Testimonial from Vicky Jassey

My name is Vicky Jassey I have been involved in teaching and playing percussion since 1993. I have produced various groups involving percussion including; theatre, cabaret, circus and street performance. I studied in West Africa and Australia but always felt my knowledge was limited and wanted to expand my skills.

In 2003 a colleague introduced me to a class in Bata lead by Ravin Jayassuria. I nearly gave up the class as I found it such a challenge but I was supported enough to begin what I felt was my first step to understanding rhythm properly.

The classes ran over two years and in that time we learnt a completed section of Bata study called the Oru Cantado. I also attended his weekend workshops in Afro Cuban drumming. Finally I joined the Roots Of Cuba 4 which I will complete in November 2006.

I have learnt so many things but some key points that I have particularly enjoyed are; learning new rhythm vocabulary, techniques, being introduced to new styles, new drums, new songs and finally meeting other drummers. I enjoyed being taught from different angles; notation, oral and repetitions. With ROC I felt an important part of progress was being in a drumming space for such an intense period of time creating a sense of trust and support within the group.

I am a slow learner and so have found all the classes challenging but they have always been structured in such away I have managed to process information at a later date, either by taking away notation, recordings or getting together with others on the course.

Over the last three years I have had to stand up to many challenges the biggest was learning how to learn especially in an area I thought I new a lot about. Without a doubt if not for the gentle reassurance, clarity and experience of Ravin’s teaching I would not have had the courage to continue with my learning. As a result of my study’s with OVM I have started my own research and study into Cuban Folkloric drumming and songs and have visited Cuba three times.

I have been teaching hand drumming in Primary Schools in Hackney for the past 7 years. In the past three years since starting my studies with Ravin my quality of teaching has improved. This I can quantify from the quality of performances and individual development, feed back from colleagues and high attendants records.

I have gone from teaching in two schools to four and have been funded to for the last three years to run a rhythm Summer School in Hackney for children aged 8 -11. I also produced a percussive outdoor theatre show which last year toured all summer. Most of the material in the show came from what I had learnt over the last three years.

The most important development for me is I am now a confidant musician with an understanding of my strength and weaknesses. I now have the ability, contacts and material to continual my professional development independently. This has improved my quality of life as a professional musician.

The full impact of what OVM has generated I’m sure can not yet be seen. As former students of OVM pass on their skills I have no doubt in the near future that OVM will be seriously taken notice of within the UK percussion movement.
Vicky Jassey, London – 2005

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