Sometimes I close my eyes and can feel the African air and see the beautiful African skies from my 1996 visit. You’ve never seen the stars shine so brightly as they do in the African sky. No bright city lights for miles to dilute the glittering stars.
Of course I would be remiss not to tell you about the African”shopping”- no it’s not an oxymoron. With $100 cash in hand, I was a millionaire at the African markets. These artisans would work for months to carve a giraffe statue or beautiful drum. They felt like millionaires as well when the American girl would purchase their goods for a year’s worth of money. Even the highest paid of the villagers made as little as a $1 a day. They followed us around from artisan to artisan trying to get us to buy their goods. Not quite the same treatment I get here in the states!
I am still not sure how I managed to get all of the STUFF back here to the states. I consider the purchase of a beautiful carved impression of Rodin’s The Thinker my first purchase of original art. I also managed to drag home a couple of African drums. I know I gave one to a friend who enjoyed African drums while living in Paris and I think I may have lost the other.
Recently I noticed a sign promoting an African Drum Circle at my yoga studio. A taste of my beloved Africa right here in Gville. The only problem…I am not very rhythmic! But what the hey…why not give it a shot. I showed up wearing a cute little pink skirt and a red shirt that said “love”. Love- perfect theme for an African Drum Circle. The drum circles are all about equality and community. Typically, people gather to drum in drum “circles” with others from the surrounding community. The drum circle offers equality because there is no hierarchy. It includes people of all ages. Grateful Dead drummer, Mickey Hart described the circle, “The main objective is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves. To form a group consciousness. To entrain and resonate. By entrainment, I mean that a new voice, a collective voice, emerges from the group as they drum together.”
This drum circle was made of a very diverse group of folks, young and old- some who have played for years and some who were newbies like me. I don’t know what I expected…but it was defintely not the group I expected. Billy the teacher was full of energy and clearly quite passionate. He told us that as we learn the rhythm, we’ll find that rather than us playing the drum, the drum would play us. Interesting. I definitely didn’t get to that point. 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, I’ve got rhythm! I counted the whole time trying to keep up. I really wanted to watch the others in the class but every time I looked away from my drum, I totally lost the rhythm. The first 30 minutes were super fun. Then the beats got a little harder and my brain began to fatigue. It takes incredible concentration. By the end, I think I was just banging at will rather than following the group. But I loved the feeling of the rhythm and the vibe of the music.
I think it would be so much fun to know the beats. But I am not sure I have the energy or ability to go that far (note- my childhood piano teacher told my mom that she was wasting money bc I have NO musical talent!). I can definitely see how the drum would play you- like becoming one with the rhythm. I’ll spare C the experience of having to endure my drum practice!