The Beat

This week I went out of my comfort zone a bit and joined a drum circle (when in Africa). I took my place in the circle, totally inexperienced, and nervously glanced at my fellow drummers. They smiled at me, amused, the curious white girl, and started hammering out a beat.

Watching their fast hands, I tried to follow along. Bom, bom, pat. A little rusty at first (drumming quietly so they couldn’t hear my irregular beat), but I picked it up watching their hands and started pounding it it out on my drum, hitting the middle, tapping the sides. My hands sting, my mind wonders, arms ache, this is kind of hard, but to keep the beat you must pay attention. “See? It’s natural,” says the leader. I laugh, “maybe for you!!”

Our drum circle grows and I catch the more complex beats quickly. A dog trots in with something in his mouth. Piece of trash or dead bird? I lose the beat again. Focus. A girl starts dancing in the middle. Drumming is almost meditative, like running. You have to find your flow and just go with it- let it take you. A Rasta walks in with a fancy drum and shows us all up. I pick up his beat and he gives me his drum- his beautiful, brand new drum he just made. I can feel my face turning fifty shades of red.

Theres an intimacy in music. When you are playing with someone and you make eye contact, it’s like a special bond, an intense connection holding you in that moment together. The Rasta looked into my eyes as we played together and I resisted the urge to look down, or look away. My hands throb, sting, but don’t stop moving. I’m in it. We play for hours. I feel the beat, the vibrations of the drum, my hands move fast, instintivly.

So, I love drumming! I didn’t even know. Every time I try something new I learn a little more about myself.

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