Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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On Djembes and Darbukas

Baby djembeLast year about this time I acquired a small djembe, a type of West African hand drum. I also have a darbuka, another kind of drum from the Middle East and North Africa. I have been messing around with these drums for quite a while, playing with other musicians on an informal basis since I really don’t know what I’m doing.  I taught myself some basic rhythms by watching YouTube videos and live percussionaists.

A few days ago the cords that bind my djembe began to unravel, and I needed to find someone to repair it. This brought me to a store in a neighboring community that specializes in these types of drums. I never knew such a place existed– it is filled with all manner of hand percussion instruments and provides a place for the drumming community to gather, play and dance.

Besides getting my drum repaired, I had the opportunity to learn more about drumming from the people who work there. Since I have never taken a drumming lesson in my life, I already suspected that I had a lot to learn. But I had no idea just how much I did not know. For example, i learned that one does not usually play a djembe in the same way as one would plays a darbuka— different cultures, different rhythms, different ways of playing the instruments. They were polite about it though.

When I returned home, I enthusiastically started googling the topic of drums and eventually fell into a study of the therapeutic effects of drumming. Apparently, there is evidence that supports beneficial effects ranging from stress reduction to improving compromised immunity systems.  There are social benefits as well.  People do not become closer through their electronic devices and social media;  they become closer by gathering over food, talk, music and dance.

You can see what I mean here:

Daily Post prompt: “Enthusiasm”