Súle Greg Wilson, MA, has been sharing positivity with people for going on fifty years. Percussionist, educator, banjoist, and storyteller, Súle has performed on three continents, taught primary school to university, appeared at the Newport Folk Festival, on A Prairie Home Companion, stage and screen. His book, The Drummer’s Path: Moving the Spirit with Ritual and Traditional Drumming, is a college text, and the Sule System of Drumpath Rhythms: A Method for Teaching and Learning Percussion (DVD/book) is immanently online.
Born and raised in multi-cultural Washington, DC., Wilson began with The Oya African Dancers and Drummers, then with Babatunde Olatunji, Chief Bey, the International African American Ballet, the Copasetics, members of Sweet Honey in the Rock, Mamadi Keita, Cheikh Hamala Diabate, Tony Trishka, Native rocker Keith Secola, folk legends Mike Seeger and John Sebastian, and more. He studied Asian percussion at Oberlin College, and jammed at NAMM with Giovanni, Luis Conté, and Sheila E. His music graces film soundtracks, and is a founding member of the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.
PERFORMANCE: Sule is opening for our Saturday Evening Dance Party
TRAD FUNK: Post-African U.S. Body Percussion
After the Stono War, the Carolina Colony enacted the Negro Act of 1740, outlawing Blacks the use or possession of drums. Maryland, and other colonies, soon followed suit. In response to this repression, Afro- USans* developed body percussion to a high art. In this interactive workshop, we will “put on” traditional body-done rhythms of ritual, survival, and celebration, and practice the fundamentals of “American [USan] clave”. We’ll have to sing ‘em, too.
Front, Back, and Sides
This session is about learning to be aware of, and eventually master, Time, and Tone. With Time and Tone each rock solid inside you, you can never be thrown off the Pulse, no matter what’s going on outside you.
You see, in American music, we’re taught to play it straight. I remember, George Clinton once said, “Nothing is good unless you play with it.” So, in this workshop, we’re gonna play—with rhythm, time, and tone!
First, we’ll practice a well-known (but virtually unrecognized) rhythm, our very own “USan clave”. We’ll first do it with voice—to learn it, then with body—to incorporate it, then with drums—to amplify it. We’ll play with the USan clave rhythm as a crowd, then in groups, then in trios. We’ll perform it every which-a-way: on the upbeat, on the downbeat, and in between. If there’s time after that, we’ll play and experiment with starting the rhythm on each of the hand drum’s tonal triad: bass, tone, slap.
We’ll have a funky good time!