and 9 players, adding shekere, multiple bombo, bell and conga parts. There is obvious attention to detail in the editing, as each section of the ensemble is isolated so its' part can be clearly seen and heard in the context of the larger group performance.
The video includes performance arrangements of a Mozambique-Songo, as well as a Mozambique-Bata. There is also a three drum / one person adaptation of the conga parts. Suggestions and demonstrations for soloing in the rhythm are included.
All in all this is a really great product for anyone interested in learning more about Mozambique. You'll come away with a fantastic set of arrangement options for groups of anything from 3 people to a whole parade!
VERY highly recommended! "
Says Sule G. Wilson - Percussionist, Educator, Writer
My criteria for review are: (A) clarity of explanation/accessibility as a teaching tool, (B) depth of expertise/context, (C) professionalism of production and (D) interest/video design.
We begin with Kim Atkinson's "MOZAMBIQUE! VOLUME I". How come? It's the only conga drum video in the bunch--and I believe that U.S.ans should learn conga (an African American drum) before attempting jembe, sabar, donno or udu. Why? U.S.ans grew up with the sounds of the conga.
"MOZAMBIQUE! VOLUME I" is an excellent instructional video. Grounded in Atkinson's decades of extensive study in African and African American forms, this video is based upon Atkinson's study in Havana with Pello el Afrokan, the creator of the rhythm Mozambique. Atkinson really wants you to get this one: the video shows the drum parts--and their defining bell parts--separately and in ensemble, both up close and wide. He tells you--and shows you-- how to play it on one or multiple drums; it's even got dance steps! The accompanying booklet has the rhythm written out in graphic form and in musical notation. It describes the history and context of Mozambique, and, best of all, the musicians really enjoy what they're doing--it shows, and makes you wanna do it good, too. (A)+, (B)+, (C)+, (D)+. "
Each rhythm is clearly explained and performed at a slow tempo. Atkinson counts each rhythm out loud, both in eighth notes and sixteenth notes, and the accompanying booklet provides written versions of the rhythms using conventional notation as well as the Time Unit Box notation that was developed at UCLA as a way of notating African rhythms.
The video concludes with ensemble performances featuring various combinations of instruments, which allow the listener to hear how the different rhythmic parts combine to create the compelling Mozambique rhythm. This is an outstanding video that will go a long way toward "demystifying" these rhythms."
Says Chuck Cogliandro -- Drummer, Facilitator, Director
This is one of the clearest, most organized, and well-paced videos I've had the pleasure to watch. Kim is relaxed and natural in front of the camera. The production is absolutely professional, with comfortable lighting and the use of many cameras. Kim wears a headset mic so you can hear him clearly, and all the instruments are well balanced. The conga parts are shot over-the- shoulder, so it seems you are standing right behind him. Finally, Kim makes a great effort to acknowledge the originators and masters of this music, Pello el Afrokan and the Cubans who continue to develop this beautiful art form."
Says Sandy Blocker -- Drummer, Craftsman, Retailer
Says Dan Callis -- Halifax, Canada
Says Charles Purcell -- Sylmar, CA.
MOZAMBIQUE! Volume 2: Cuban & New York Style in 2-3 Clave
In this volume, Kim expands and continues with his extremely thorough presentation of Mozambique, the Cuban Carnaval music created by Pello el Afrokan. Here he shows how the rhythm is commonly played in a band setting, in contrast to the previous volume which showed a more folkloric style. The second half of this video is devoted to the "New York" style, played on congas and timbales, which is generally understood as Mozambique in the US
Outstanding features of Kim's presentation include:
Part 2- American Style: Timbale and Conga parts and arrangements. Performance of the style.
REVIEWS of MOZAMBIQUE Video Volume 2
Says Michael Wall - Drummer, Producer, Organizer
Mozambique Vol. 2 begins with a 4 person combo performance on surdo, bell, and three congas featuring Atkinson's tasty solos. As in the previous video, the first thing the I noticed is that these people are having FUN playing!
