Drumming group delights dozens with a West African drumming demonstration
The One Beat at a Time drumming circle led an informative discussion on West African drumming music at Aiken’s Unitarian Universalist Church Saturday.
The group’s lively demonstration not only taught participants how to play the West African drumming music but also gave them a better understanding on the culture and symbolism surrounding their songs.
Over 30 people learned how to play with traditional African drums, also known as Djembe, and how to harmonize with one another with virtually lyric-less songs.
The rhythms the band demonstrated are from West New Guinea and were passed down from the “masters of Mandinka.” Some songs have introductions that tell stories or symbolize traditional life events.
Drumming, said drumming instructor Julie Evonna, is not something one can really do in a solo setting, but as group.
“Drumming is a connection of us all,” said Evonna. “To create the music, everyone has to be playing harmoniously. They have to be in sync.”
Traditional drumming itself is a “testosterone-driven” activity primarily played by men due to the amount of stamina playing takes, especially when some songs can last up to two hours long.