Play by Kenya Masala
Book Review by Eric Stuer
Kenya's book is very accessible. His approach here is to do a lot
with simple and lightweight equipment.
This book, Rhythm Play, is a collection of over 3 dozen activities,
designed to be done with just four types of easily schleppable instruments:
egg shakers, drumsticks, Boomwhacker® plastic
tubes, and REMO Sound Shapes. This makes it very useful for those
facilitators who are in a pinch for space, or who, for one reason
or another, don't want to use full sized drums in their rhythm presentations.
He gets a ton of mileage out of simple drumsticks, an item some
facilitators steer clear of altogether.
right: Gabriela and Kenya Masala of the Source Consulting Group)
Before descriptions of the activities, there is a useful section
on the various formations a group can take to perform an activity,
such as concentric circles, one big circle, parallel lines, conglomerate,
and so on. Then there are exercises that get folks off on the correct
foot rhythmically, get them to focus together, think of the pulse,
and for right/left brain integration. Then come plentiful exercises
for the eggs, sticks, tubes, and Sound Shapes.
Throughout the book, each exercise has listed the approximate amount
of time, instrumentation, optimum group size and/or age level, challenge
level, and complete instructions with notes and variations. The
audio CD supports the book well, and the playing on the tracks is
excellent; We did want to play along..
Some of the exercises are versions of classics I have seen elsewhere,
but it is still good to read his unique descriptions. Kenya makes
extensive use of shakers, for example, and the shaker pass (also
a feature of Health Rhythms and various other trainings) is one
of the activities in this book, but Kenya has customized it, and
gives variations upon it. He notes that his version of shaker pass
is adapted from Barry Bernstein, so who knows, perhaps that is the
actual original source of the now classic shaker pass.
In Health Rhythms, they use fruit for their shaker pass. Kenya
uses eggs. "Take an egg, pass an egg" has a nice rhythm
to it, and he uses it wisely. "Egg" is highly usable in
rhythmic vocal phrases.
[grin] stu: I've got it! I'll use all banana shakers: "nanner
nanner nanner nanner" ...Nope. forget
it, Stu. You can't beat 'egg'. 'Egg' rules. "Egg, shake an
egg, shake an egg" . What onomatopoeia...even in double time:
"egg an egg an egg an egg"
He uses food well. (LOL) In one other exercise he uses foods in
the kitchen to generate vocal rhythms. This one is wonderful for
big fans of food such as myself. We have already used this one in
a Temple Texas elementary school, with good results. I ate twice
as much as usual after the gig, too. Went straight to the cafeteria..
no, SERIOUSLY, folks, this is a very well written, handy little
book, with lots of useful ideas. We do recommend
it, and we are looking forward to trying more of the activities
this coming season.. Thanks Kenya..
Stu at Rhythmweb