"Pello El Afrokan created Mozambique as Carnaval music and dance in Havana, Cuba in the early 1960's. He started with 3 congas, 2 bells, 2 bass drums, trombones, chorus and lead vocal and later added electric guitar and bass, timbales and other percussion. Pello's Mozambique was a hit in Europe in the 1960's, but has not become well known in this country. The Mozambique that is commonly known and played here is what I call New York Mozambique and has evolved in a band instrumentation of congas, timbales, bongo, clave and guiro. It was probably first developed in Eddie Palmieri's ensemble "La Perfecta" and got wide dissemination with his album "Mozambique". (From the booklet included with the video)
The first half of the approximately 1 hour video is devoted to a detailed breakdown of the Cuban version of the rhythm, in 2/3 rumba clave. The second half of the program is devoted to the New York style of Mozambique, also in 2/3, which Atkinson explains is the style most commonly used today.
Kim Atkinson is an excellent teacher, and there is a wealth of information and parts presented on the video. All the parts of each arrangement are patiently broken down and clearly explained. In addition to the detailed transcriptions (in both standard and box notation) in the accompanying booklet, Kim counts out each part while playing it, in both 1/8th and 1/16th notes. He even speaks slowly through the various conga patterns using a set of drum-sound syllables, which are explained in the booklet.
All the various parts are demonstrated in relationship to each other, with an emphasis on understanding the spots in time when the parts overlap or intersect so that the student has clear reference points. Kim also makes a point to demonstrate each part not only beginning on "1", but also on the "ponche" (or "4") where the rhythm traditionally is begun. Attention to these sorts of performance details illustrates Atkinson's desire to help us understand and better assimilate the proper feel of the rhythm.
Again, as I wrote in my review of Vol 1, it's great to have a video where the teacher breaks the more complicated patterns down into smaller chunks, and repeats each chunk - as well as the resulting whole - long enough to really understand and play along. There's none of the "4 bar demo, rewind and squint again" syndrome in this video!
Following the demonstrations of the clave, bell, conga-tumba, high conga, and two bombo parts, a full ensemble performance with 7 players (adding the shekere as well) is presented - complete with calls and breaks!
The second half of the video focuses on the "American" or New York style, and features an arrangement for timbale and cha cha bell, conga-tumba, high conga, clave and guiro. In addition, Kim presents a number of conga part variations, including a 3 drum pattern designed for a single player which creates space within the pattern for soloing.
The video closes with an exciting performance of what Kim refers to as "Mozambique, California Style" featuring Atkinson, Noah Mosgofian, David Penalosa and Cary Griffin
Mozambique Vol 2 is every bit as good as Volume One - These two videos are far and away the most thorough products available for learning about Mozambique. There's LOTS of meat, and virtually no filler! My hope is that Kim Atkinson will continue with these fine products and treat us to more videos exploring other Cuban rhythms with the same kind of detail and depth.
VERY highly recommended!"
Says Terry O'Mahoney reviewer for Percussive Notes, the journal of the Percussive Arts Society, Vol. 36, No. 5 October 1998
"Kim Atkinson demonstrates the individual percussion parts to two versions of Mozambique (the Cuban musical genre created in the 1960's) - the authentic Cuban style and what he terms the "New York style," which is commonly found in modern drumset adaptations - in this video/booklet educational package.
The Cuban Mozambique ensemble consists of cowbells, three tumbadoras (congas) and one or two bombos (Cuban bass drums) , and is often found as a marching unit during Carnaval. The "New York" style usually involves timbales, cowbell, tumbadoras, claves (and sometimes shekere) and is typified by the work of Frank Malabe and others.
Atkinson demonstrates each part, counting in cut time, 4/4 and in African onomatopoeic syllables, and the booklet shows both conventional and Time Unit Box notation - a drum tablature system used at UCLA. Several extended ensemble sections complete the video. Atkinson's delivery makes each part easy to understand, even for non percussionists in a community setting, for example. For percussionists who are interested in the roots of Mozambique and how it metamorphasized in North America, this is an excellent video."
All materials copyright 1998 PulseWave Percussion and Kim Atkinson.