The Spirit of the Digital Djembé’

composed by


performed by

Michel Waisvisz on The Hands, Djembé and LiSa


Frank Baldé on Faderboard and LiSa

and computer operator

premiere: July 1997 Nagoya, Japan

Technical research and development: STEIM and the Institute of Sonology

Financial support LiSa instruments: Prins Bernhard Fonds Amsterdam


After inventing the hands about than 12 years ago - and since than having played them during hundreds of concerts in many different countries and circumstances I felt the need to look back. Not with a nostalgic eye but with an exploring ear. As a physical reference for, and against, The Hands I choose one of the oldest instruments in the world and started learning to play it: the Djembé - the Tam Tam, the talking drum from Africa -.

Both the Djembé and the Hands are in a cultural sense coming from telecommunications industries: the Djembe from the talking drum tradition to communicate between villages in Africa and The Hands from electronic telecommunication technology, covering greater distances. Both gradualiy also have been developed for musical purposes.

Playing both instruments during one concert infers a controversial awareness of historical versus phenomenological presence in the players mind.

Another notable fact is that the acoustic sound qualities of the Djembe acoustically enrich the electronic sounds in a way electronics cannot enrich the sound of the Djembé.

That’s how 'technologies’ communicate (!)

This piece is labeled as ‘Tam Tam - The Spirit of the Digital Djembé’ as a sincere dedication to the fact that we can seriously doubt whether a digital Djembé has a spirit at all.

Not to speak about how baylonic many people behave these days while having at their disposal this vast amount of new instruments for communication , numerous communication- and art theories and the urge to ‘communicate’ endlessly about the need for communication.

Luckily music is from a another world; it can't be trapped in words

‘Hit the phone Jack !’