Move on the Downbeat

Written by an a student at Banjo Camp

I never realized that in hula you move on the downbeat.  But you do, and it’s helped me rhythmically unbelievably!! The cross-pollination has been really valuable.  I also  do rhythm with Blind Willie to loosen up, and then work with Liza Jane.  I now see how important it is only to have a few tunes……

 ….But I’ve really made a lot of progress since I’ve started taking hula.  (I get out of hula class, walk in the door, and grab the banjo.)  And it I practice hula at home, to Hawaii’an music, and it’s a great warm-up too before banjo practice, but the problem is that it engages my Polynesian rhythmic sense, and I need to reorient myself after I pick up the banjo–but once the reorientation of where to come in has been fixed, it is a very loose flow of energy.

It is unbelievable to me that these two instruments that exerted such a primal pull in my life–the ipu, a gourd instrument and the banjo, a gourd instrument–also have a downbeat rhythm connection, and that their origins were in warm, tribal geographies.



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