Margaret Dean (Teacher), Alfriston School
African Drumming Comes to All Saints
The Brownies, Beavers and Cubs had a night to remember! On Monday 23rd January All Saints’ Church Hall was alive with the sound of African Drumming. Each child and adult present was taught to play an African drum. The beat from 40 drums played in unison led by Somesh De Swardt, a South African, from Drum Jam Ltd was a sight and sound to be held. It must have been enough to frighten off the foxes in the vicarage garden! Over 2 hours we were put through our paces, starting with a much-needed warm up as drumming is both physically and mentally demanding. Somesh had us doing an African Rain Dance and none of the adults or children was spared – despite one of the cubs asking if they had to dance! Next we were given different size discs which we beat with batons. Each size had a different pitch/tone. We were beginning to get the feel of African rhythm. We played in rounds each group having a different beat. Then we were introduced to the drums themselves. I never realised before that the best way to play is to tip the drum slightly forward (it changes the pitch) and hold it between your knees thus allowing your hands free to drum. There are two ways to beat the drum and once we had mastered these, we were in business. Despite never playing before, we all (40 of us) managed to keep to the beat and play in unison various different rhythms’s although we were not so hot at finishing at the same time! It was great fun. The evening ended with the introduction of various percussion instruments. We all sat in a circle two deep. The inner circle had the three main drums – including the bass drum on which I had to keep the beat. Everyone else followed! The rest had different drums, bells, wood blocks, maracas and we all played when brought in by Somesh. The sound was awesome and the volume incredible – my ears took half an hour to recover but it was worth it. Then the drums were put back in their cases and loaded on to the van and everyone went home on a high. I am sure this will not the last time we invite Drum Jam!
Claire Shirley, Brown Owl
25th (All Saints) Fulham Brownie Pack