Well it seems I am going to have to skip the Drumming Circle this month.

In an unfortunate co-incidence it falls this Friday evening, the same night as Anything Goes which is the bi-weekly spiritual discussion group I run. Hmmm. Anyway, can’t be helped. But I should tell you about the djembe tribal drumming I saw at the Parramatta spring festival last weekend.

The performers were an amalgamation of two drumming circles further out west. I believe their names were something like Hands Feet and Heart and Earth Rhythms but don’t quote me. The energy was palpable and I find myself belatedly acknowledging that I’m a techno-primitivist at heart. As much as I am drawn towards state of the art technology I feel simultaneously drawn towards cultural atavism. The more we advance the more I realize the heart of humanity is truly ancient.

Drum rhythms are well known for their trance inducing characteristics and I expect my explorations in this direction will raise the hackles of some well meaning Christians. All I say in response is that before you cast the first stone consider the phenomenological similarities of this to the buzz people get listening to repetitive fast-talking revivalist preachers and rhythmic praise choruses. Its well documented by anthropologists and psychologists so look it up. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not uncritical of the way it is used by shamans. But I respect that God has wired our minds to respond to rhythm in this way for his own good reasons. I am just seeking to rediscover what those reasons are and how I can become more attuned to them as I walk amongst others who share the same interests.

One thought on “Tribal Drumming

  1. Yea, and amen!
    I love the drums. I used to play. It’s been a long time. And I need rhythm in my life too. I need it. I think it’s about the womb. Amniotic trance. The sound of life.
    I wonder about all the different rhythms tho. I still don’t understand most African rhythms and they discombobulate me. I don’t know how to appreciate them.
    I love Indian and middle eastern rhythms. Turkish, belly dancing stuff just gets under my skin and does wonderful things.
    Pure drums are great and really offer interesting opportunities for participation that most other music does not. I can’t play a piano, and I can’t bring one with me to the beach or backpacking. But I can bring a flat drum. And I like the biggest ones with the deepest tones. There’s just something about that…
    Gotta have it.


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