Rock ‘N’ Jazz Clinic

Bembe-Inspired Half-Time Shuffles

10 Ways to Add an Afro-Cuban Inflection

by Andy Shoniker

The original inspiration for these patterns came courtesy of Brady Blade’s wonderful groove on the tune “So Damn Lucky” from Dave Matthews’ 2003 solo album, Some Devil (see Example 1), and the parts have roots in traditional rhythms found in Afro-Caribbean bembe music. Each example gets progressively more involved in the snare and bass drum. Take the patterns slowly, and always make sure to settle into a groove. Once you have the mechanics down, try changing the hi-hat to 8th notes.
Bembe-Inspired Half-Time Shuffles 1Bembe-Inspired Half-Time Shuffles 2Andy Shoniker is a professional musician living in Toronto. He’s a graduate of Berklee College of Music and endorses SJC drums, Paiste cymbals, Vater drumsticks, and Evans drumheads. He is also the creator of the Rhythm Trainer app. For more information, visit