Yesterday in the late afternoon a neighbour was hosting a drum circle in her back yard. Knowing a little about this neighbour and the people she drums with I think it’s safe to assume each drummer had his/her own hand drum or percussion gear – so there was probably no sharing of tools, and with a drum circle social distancing should not be a problem.
Drumming may be the safest way to connect around group sound-making for some time. As we know, voices and instruments that you blow into are still considered risky. But drumming! No aerosols to worry about there, and mask-wearing will not get in the way of the experience too much.
Historically and culturally, drumming ties the human experience together as very little else can do. Shapes and forms of drums show a great variety – from the singing drums and tabla of India to the incredible taiko drums of Japan to the many variations of hand drums with their roots in Africa to the frame drums of the First Nations people of North America. Viking, Greek, Arabic, Aztec, Inca, Celts, Maori – globally, from the inception of human experience and communication, people were stretching animal skins over hollow logs and beating on them.
So maybe at this unique point of human history, with a pandemic re-writing the rules of community and the unifying cry that All Lives Matter – music is taking us back to its roots. To our roots. To the start, where, whatever your skin colour or cultural history, rhythm is in your blood and THAT’s where we begin again.
I encourage you to join in a drum circle if you get the opportunity. It is energising, hypnotising, joy-filled, meditative connection in sound. Expression in community without having to say a word, and a way to share an embrace from a safe social distance.
Happy Summer, Friends.