Drum chal­lenge sparks a new in­ter­est

Re­porter has a taste of African hand drum­ming as part of this year’s se­ries.

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE -

If you’ve never heard of African hand drum­ming, I rec­om­mend you hear it now.

But though the mu­sic sounds amaz­ing on­line, it’s some­thing else to lis­ten to it live.

African hand drum­ming in­volves the mu­si­cian us­ing their bare hands to hit a djembe, a ropetuned skin-cov­ered gob­let drum.

By hit­ting the drum with your hands in a num­ber of po­si­tions, you can make a num­ber of rhythms.

The djembe is usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied by a dun­dun, a trio of African drums played with a stick.

I went down to Cre­ative Waikato on a Tues­day evening for an in­tro­duc­tory les­son with Nathan Breg­men, di­rec­tor of African drum­ming Waikato.

He will be tak­ing a six-week African drum­ming course and this class was a free taster for those cu­ri­ous about the unique form of mu­sic.

I was lucky enough to have a les­son with Breg­men be­fore the class started, which was use­ful, as I was shak­ing so much I thought I’d drop the djembe.

But when african drum­ming be­gin­ners filled the room for the les­son, it wasn’t daunt­ing. The fact that you all play to­gether means no one no­tices or minds if you mess it up.

Breg­men was an ex­cel­lent teacher, talk­ing us through the bass, bass, tone, tone, slap slap. I had a smile on my face the whole time.

Breg­men has played the drums for 21 years and the djembe for nine. He has been teach­ing african drum­ming for three years.

He was taught by Jimi Dale in Auck­land and thought play­ing the djembe would be a part-time thing, some­thing he could in­cor­po­rate into his drum­ming.

But Breg­men said he fell in love with the in­stru­ment in it’s own right, and it isn’t hard to see why.

Af­ter one les­son I was al­ready want­ing to learn more. At work the next day I wanted to drum the rhythm out on my desk. In fact, I en­joyed my­self so much that I’ve signed onto the six-week course.

It starts at 6pm, Fe­bru­ary 14, held at Cre­ative Waikato, 131 Alexan­dra St. Con­tact Nathan on 021 1567712 or nbreg­men@gmail.com to in­quire. I’ll see you there.

Re­porter Kel­ley Tantau and African Drum­ming Waikato di­rec­tor Nathan Breg­men.

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