Teaching Notes

Waraya is a track by Salif Keita that was produced by Joe Zawinul. It features a strong 6/8 feel typical of much West African music. I love playing the track at the start of the lesson and asking students to find the pulse. What happens on this track is akin to those optical illusions where through a trick of the mind two entirely images can be seen depending on one's perspective. 

West African 6/8 feels have a strong 3/4 overtone and as most people who have grown up in Western music have been saturated with duple meters they tend to here the 3/4 overtone unless there is an implicit 6/8 pulse dominating the track. Waraya is interesting because as the track open we hear quarter note hats (implying 3/4) but as the track progresses the dotted quarter not kick drum gets louder and louder until the 6/8 feel is undeniable. 

Today I spent a decent amount of time working through Waraya and associated metronome exercises to open students up to compound time and other divisions of the beat. 

Waraya Transcription

Bembe exercises

Triplet displacement

8 Divisions of the Beat


PW FarrellComment