woensdag 19 december 2012

The video of Nils

Well, the last post was about a video that I've made for Nils Fisher. Here it is! Just 8 bars of a great percussionist and I hope you will enjoy it!

zondag 9 december 2012

Percussion promo video.

Last week a good friend of mine and a great percussion player, Nils Fischer called me. For the ones who don't know him, he was playing in Drums United with Lucas van Merwijk and a lot of other great drummers. Nils also made his own CD a few years ago with his group Timbazo. He re-arranged the beautiful music of Joe Cuba! With his group he turned the music of Joe Cuba into nice, modern timba music.
Anyway, we know each other, because we have studied at the same school and we live in the same city (Rotterdam). Actually, our kids are in the same school too!
He called me, because he needs to make video too. Nils is sponsored by Pearl (percussion and drums) and Pearl wants to make a promotional video. Most of the artists of Pearl may play 8 bars at a tempo of 108 beats per minute. Pearl will put all the video's together and it will probably be a nice film with all kind of different drum grooves and instruments! I think it is a nice idea!
Nils is also following me on my Youtube channel, so he knows my way of filming and recording. I am glad that he likes the way my video's sound and that I may record him!
The piece he is going to play will be with timbales, bongo bell, shekere and he will play on 5 congas. Knowing Nils a little bit, it will be latin with timba influences and of course a small solo. It all has to fit in 8 bars, so there's not much time..... But Nils is a very virtuous percussionist, he can put a lot in there!

For me, this is the first time that through Youtube I got a job that is different being a percussionist myself. Now I'll be a kind of director, producer! I think it will be fun to do.
When the video is done, I hope I can share the end result with you all!


donderdag 22 november 2012

Merengue lesson

Last week I had invited 2 of my good friends to make a nice lesson about merengue. I've played some merengue in my live but I am not a great specialist in this rhythm from Santo Domingo. My 2 friends, Wigbert and Alfredo have much more experience on this subject. So they came to my place to help me out!
I had prepared my living room (my wife is always very glad when I occupy the room.....) with lamps, microphones and instruments etc. It takes me 1,5 hours to prepare the room.
When my friends arrived, we have to talk a lot because we don't see each other that much. Of course we start talking about the old days and have a laugh about the things we did back in that time. But finally we start recording and for me it is a busy day. I take care of the audio and video and I have to take care that it will be a good lesson.
During the recordings I found out that Alfredo and Wigbert are still very good players, but explaining the rhythms and techniques is a different story. Wigbert has some problems with the english language and Alfredo is having difficulties with the camera.... He is looking away a lot and he is talking to Wigbert instead of the camera.
It is surprising how much effect a camera and microphone can have on people. It can take a while before you get used to recordings and get comfortable with lamps and everything around it. Of course I am a musician and not a film producer or director. So I can make people comfortable in making music, but not with video recordings......
Anyway, when we played merengue together the 3 of us were enjoying it! Now I'm editing the movie and I'm very curieus about the responce. I think a lot of my subscribers will notice what I described, but I hope that everybody will enjoy the percussion lesson. The information that we gave is still very interesting and you can surely see the joy that we have playing together!
The next time I'll invite friends for making a lesson with me, I have prepare it better. And I got a new idea for youtube!! Perhaps I'll start a new channel in which I'll just play the beautiful rhythms with friends. There are so many nice drum rhythms I would like to share with you all. No lessons, just good percussion arrangements!

vrijdag 2 november 2012

Percussion cultures

I think, it was about 30 years ago that I started to play percussion. I was playing drums in our family band and my father said to me: Michael we are playing latin music, why don't you try to play these congas? This is how it all started for me.
I went to Rotterdam to study at the Conservatory and in my first year a great Cuban master (Justo Pelladito) came to give 2 weeks lessons to us. He left us with a lot of patterns for bata, congas and other instruments. Of course me and the other students practiced all the patterns in the years after he had left.
In 1989 I went to Cuba to study with Pelladito and other masters. Pelladito told me a lot about the different rumbas. Which way did they play in Matanzas, what is the difference with Havanna, how did the rumba get in Santiago de Cuba and so on! So I thought, those tumbadores are very, very important in rumba and you have to know how every pattern is in each rumba. My focus was still on the patterns, did I have the right timing, was my sound good ect.
The funny thing was, when I attended rumba parties in the street or when I went to the Sabado de rumba, I was told that rumba was not about the patterns for the tumbadores....... It is about the songs and about the dance!! The lyrics about social or political issues and the way of dancing are the main thing in rumba! This put my conga drumming in a complete different perspective.

This experience made me wanted to travel more and more to the countries with a strong percussion culture. I still wanted to learn the patterns from all kind of rhythms, but I was also more interested in backgrounds of the rhythms.
So I travelled to Africa (Senegal, Gambia) to study sabar and boucarabou. I just wanted to find out about patterns (still) and the context. The same with Brasil, I went to Recife for maracatú and frevo, to Salvadar da Bahia to see the bloco afro's and candomblé and to Rio de Janeiro for the escolas de samba.
Traveling to those countries gave me so much more information about the historical context, social aspects, ect. of the rhythms.
Do I use all this information when I teach or when I play in bands? No, in the end I'm still teaching and playing patterns, but it gives me a good feeling to carry this extra information with me. So if people all over the world ask me questions about rhythms I teach on Youtube, I'm glad to have information about the backgrounds. Of course, I do not know everything and I am always open for more knowledge about the percussion world!

