Selected Atabaques Rum-Drum Solos in Candomblé Ketu Music: Adaptations for Jazz Percussion Vocabulary



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This research is focused on adaptations between Afro-Brazilian atabaque percussion, language performed in Candomblé music, and the drum set commonly used in Jazz styles. Candomblé is an Afro-diasporic religion developed in Brazil by African communities. In their ceremonies, the deities known as Orixás are worshiped. The Orixás are archetypes that represent natural elements, as well as certain aspects of society and individual life. Its ceremonies influenced contemporary Brazilian popular music, which in turn, influenced Brazilian-Jazz styles like Samba-Jazz and Bossa Nova, genres present in the Jazz repertoire. The atabaque drums played in Candomblé rituals provide musical support to these ceremonies. The rum drum, the leading drum in the liturgical context of the Candomblé Ketu ceremonies, is used as a primary source to build drum-set solos. The drum set solos are based on transcriptions taken from the rum drum solos performed by Italossy Alexandro and Alisson de Souza, both atabaque performers from the Brazilian Candomblé community “Ilê Àse Oyá Orìrí''. In addition, this research points out musical challenges, embodied in a series of exercises focused on percussion timbres and limb coordination. This dissertation is centered on specific Candomblé percussion repertoire, limiting the research on specific “toques”. The “toque” means a specific structure composed of different rhythm layers where the rum drum, the lowest drum, improvises over fixed patterns. The fixed patterns are played by the rumpí drum, the medium pitched drum, and the lé drum, the highest pitched drum. The gā, an ago-go bell, plays the foundational rhythmic cells known as timelines or claves. The timelines constitute the basic rhythmic structures of Afro-diasporic ensembles, including the Candomblé percussion ensemble. The toques studied in this dissertation are hamunha, lagunló, agueré, daró, and ijexá. Keywords: Candomblé, Ketu, Drum Set, Jazz Drums, Atabaques, Rum, Rumpí, Lé.