Darbouka and bongos videos

Darbouka and bongos videos





Simon has recorded some live darbouka and bongos video clips. You can watch these new videos by clicking on his drums and percussion playlist.

The videos were recorded at Les Studios de la Filature, Périgueux, France. The drums for the Moroccan rhythm videos were recorded at Simon’s Tarboush Studios in Meknès, Morocco.


There are 2 themes to these videos. The first one is that of Moroccan 6/8 and 12/8 rhythms.


Video Theme 1: Moroccan 6/8 and 12/8 rhythms.


These rhythms are particular to a lot of North African counties and especially Morocco. Many of Morocco’s rhythms are built around the ones on the videos or are simply variations of them.

These beats appear simple but once you try to play them or understand them, you realise that things are not what they seem. In Western rhythms we mainly put the kick/ bass drum or “dum” sound on the beat and at the beginning and middle of the rhythmic cycle (think practically any rock/pop/ funk rhythm). The snare drum or higher pitched “tac” hits are also on the beat and alternate nicely with the kick drum. As a result, these rhythms are grounded and have an obvious starting and finishing point.

The Moroccan rhythms are the opposite. The kick is off-beat or syncopated/ “up in the air” as are the snare drum hits. In fact, a lot of time there are NO hits, kick or snare on the beat, all on them are up in the air. This completely reverses the feel of the rhythm and takes a lot of getting used to.

But, the killer point is that the Moroccans feel these rhythms as if everything is on the beat. So you have a spicy, syncopated, up-in-the-air rhythmic structure that you are supposed to feel like a grounded, juggernaut of a rhythm.

To put things into perspective I would like to quote the guitarist Justin Adams when talking about how the Moroccan people feel such complex rhythms and what the equivalent in a Western society would be, ” It’s as if English people all suddenly started playing high level sudoku, all of them as a nation”.

To listen to some of these rhythms in action click here for the “Haleshla” album.





Video theme 2: Middle Eastern rhythms

Again, there are separate videos of both darbouka and bongos takes. The backing track is one Simon recorded a few years as for an audio track with darbouka (aka tabla) as the solo drum. This track runs through a typical structure for working with a belly dancer, including solo phrases over the maqsum rhythm at the end of the track.

Like Western beats, Middle Eastern rhythms are very grounded and put the “dum” sounds firmly on the beat. However, Middle Eastern rhythms have their own specific “dum” and “tac” structures. The art of playing and improvising around these rhythms is to be able to respect this structure while soloing around them.

To listen to the original darbouka/ tabla solo for belly dance click here.



Don’t forget that to watch the videos click here by clicking on Simon’s drums and percussion playlist.