donderdag 25 oktober 2012

Percussion school

Most people that read my blog are the subscribers from my Youtube channel on which I give the online percussion classes. I probably changed the name of this channel from mdm2230 into my own name, Michael de Miranda. I'm not good at these things......... If Google comes with something new, most of the times I don't understand the consequences.
I hope I am a better teacher! Well anyway, besides the virtual world, I teach different percussion instruments in real life. I have a percussion school called: Sambalanço. This school is setup a little bit in the way of Brazilian samba schools. Students get lessons in a group, so they can hear how the complete rhythm should sound! You also get separate technique lessons and we also do performances!
For about 15 years I have given music lessons on music schools in Holland. Here you have a lot of rules that limits the way to give good lessons. And I mean for good percussion lessons. Perhaps the rules are good for violin lessons or guitar lessons, but not for percussion lessons!
For instance, I could give lessons for 1 hour with not more then 3 students....... If you want to play a rumba in a traditional cuban way, you have a problem, you need 5 persons.
In 1994 I started my own school in which I could make my own rules. Of course I had my problems too, but the people that come to my school are getting good lessons and a lot of extra's! We have made 2 CD's and 1 DVD! For amateur percussion players this is such a nice experience. It is also motivating to study for CD recordings. The possibilities to perform on different kind of stages is a nice challenge for amateurs too.
With my school we have even performed in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany on festivals! I don't think you can get this kind of experiences on a traditional music school in Holland. This is why lately a lot of private music school raised here. In this schools students are getting lessons in a traditional way, but also extra's like stages where they can perform.
In these new kind of schools pupils tend to stay longer and enjoy themselves. The schools also make use of youtube and social media, so they are very fast up to date. Of course in new schools you have good and bad teachers as well.....

By the way, if you would like to see something of my percussion school, you can find them on youtube too. The channel is called: Sambalancoles. http://www.youtube.com/user/Sambalancoles

Michael de Miranda.

donderdag 18 oktober 2012

Percussion recording microphones.

Recording percussion can be a difficult job. The range of percussion instruments is enormous! Also the volume of a percussion instrument differs a lot. An udu drum is not as loud as a repinique, for instance.
If you look on Youtube for percussion teachers, you can find a lot of good ones. Unfortunately not every teachers is able to use good microphones... Most of them use the microphone from the videocamera or worse, from the cellphone. Those microphones are an insurance for bad quality.
When I started recording at home, I used a Shure sm57 and it does a really good job. Luckely this tool is not too expensive!
After a while I wanted a better quality, because my ears also developed and I noticed that the Shure couldn't pick every sound. I needed more nuance from a microphone.
Now I work with Neumann km 184 and they deliver a great quality for most of my instruments! I even record classical guitars with it. I don't give guitar lessons, but if I could, I would use these microphones.
There are some instruments that need an other microphone. Instruments like the African djembe, which has a lot of sub low sounds, or surdo's and bass drums with lots of low pressure!
For these instruments I use a DPA 4007. This piece of tool handles the pressure easily. I have to say that it is very expensive.... The air vibrations when playing a bass tone on a djembe or an udu drum is no problem for this mike. If you have the right speakers, you can hear and feel the vibrations!
For the vocals I use Neumann TLM 103 which is a fine microphone too. Sometimes I sing Yoruba songs in my online music lessons, so I can create a complete atmosphere of a rhythm and its background. If you ever take a flight to Cuba or Brasil you will be well prepared!
Well with this good equipment I know that if my lessons on youtube don't sound good, that I am the problem and not my microphones....

woensdag 10 oktober 2012

eBook about the Cuban Rumba's!

On my youtube channel (mdm2230) I get a lot of reactions about my online music lessons. Most of them are very positive and a lot of subscribers enjoy the fact that I write down the notes. So everybody can read a long while playing the new rhythms.
For most of the percussion instruments you can use the same kind of notation, but sometimes I use a percussion instrument that needs an other kind of notation.
Before I started with the notation of latin rhythms I looked in several books to find out what notation is simple and easy to understand. There are many different kind of books and many options. If you only look at the possibilities how to write down rhythms for latin percussion congas........
Well, since there are many percussion books and since the development of media for cellphones and tablets are increasing, I've decided to make an eBook! The first book will be about Rumba's (from Cuba).
In this book I'll put of course the notations of different rumba's from Havanna, Matanzas and Santiago de Cuba. But the nice thing is that I can put video's in it too!! The video's that I'll put into it will be "play along" video's! So first you can practice a pattern and when you can play it, you can play along with a live band. I think this is great....I hope this is great when you want to learn it., don't you think?
And since you can download the to your cellphone or tablet, you can practice anywhere you want!
At this moment I am still recording, but I'll keep you informed!

Michael de Miranda. 

maandag 18 juni 2012

O Batuque Carioca

Last week somebody send me this book as a pdf-file. This book is called: O batuque Carioca. Actually, I already had this book but I lost it. So I was glad that it was send to me. Of course the request was or if could make some tutorials from this book on Youtube.
Well, this a great book with a lot of information over sambaschools in Rio. There is also much info about the Brasilian batucada instruments like, caixa, cuica, tamborim, chocalho, surdos ect. For me a great inspiration, written by excellent percussionist, Guilherme Gonçalves and Mestre Odilon Costa.
I immediately started filming a lesson. I also had a request about more caixa-patterns so I made a combination of this lesson. In the beginning this lesson looks simple, but the patterns are not that easy to play when the tempo is getting faster....
Well anyway, I will post more lessons from this book and I hope it will be enjoyed by you all!
Have fun with it!
You can find it on my channel: mdm2230
(Samba patterns for caixa/ tutorial)