Friday, June 26, 2009

On Being Re-invented...AGAIN!!!!

What does an ex-chorister do for fun when the singing is over?

No, that's not a joke. There is no punch line. Say hello to my new djembe!
This beautiful drum came from Mali, via Sidy, who teaches my drum class.

I wanted to provide the goatskin head of my drum with extra protection while toting it around in its case, so I knitted up a djembe hat from some handspun I had lying around. The color mix is quite Rastafarian. I thought so when I bought the roving from Sue a couple of years ago, and I still think so. It looks great knitted up, and I might even have enough left over to make a slouch beret for myself.
Having sung higher voice parts all my life, I decided I wanted the deepest-toned drum I could possibly get: the exact opposite of what my voice does. Deep, low, and loud. This drum is perfect in that respect.It's also a lot of drum for me to grow into. It will last me a long, long time.
Here's a close-up of the hat. I do love the way it came out.

Now, why African drumming, when I have never (up until 2 weeks ago, that is) touched a djembe before?

Well, there is a nice little drum circle in residence at my church. They don't play in church often, but they did on Pentecost, and it totally blew me away. I had been intrigued by the idea of playing myself in the recent past, but there was no time. I was too embroiled in choir. There were plenty of other excuses as well, all lined up in neat little rows. But the drums were always in the back of my mind.

Now, at last, the time is right. "Stop thinking about it. Just do it," came the message, loud and clear.

Interestingly enough, that was one of the directions Sidy gave, too, to everyone in attendance at my first meeting with the class.

So, I am trying to let go of thought as I practice alone. To feel the rhythms without over-analyzing them. There are three I am working on for this week's class, and they are not as easy as they might seem to a listening bystander. Sometimes I can drum accurately, without even looking at my hands. And sometimes I get terribly out of synch. But it will come in time. A new rhythm bit will be added for me to learn this week. Piece by piece, stroke by stroke, a whole song will emerge in time. I don't even aspire to solo. It's enough for me, now, to strive to be a competent part of the whole, and feel where I fit within the structure, and listen while Sidy takes a solo.

I love it. :-)

1 comment:

Rachel Nguyen said...

Hey Paula,

I love the photos of your drum with it's cute hat on.

And what fine drumming you were doing tonight, my friend. I could hear your drum's throaty voice singing beautifully.

Daphne was wonderful, too. I am so glad you came to the drum circle.