Rizzi Rhythm School

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The Ghana Notebooks

My studies in Ghanaian drumming over the past 20 years has resulted in my main body of work, The Ghana Notebooks, which is a series of notebooks, each dedicated to a particular rhythm or style from Ghana and now elsewhere.

Unlike other world drumming texts, the master drum rhythms are presented here in actual drum language, which is the most traditional method, using only syllables to represent drum sounds instead of music notation. Each notebook contains all the information that I have compiled from various sources for that style, including its history and origins, meaning, forms/versions, master drum parts, support parts, songs, variations, dance and costuming. In addition to the rhythm notebooks, the Rizzi Rhythm Songbook contains over 200 traditional songs from Ghana, Guinea, Brazil, Cuba, and Peru. Each notebook includes audio recordings in which I have recorded and/or compiled all musical examples discussed to provide proper interpretation of the rhythms and songs, and with some notebooks a video of the dance is also provided.

These notebooks represent years of deep cultural information shared with me by my teachers. They are not for sale but are available as a resource to my students. 







Fume Fume




Gota, ToKwe & Kpatsa

Cuba/ Brazil

Rizzi Rhythm Songbook

Sample pages from the Atsiagbekor Notebook





Field recording: learning an Adzogbo song and its meaning in Ghana

Recording and interview by one of my teachers, Robert Levin. Listen for the native birds and drums in the background.

This is just one of over 200 songs in the Rizzi Rhythm Songbook.

Nonye ga vulo
Adzogbo song

The Agbekor Ritual Passage above, performed by the Rippowam African Drum & Dance Group.