Shango’s Funkiness

Paul Dolden

Shango’s Funkiness has been performed in Montréal…

The Orisha pantheon is a collection of spirits or deities that reflect various manifestations of God in the Yoruba (Nigerian) spiritual or religious system. This religion has found its way throughout Central and South America. Shango, the king of the Orisha pantheon, was actually a deified warrior king who once ruled over the city state of Oyo in West Africa.

Shango was known as a drummer and a dancer. The drum represented unity but was also used as a call to attention, with the ability to awaken the planet. Shango lead a full red-blooded life of sex, drugs and new music. His drumming and dancing caused extreme outbreaks of funkiness wherever perpetrated. Shango liked animals, particularly dogs, and his special number was six.

Six leads to a particularly flexible meter because of the endless sub-divisions of two and three. I have always noticed the influence of these West African rhythms in South American music. My own design of multifarious cross rhythms, polyrhythms, and variable tempos will hopefully bring an outbreak of Shango funkiness to our own time.


Shango’s Funkiness — 2nd movement of Music of Another Present Era — was realized in 2014 at the composer’s studio in Val-Morin (Québec) and premiered on April 3, 2014 at the Électrochoc 6 concert in the Studio multimédia of Conservatoire de Montréal (Québec). The piece was commissioned by Réseaux des arts médiatiques, with support from the CCA.


  • April 3, 2014, Électrochoc 2013-14: Électrochoc 6: Paul Dolden, Studio multimédia — Conservatoire, Montréal (Québec)


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