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Wednesday, 26 October 2016 13:50

Creating community through rhythm and sound

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GRADE FIVE/ 10 YEARS OLD: When I was in Grade 5,  I auditioned/tried-out for Band. Mr. Rogel was the band teacher. I tried the trumpet — thought I would burst my eardrums.

 

I tried the flute — thought I would faint. I tried the saxophone — thought the reed scratched my tongue and I was having an allergic reaction.
With every instrument I tried to play, I began to think that “there was no way I was going to get into band and I couldn’t play anything right.”
Then Mr. Rogel passed me a pair of drumsticks (which I thought were cool and had visions of a rock and roll band in my head). He asked me to play a snare drum with the sticks. It was fun. I then played the conga drum. Next the bongos. He even had some maracas and claves from far away lands that I played.
I felt like the whole world just opened up and I was making music with all the drummers of the world.
I came home that day and told my parents that I was a “Percussionist” in band class.
It was a beautiful word and I took great pride in saying and spelling it.
I have been “officially” drumming ever since; however I think I have been making rhythm and drawn to the beat of our own drummer since I was born.
PARAMARIBO, SURINAME/ 20 SOMETHING:
In my mid-twenties I volunteered for Canadian Crossroads International.
I was living in Paramaribo, Suriname (Dutch Guyana). I worked at an orphanage as a social worker. I lived with a host family in Paramaribo city and also lived at the orphanage in the countryside.
While living there I was asking people about drumming and was very interested in learning the traditional rhythms and connecting with the drumming community.
One Sunday afternoon, there was a music festival happening in a park near the main market square. There were more than 20 drummers playing a unique drum that I have never seen before. They were singing and drumming and the women were dancing. It was beautiful. 
Shortly after this I connected with their drum leader and soon he was my teacher — Charlie.
Every Friday I would go to Charlie’s house for my lessons. He lived in a very simple home and we would play outside in his backyard, sheltered by a tin roof and scrap wood shelter.
It was one of the highlights to my week. In his limited English, the drum became the common denominator and was the communication tool between us. I remember his big laugh, his wide smile, sparkly eyes, and deep patience with me as I struggled to “get the rhythm”.
One day, when I stopped thinking... when I stopped forcing the rhythm... when I was no longer in my brain, trying to get it right .... the magic happened. I got it.
I’m not sure how long we drummed that day, but it flowed like a magical rhythm river. Even the free-range chickens running around in his back yard were dancing and pecking with delight.
THE BEAT GOES ON/ FROM MALAWI TO THE PHILIPPINES AND BACK HOME AGAIN:
In all of the lands I have lived, the drums have found me.
Every culture has used rhythm and drum in their own way for expression, connection and community.
I could tell you of the drum circle on the beaches of Lake Malawi near Nakata Bay. I could tell you of the Lumad people in the Philippines using drum in traditional ceremonies.
We are all connected to rhythm. Rhythm is the universal connector. Our heartbeats have rhythm. We walk to a beat. I have experienced first hand the power of rhythm to connect us to each other. Drumming creates deep connection, listening, expression and awareness.
The drum doesn’t make a sound until we pick it up and play it. There is no right or wrong way. There is simply you and the drum; and the infinite ways that the two of you can communicate and express together.
Add that to a circle of people drumming together and you have a dynamic community of people creating music and magic together through rhythm and drum.
Drum for well-being and personal connection. Drum to express beyond words. Drum to unite, to build bridges, to create, to be.
I invite you to drum, to celebrate the rhythm and music within and around you.
Connect to the rhythm around you and within you for your own healing and wellness.
Rhythm is an international language. You don’t need to read notes. You don’t need to count. It is an intuitive experience to feel, sense, create and express rhythm in your own way. Choose “Rhythmical Empowerment — Be the Rhythm” that feels right for you. {Tweetable}
THE INVITATION:
Join me for my DRUM 101 Course that starts Sunday, Nov. 6, be part of a collective drum circle, and be guided to connect to the rhythm within you.
Let us create community together through rhythm, sound and the beat of your own drummer.
Like what you’ve read? Desire more? Shine on with Christine – #thejoyguru. One on One Life Coaching, Counseling, Abundant Living Guidance and more is available to you. Sign up for my “Be Alive & Shine” Newsletter at www.welcometokiva.com For more tips and tools on how to live abundantly from the inside out, please visit me online or join us at KIVA (in the Carmel Mall). You are always welcome.

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