DRUMSPEAK: Off to a great start!
One of the great gifts of drumming together in a group is the building of community, through shared interaction in a common activity. In working with the kids in the DRUMSPEAK project, I have discovered that there are already very strong neighbourhood bonds between them. The fifteen or so kids who come to drum each Thursday are involved in several activities together throughout the week, as part of the community programming available through the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre. This is a definite plus in the sense that they are very comfortable and clearly care about each other. My challenge is to channel that connection so that it includes myself and the drum rhythms we are working on together.
Our first few weeks have been spent learning some of the drum patterns found in Kpanlogo, a recreational piece of music from Ghana that involves hand drums, iron bells, gourd rattles and lots of singing. The kids range in age from 6-12 and are able to participate at their individual skill levels, since this music accommodates several parts of varying difficulties. There are some family groupings which is also great, as the siblings help each other out as well, not only in the music but in the setting-up and packing up of the space we use. One of the most rewarding elements of our sessions has turned out to be the singing. These kids can sing! Ghanaian singing is energetic, passionate and free and the DRUMSPEAK participants are embracing those characteristics fully, and in the Ga language! Looking forward to working on some new layers of patterns as well as starting our creative rhythms in the next sessions.
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