I have always loved the sound of African drums. As a child I lived across the road from a very rocky koppie and on Sundays could hear the drums emanating from several African church services taking place there. It completely intrigued me.
I first heard the djembe in the early 90’s and remember vividly the excitement I felt: I knew right away that I had to acquire a djembe as soon as possible and begin learning to play this instrument. Playing West African drums resonated so powerfully in my heart everything about it screamed ‘YES!’
After I’d been playing for a few years I felt an undeniable need to share my feeling for drums with everyone and soon after I began to teach. Little did I know the immensely rewarding journey of learning and study I was about to embark on. Teaching people to play drums is one of my greatest passions. I love that moment when a student grasps a new rhythm for the very first time and drums free.
My teaching style is unique in that I use basic and logical steps to teaching djembe rhythms. Even though new drummers start out learning predominantly djembe rhythms, other West African drums and percussion is always present in the class which adds musicality to the lessons. Anybody can learn to play the drums, obviously not everybody is a natural drummer but with some regular practice you’ll be part of music making in no time.
All indigenous drums are sacred and are played at many types of rituals and ceremonies, from weddings to funerals and from harvest time to honouring various deities. My lessons always start with a ceremonial aspect. All drummers join hands and introduce themselves; this is followed by the drummers greeting each other. The last act before we start drumming is to bless the drums, the animals and trees that make up the drum, with corn and tobacco. This is how we honour drumming journey