The African heartbeat

Tack Tack Tack…Tack Tack!

Now, I haven’t done any research on the matter, but I think it’s safe to assume that everybody that was raised surrounded by Latin American or Caribbean music has heard those simple five clicks at least ones in their life.

That sequence of five clicks, a permanent fixture in music of the African Diaspora, is known as the clave.

The Clave

As simple and insignificant as these five clicks may sound to some, they are far from that. Just like that mighty indispensable “thu Doom… thu Doom” beat that stands at the center of the human system throughout our life, the clave forms the core of the musical arrangement, one that all other elements in the arrangement reference to.

The clave can clearly be heard in this Surinamese prayer to Mamaisa/Mama Aisa, the Earth Goddess, or Asase as our Ashanti ancestors call this deity

I once saw this quote about little things with big impact; “…the tiny matchstick has the potential of putting the entire forest on fire! Little things do carry heavy potentials!” *. That proverb definitely holds true in this case. I wonder if Ayanyinka, Akuba or Azubuike realized the potential of their matchstick, the “Tack Tack Tack…Tack Tack!” beat that, hundreds and hundreds of years after its inception in (West) Africa, is still beating life into music everyday.

The clave in modern Nigerian music
The clave in my favorite Arabic song at the 01:11 mark

* = quote by Israelmore Ayivor, Daily Drive 365,source http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/little-things

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