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percussionist, The Netherlands
Anumadutchi: these Dutch guys create their own idiom combining upbeat
African rhythm with elegant
melodic timbila, marimba with rustling wind chimes.
Murk Jiskoot is third from the right.
After graduating as a practising percussionist in 1989 I then did various jobs like playing in chamber
music ensembles and symphonic orchestras around the Netherlands. Generally this was to perform
contemporary music, since classical music often doesnít include percussion.
You know John Cage was the first to write a piece that was solely for percussion. He also gave some
lectures at the conservatory in 1992 and we were going to perform with him in 1993, but he died and
the performance was changed to a memorial concert. Since percussion is a new musical form we often
perform the work of living composers. In that year I also performed solo concerts of contemporary
music. It was very demanding to play all the instruments -eighty of them- let alone the organisation
involved in transporting and assembling the truck load of instruments. A one and half hour concert
required 16 hours of work, and after the costs of transport I didnít have much left from my fee of
300 guilders. I put myself through this partly to compete in the International Gaudeamus Interpretors
competition hosted in the Netherlands. I reached fourth in the competition, just one short of the
finals. However I now have these pieces and instruments within my repertoire. Some were recorded
and are used as examples for students studying the music. A year of that was enough, and when I
stopped I started having children!
...I also performed in The Slagwerkgroep Den Haag (The Hague Percussion Group) which has performed
regularly for the last 20 years. The members consist of teachers and ex-students of the percussion
department. We have generally played contemporary pieces.
I was also one of a group of teachers and students that began studying West African music, after a
Ghanian drummer had given some lessons at the music conservatory. Then in 1990 we saw Doudou
NíDiaye Rose perform at the at North Sea Jazz festival
and were so inspired that we approached him
afterwards. This world renowned Senegalese master drummer performed with 36 other drummers! That
was an experience that blew our minds away. We asked how we could learn to drum like that. He
introduced us to Aly his son and said that he wanted to live in The Netherlands, so we arranged
for him to have a permanent teaching position at the conservatory. Thatís 10 years ago now:
he was our first teacher in West African music...
In 1997 we produced our first CD, Djange Doch
(meaning, First Steps in Wolof, a Senegalese language). About half of the ten tracks were
composed by myself, and half by Wim Vos. The other musicians on the CD are Tom van der Loo, Jens
Meijers, Niels van Hoorn, Aly NíDiaue Rose and Venancio Mbande.
Djange Doch is the title of the
first track which I composed and marks my first steps in the direction of a new idiom for
Anumadutchi. The samba are played in a periodic irregular beat accompanied by Aly on the
sabar along with a number of other percussion instruments.
The next track, Kelfet begins with
rhythmics created by tambourines, followed by the djembe and dunduns (African base drums - cylinders
of metal or wood over which calfskin is stretched) performed by Aly and myself with a solo on tabala
by Niels. The title refers to a wonderful colleague who, whenever it all got a bit much, would sigh:
´Quelle fête´. Playing the djembé is without question always a blast!
Ballad for Ynske, performed on two marimbas (a type of xylophone but with broader and lower
tonal range) and a vibraphone (like a xylophone of metal keys where under the keys a device that
produces vibrations of sound), was an experiment to see if what I composed on the piano would sound
good on these two instruments.
Mishka is a more funky piece dominated by the bugarabu
(an ensemble of 4 African hand drums similar in sound to the South African congas) and the bass
begins with an explosive Ghanian-type of intro on drum-set, African drums and krin (a hollowed-out
tree trunk generating in this case two different pitches), which then develops to a section on
keyboard while one of the marimbas plays a slow melody in octaves while the other two play extremely
fast rhythms in hoketus style (where one player fills the silences of the other). Then the drums
return, followed by the keyboards with a dominating bass line.
Finale ´94 is a showcase for Alyís
fine drumming as well as Venancioís on timbila. We asked these two world class musicians to combine
forces for a composition that would embody their distinct musical cultures for the RASA world music
podium concerts in Utrecht in 1994. Practically all the drums and styles of playing we have learned
from Aly and Venancio are heard on this track.
On the CD Different, produced a few months ago, the formula of western and non-western
percussion is elaborated on. In addition to marimbas, vibraphones, western and African drums,
Japanese drums are used such as the enormous O-Daiko, Chichibu-Daikos and the Shime-Daikos. These
Japanese influences are the result of working with the Dutch-based Japanese-oriented percussion group,
Circle Percussion, with whom Anumadutchi performed in two theatre productions
(Drums of the World I
and II ). We also performed the vocals in the piece A doo we composed by Wim Vos,
and the members of the Hague Youth Choir sing on two other compositions by Wim Vos. One of our plans
is to produce a whole CD of compositions for voice and percussion with the Hague Youth Choir.
We already have the music composed by Wim, but need to organise the recording as well as finance it.
So far we have funded the costs of producing our CDs ourselves. A teacher at the conservatory has a
small but international recording label, Ottavo Recordings, so people can order our CD from almost
In 1997 we also produced another CD in collaboration with Circle Percussion. This is available from
Murk Jiskoot (email email@example.com)
We perform regularly but we are not cheap and sometimes people donít realise that we have so
many costs such as transporting the instruments. We are flexible in the way we work and perform, for
concerts, or for children or for a company product launch. Depending on the commission we could
perform with up to 30 musicians...
Excerpt from Arts Dialogue, September 1999, pages 12 - 14.
Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands