Kim Atkinson, "Mozambique, Vol. 1," Video, TL-15640.30
Review: Instructional Video Review
by Michael Wall
Instructional Video Review
Mozambique! Top Secret, Vol. 1
Reviewed by Michael Wall
Kim Atkinson's new video, Mozambique!, Vol 1, has a quote on the cover from Michael Spiro which tells it like it is: "This is an excellent opportunity to learn the original Mozambique in a straightforward and well designed format. The material is broken down slowly and carefully, with clear explanations. Highly recommended!"
The instructional opens with a five person combo performance, segueing into a brief section on the origin and development of the rhythm by Cuba's Pello El Afrokan. It's origin as a carnival rhythm and the factors which resulted in the original Mozambique becoming a dance craze in Europe are touched upon. Kim explains that the New York style of Mozambique most people are familiar with probably originated from Eddie Palmieri's album Mozambique; this form will be covered in Volume Two of the series.
It's very fortunate that Atkinson is such a meticulous and gifted teacher - there is a wealth of information and parts presented on the video. The clave, multiple bell parts, two bombo parts, and conga parts are presented clearly. In addition to the notation in the provided booklet, Kim counts out each part while playing it, in both 1/8th and 1/16th notes. He even speaks slowly through the various conga patterns using a set of drum-sound syllables. All parts are demonstrated one at a time in combination with clave, which appears in a split screen box.
It's great to have a video where the teacher breaks the more complicated patterns down into smaller chunks, and repeats each chunk - as well as the resulting whole - long enough to really understand and play along. There's none of the "four-bar demo, rewind and squint again" syndrome in this video! Atkinson is articulate and is obviously having plenty of fun playing what he describes as one of his favorite rhythms. Here's someone who knows how to teach!
In addition to the opening five person performance, the video includes ensemble performances of four, eight, and nine players, adding shekere, multiple bombo, bell and conga parts. There is obvious attention to detail in the editing, as each section of the ensemble is isolated so itís part can be clearly seen and heard in the context of the larger group performance.
The video includes performance arrangements of a Mozambique-Songo, as well as a Mozambique-Bata. There is also a three drum one-person adaptation of the conga parts. Suggestions and demonstrations for soloing in the rhythm are included.
All in all, this is a really great product for anyone interested in learning more about Mozambique. You'll come away with a fantastic set of arrangement options for groups of anything from three people to a whole parade! Very highly recommended!