It’s been a while since I’ve spent any time with an instructional book. I simply haven’t taken the time because nothing has piqued my curiosity. That was until I was introduced to a highly original and intelligent book by Gary Leach titled Beats Exotiques: Drum Grooves for Independence. Gary is a talented drummer and percussionist in the UK who, in addition to writing and teaching, plays for dance studios such as DanceEast and The Royal Ballet School’s Regional Dance Program. Leach’s diverse knowledge of styles to include cultural grooves drawing from Africa, Brazil and Cuba shines through in his work both on the stage and in the classroom. I was impressed with Leach’s skill set as a player and a writer.
Beats Exotiques is extremely well organized with Easy, Intermediate, and Advanced examples consisting of over 800 rhythms and ostinatos that Leach has collected over the last ten years. The variety of cultural grooves provides the user with such an array of examples there is something for players at every age and stage. The book also uses a custom tablature system that helps non-readers to work through the music. This consists of “colored-in” horizontal bars that are presented in a table format below the music. (We use a similar system in our own book FUNdamentals of Drumming For Kids and have found it to be a successful way to present music to those who are still learning to read.)
I really enjoyed downloading MP3 examples from the book (every-one is available). This enabled me to listen to how each groove was intended to be played. My familiarity with these cultural styles was not that solid but after spending some time with the book I began to feel more comfortable with them. I believe it made me a more well rounded player. Leach has done a tremendous amount of work with this book and it is evident that he really knows his stuff. If you are interested in learning about playing grooves from around the world get yourself a copy of Beats Exotiques: Drum Grooves for Independence.
For more information, or to purchase the book, visit: