Drums have long been connected with a history or spiritual and religious ceremony. They have also been used by many tribal communities for communication and celebration. However, when people think about such ancient events, men get the credit for these drumming ceremonies. The truth is, many of these ceremonies centered on goddess religions and were celebrated by women through the art of drumming.
The ancient Romans and the ancient Egyptians both had high priestesses that held high religious power within the community. It’s no surprise that these women often used drums in spiritual rituals, especially frame drums. Today, there still exist many religious images from these ancient worlds depicting the use of drums, exclusively by women drummers. These women were revered in the community and even thought of as goddesses themselves communicating through the use of drums.
These same drums were decorated with lotuses or dots in the center, representing the compacted power of the universe before the “first sound.” Many of the drums were also painted red, the color of blood, in reference to the divine nature of motherhood and childbirth. Considering the drum in the ancient world was a symbol of the power of women as creators and the source of life, male drummers are more of a new (albeit prevalent) concept in the world.
Although many girls and women have been told that drumming is a masculine activity that may not be for them, females are increasing their numbers throughout music and drumming communities and professions. With annual contests like, “Hit Like a Girl,” and modern drumming icons such as Sheila E. and Meg White, women and girls are returning to the earth-beat of drums in all genres of music.
For women who were told that girls couldn’t be drummers, the inspiration can be found in the stories of ancient civilizations, or even in today’s internet-soaked culture that allows us all to express ourselves, regardless of gender. So, ladies (and gentlemen), pick up some sticks, grab a djembe or rock your cajon - let's all keep that rhythm going strong!.
Have you been inspired by a female drummer? Let us know in the comments below!