When I bought a jembe and began toting it to drum circles my kids looked worried. It wasn’t until after I began an informal jam session in the family room at the end of my daughter’s engagement party with her soon-to-be in-laws that my daughter finally broke the news, my son solemnly standing by her side for moral support.
“You know, um, Mom, there’s a certain um, stereotype, um, a certain, um, a certain kind of person who goes to drum circles.”
They thought I might be becoming a dope-smoking hippy. I giggled, lectured on stereotypes, and kept right on seeking out all the drum circles I could find, quite clean and sober.
There are dozens in the southland, but since it’s spring, this would be a great weekend to take your beat to the beach. If you’re in the Southland, take your pick of The Venice Beach Drum Circle, Hermosa Beach Community Drum Circle, Huntington Beach Drum Circle. No worries if you live elsewhere. You’ll find a complete listing of Drum Circles throughout the US, including start times, exact locations, and which events provide instruments here.
What to expect?
A drum circle, like a sub-skin tattoo beats under bones and dancing bodies mark upon sand. A soul peeks and shouts, “I am mad!” with lust for living. Spinning. My chest – beating. My drum – beating. My palms – beating. My soul – flinging. My joy – rising. Beating – my peace to palms – mine, bruised with beating the song. Still spinning – the sun. Still, stirring the still. Still – beating awake, the mute silent gawkers – still. Beating the sun – still. Setting the sun – still. Singing the song – still. Slowing the beat – still! Dark and then all – still.
A follow-up challenge, if you go:
Read Alex Wain’s “25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English,” and see how many of these non translatable expressions you experience while immersed in a drum circle. Personally, I always find #6 and #15 but I never ever encounter the feeling of #24. And that right there is the reason I return.