For me, drumming came into my life at a time when I needed it most. I had always played music and loved the spirit of creating music together as a community. And I missed that in my life. My experience with djembe was limited, I had played in some drum circles casually, yet didn't fully have the knowledge of the djembe that I wanted to have.
At this time, I was introduced to a local instructor who was just beginning group classes and so I jumped right in. I fell in love immediately, as I knew I would. The community, the creativity, the rhythm! Making music again was a blast! Not to mention, learning how to properly play my djembe, learning its history, the traditional rhythms, all about the origins of West African culture. All of it! At the time that I began taking lessons, I was a new mother, in a new city, in a very unhealthy marriage. Playing with and interacting with, what turned out to be a group of predominantly women drummers helped me transform my life in a way that I did not expect.
After our group had become skilled at several different rhythms, we went on to play out in the community. We were invited, and in some cases, even HIRED to play our drums all around Austin. It was amazing! We played Farmers Markets, private parties, grand openings, we even played a wedding! In addition to the joy of playing, we had a opportunity to share this music with all kinds of folks, many of which had never been exposed to hand drumming or global music at all. It was fabulous. I continued to drum with these amazing ladies as I went through my divorce and moved on to rebuild my life -happier, stronger, more empowered and full of the rhythms.
I learned so much from these women, from their experiences and stories. They held me up and supported me through the music; they encouraged my passions and welcomed me into this sisterhood of rhythm that I continue to be a part of almost 7 years later. I am so grateful for the journey that enabled us to create such a wonderfully supportive community of drummers and women forever joined by the power of the rhythms.
As for my drum, I'm currently playing on a rope-tuned djembe from Senegal that my brother's friend made for him years ago. I am in the market for a new drum though, as I'm passing mine on to my 8 year old son who has recently begun taking lessons. Not to mention, it fits him better size-wise :-) I've been drooling over a few drums on the x8 site....so beautiful!! I love that you have the video clips so we can hear how they sound too!
Thank you for your insight, Suzanne! Drummers, tell us why YOU love drumming and drum circles! We'd love to share your story, too!