Drumming in the New Year: re-membering what strengthens our souls
You cannot relive a moment that has passed but you can recall its vitality and bank its emotive strength as both inspiration and reference.
Drumming is an act of re-creation that is both inspired and referential. We came into the world as living souls with the drumming heartbeat of our mothers resounding in our preternatural ears and resonating in our cells as our bodies formed in the womb. When we began drumming with Three Rivers Jenbe Ensemble in 1999, it was a way of centering and fixing identity that was based on strengthening families and growing children with the understanding that they were beautiful, creative, and meant to be free. The jenbe and dunun were symbols of that freedom and instruments for their creativity. Now, of course, TRJE has grown into TRIAAC but identity and family extension remain at the institute’s core, and the primary symbol and instrument for liberating cultural expression here at TRIAAC remains the drum.
When Afrikans were brought to the Americas our language, musical instrumentation, sense of time, rhythm and movement came with us. In these new places in the Americas we fashioned the drums we had left behind, and soon our captors grew wise to our communication. In many places throughout Americas slaveocracy they outlawed our playing of the drum, and in some instances even made its playing a legal prohibition. Playing the drum was both a form of communication and a marker of resistance to oppression.
We play the drum today with the echo of the past resounding in our beings, understanding that in our hands is an instrument for revitalizing the human spirit, and calling a people mentally vanquished back to themselves. This is a time for recalling people back to themselves from the clutches of the plutarchy who have seized our national vitality.
Drumming is a community action that opens possibilities of communication and action. Join us…