Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Music · They've Got the Beat
. . . .

They've Got the Beat

Kristi Kates - July 7th, 2014  

They’re not exactly professionals from Brazil, but Traverse City’s Deep Blue Water Samba School is making waves here, creating a swell of interest in South American inspired beats.

CELEBRATING DRUMS

Founded by Marc Alderman in 2011 during International Drum Month, the DBWSS started their journey at the Good Work Collective in downtown TC, with the support of Porterhouse Productions’ Sam Porter, who gave them rehearsal space and instrument rental at a reduced rate.

Alderman, who has been studying and teaching drumming for the past 15 years, used to run a recreational drumming organization called Rhythmic Adventures.

Once that project ended, he wanted to find a new way to share drumming with his community.

“I thought of upping the ante from a casual, drop-in drum circle, and wanted to form a group that was accessible, but also worked on specific rhythms week after week,” he said.

SOUTH AMERICAN STYLE

Those specific rhythms are that of samba batucada, a parade style of drumming from Brazil.

It’s what you’d hear if you went to Rio de Janeiro during the spring Carnival parades, when hundreds of drummers accompany singers and guitarists in a fast-paced, repetitive whirl of sound.

After breaking his left hand in a bad car accident, Alderman decided he’d give the sound a whirl, too.

Although primarily trained on African styles of drumming and on the djembe (hand drum), he found that playing with sticks was easier after his accident.

“This brought me to seek out a style of music that had room for the improvisation and excitement that you find in African music, but on instruments that you find in a marching band and play with sticks,” he continued. “This is how I see samba batucada: the rhythmic sensibilities of West African drumming, mixed with the instrumentation of Eurocentric marching bands.”

RHYTHM PARADE

The instruments used to play samba batucada are similar to what Westerners would recognize, but have Portuguese names.

“For example, the snare drum in the samba band is called a caixa, and bass drums are called surdos,” Alderman said.

A range of smaller percussion instruments are added to the sound, to make for one bombastic, celebratory show.

“Our performances are engaging and entertaining, with high levels of volume,” Alderman said.

“This is parade music, so it is pretty loud.”

Anywhere from eight to 16 people perform at a DBWSS event, playing caixas, surdos, tamborims (a small, flat drum that looks like a tambourine without the jingles), agogo bells, repiniques (a two-headed Brazilian drum), and shakers.

The group sets down a basic groove, punctuating it with breaks, dynamic changes, and call and response sections to get the audience involved.

“We have them clap along, play a shaker, dance, or even jump on a drum,” Alderman said.

SAMBA SMILES

The DBWSS is big on participation, and welcomes new members. Alderman said the group is great for hand drummers interested in something different, drum set players who want to add a new skill, or even marching band drummers who “want to add a little swing” to their playing.

The group hosts samba drumming classes the first and third Monday of each month at the Grand Traverse Circuit on 14th St.

“No previous experience is necessary - you just need to arrive ready to learn,” he said.

With upcoming performances at this year’s Blissfest and Traverse City’s Friday Night Live, there will be plenty of chances to see the DBWSS live.

And as the only samba drumming group in Northern Michigan, the rewards are great for those who join, he said.

“I think the group offers an opportunity for cultural exploration and expression,” he said. “It is also a positive, drug and alcohol free opportunity that anyone can get involved in.”

Those interested in participating in the Deep Blue Water Samba School can contact Marc Alderman at (231) 276-2328, email at deepbluewatersamba@gmail.com, or visit the group’s Facebook page.

 
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