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The Music of Carnival: TASSA

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The Yaa Centre

1 Chippenham Mews

London

W9 2AN

United Kingdom

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Have you ever wanted to play the Tassa Drums? Now is your opportunity with the G &H Tassa Drummers. The workshop will include the history of tassa music and practical demonstrations on how to play the tassa.

Tassa drumming originates from Bhojpur in North India (Uttar Pradesh) and was brought to the Caribbean by the indentured labourers. This type of drumming is similar in sound to Dhol drums that are played by the Sikh community, except that the drums and beating sticks are of different shapes.

The drums (tayreen) are made of earthen-ware pottery (daboo) with goat skin stretched across the opening and secured with deer strings. Prior to performing, the drums need to be heated, usually by a lighted fire, but nowadays the drums apart from the bass drum are made with artificial skin and a metal base, so do not require heating.

There are probably over twenty rhythmic patterns (called hands) which are played depending on the occasion i.e. Hosay (Muslim festival), Holika or Phagwa (Holi Hindu festivals) weddings. Over the past years tassa drumming has infused an element of carnival music in its rhythm and performances are made at Trinidad carnival events.

A tassa band normally consists of four players: - The Cutter plays the highest tone drum and directs the beat changes. The Fuller or Fulay, keep time on a lower tone drum. The Dhool (bass drum) provides the heavy booming sound and is beaten on one side with a stick and on the other by the player’s hand. The Jhange or Jaal player provides s scintillating sound on a large brass hand held cymbals.


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The Yaa Centre

1 Chippenham Mews

London

W9 2AN

United Kingdom

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