When it comes to drum circles, banging the bongos or shaking a shekere provides hours of entertainment and fun for listeners and participants. The freedom in drum circles encourages complex rhythms, improvisation and the coordination of percussion instruments to create an original sound that can take over the imagination and transport the drummers into more receptive and creative states of mind. Many times, these rhythms move beyond the instruments, taking hold of the participants and propelling them into a tapping of toes, clapping of hands, or an expression of rhythm through rhythm, drumming and even dance.
Drum circle participation is not limited to playing an instrument with the hands alone. Instrumental jewelry, such as ankle bells or foot rattles worn by dancers and other drummers add an extra dimension to the music, from harmonious tones to the expression of rhythm in dance. This jewelry is commonly seen in belly dance, Indian or other folk dance styles, marking rhythm and complex foot work with light jingles from bells and coins. These bells, beads and other implements of luxurious design are not only visually appealing, but allow for a different tone within the music and a different feel for the circle as it evolves from improvised rhythms into a full-body festival of music and song. Plus, the visual impact of these dancers within the circle can increase the fun and entertainment of the drum circle exponentially.
Instrumental jewelry can also be used to draw out the less confident or shy members of the drum circle. First time participants may enjoy the ability to contribute to the drumming with a slight tap of the foot that calls little attention to them. Worn outside the circle, ankle bells and foot rattles can even hint about the place that drumming and drum circles holds in a person’s life.
Drumming and drum circles are a chance for people to express a unique connection to music and rhythm. From the Djembe soloist to the dancers dripping in ghungroos, the rhythms and songs of the circles can encourage hours of fun, creativity, living and dancing in the moment.