King Rastafari

Many often wonder about reggae music and Rastafarians because there are so many conflicting stories regarding the issue and many times true rasta bredrin and sistren do not open up to just anyone. Many have now turned to the Internet for thier information and inspiration. I suppose you are lucky to have found the Iland drums website as if you search the web for information on Bingy drums, there are few. This is because much of that side of reggae is not found in the main stream music and most rastafarians do not offer information about it. Here, at Iland drums, I n I feel that Rasta need to bring back the drum and let Babylon feel the beat that was so intimidating back in the early days of the rasta movement in Jamaica. So to get you started in learning about rasta drums, Iland drums has provided a bit of history about the drums and bingy drumming.

This is the low down... Not His Story... Bless.

Nyahbingi music is that of a heartbeat rhythm. It is played in 4/4 time on the trinity of drums. These drums are called the Bass (thunder) drum, the Funde and the keteh (repeater). These drums are played to chant and praise Jah almighty and give thanks for the life he has offered to all.

Nyahbingi is played at a groundation ceremony that is like a gathering of bredrin and sistren (although women do not play thedrums at this ceremoney but play a shaker) for a reasoning or celebration of an event. Nyahbingi is also the basics of reggae music played today. It the heartbeat of the music. Lloyd Brevett, Bassplayer of the Skatalites (an early ska and reggae band from Jamaica and the first to create the music in todays form) said once in an interview that the heartbeat is so powerfull that once at a concert, the band was playing and the music was so intense that a lady dropped in the middle of the dance floor with a heart attack! She couldnt take the beat, Brevette said her heart was weak and couldnt compete!

The Drums:

Thunder: This is the bottom of the bingi ensemble; there are rarely more than two thunder players at a gathering. It is a typical looking double-headed bass drum, played with a mallet. an open tone on “1” and a dampened stroke on “3”. Occasionally, the thunder player will syncopate the rhythm.

Funde: The funde is actually the middle drum used in Nyahbingi; it
maintains the dominant heartbeat rhythm as the
funde player makes steady, dampened strokes on “1&”
…“3&”; it is thus dually known as the heartbeat and
has the least improvisational role but one of the most important to carrying the feel of the music and vibe. The Funde player must have a steady rythem to continue keeping the heartbeat of the music playing..

Repeater: The repeater, or keteh, is the smallest and highest
pitched drum. It is somewhat of a single stretched out
congo. The drummer tends to play around “2 e & a”
and “4 e & a”, with a syncopated, rather than a
backbeat feel. These beats are important to the overall
feel of the Nyahbingi rhythm, but the repeater has a
very improvisational role in bingi because it is seen as
the carrier of spirit and fire of the music.

Shaka: The shekere, which is commonly found throughout
Africa, the Caribbean Latin America, has a place in
Nyahbingi. The shekere player has a somewhat flexible role: He/she has been known to play on “1”, “1&”, “1” and “3” or “1&”…“3&” [The following should be noted regarding the curious nomenclature of this instrument—Perhaps the word is a simple corruption of the proper pronunciation; and there is the possibility that it is a more calculated allusion to the Zulu word for fire, shaka.

Ras Michael - early Bingy Elder
Elder Ras Pidow
Because so many people all over the world love reggae music and so many have embraced Rastafari, I n I realized that it is now that Rasta bredrin and Sistren need to come to-gather and bring back the basic funde - mentals of Rastafari and the movement. Too often I hear of drum circles and hippy gatherings where drums are used - most being Djembe drums from Africa. I n I want to take things back to early times - Incient Times - Kingly Times...
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