There is nothing like a good vacation to reduce stress, discover new places and people and embark on an adventure that can be life-changing. For drummers, percussionists and those interested in the history of drumming, a vacation can be more than a way to recharge and rejuvenate, but also a way to connect on a deeper level to a favored instrument. Drums like djembes, cajons or congas are a part of the history of exotic and stunning lands in which the development of the rhythms or the construction of the drum are told through the evolution of various cultures. Taking the time to visit these places and learn about the beliefs and values of these cultures can enrich a drummer’s skill, and enhance the experience of drumming as a whole.
DESTINATION 1 - MALI
Mali, located in Western Africa, is one of the favorite spots for vacationers seeking a historical picture of African cultures. Tours to this area include the cliff dwellings of the Dogon region, Tuareg camps, The Sahara, Timbuktu and Djenne. Mali is also credited with the invention of the Djembe, one of the most beloved drums in world percussion and drum circles.
DESTINATION 2 - Congo
Congo, Africa, is home to the second largest rainforest on Earth, wild chimpanzees, lowland gorillas and other species of wildlife. From its beautiful beaches along the Congo River to its cultural roots, the Republic of Congo is emerging as an important stop for tourists, historians and drummers. The conga drum, now a favorite in Latin music, evolved in this region.
DESTINATION 3 - PERU
The Incan Empire, while short-lived, has left an impression on the people of Peru, as well as the entire world. Peru is home to the Amazon Jungle, the Atacama Desert, the Andes mountains and the versatile Cajon drum, developed in coastal Peru by African slaves determined to circumvent the ban on indigenous drums and music. The Cajon is the byproduct of a culture that used scrap materials to continue the native music that helped them find solace during slavery, and celebrate after its abolition.
DESTINATION 4 - CUBA
Cuba is credited with the introduction of bongos to play its numerous Latin rhythms. 3,000 miles of coastline and an incredibly rich culture within its land make Cuba a fascinating and unforgettable place to visit. La Habana Vieja, or, Old Havana contains colonial-era mansions and churches. Havana's Malecon tracks across the waterfront, making it the perfect place to experience the social sights and sounds of Cuba, including local bongoceros, or musicians that play the Cuban-born bongo drums.
For the amateur drummer interested in the historical and spiritual roots of drumming, or the professional drummer who wants to experience the cultures that created a favored drum or percussion instrument, a vacation can be more than a chance to let go of the daily stresses of life. Adventuring to the lands in which favored drums first evolved can benefit the playing and vibe of a drummer, whether on a conga, bongos, djembe or cajon drum.