Be part of a community at Tuesday hand-drumming classes

By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW
Join musician and music therapist Paul Roberts for a free hand-drumming class at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Tuesday, March 13, at noon.
The class offers a welcoming environment that encourages fun, creativity, playfulness and connecting with others.
It’s market day in Nigeria. The women have picked their vegetables and are carrying them in baskets on their head. As they walk along a path in a line, they sing a harvest song.
“Ba-ba-la goom-ba-la, ha-goom-ba-la, ha-vee-say
“Oh, na-na, na-na, ha-vee-say
“Babala Goombala” is a call-and-response song that works well with improvised rhythms. It’s one of the indigenous songs from world cultures we sing in drumming class.
In Africa, where the degree of social cohesion in communities is usually very strong, participation in group musical activities is emphasized as an important form of community experience.
“Drumming, music, singing and dancing have always played a significant role in our village life,” writes Babatunde Olatunji in his autobiography, “The Beat of My Drum.” “When a child is born there is a celebration to welcome the child into the world, and especially into the community. When there is a significant project in the community, there is music and dancing and singing to get people in the mood. When one takes the giant step of getting married, there is drumming and dancing and singing.
“The drum plays a central role in the life of the community. It is one of the first things that all children in the village learn about. They, too, in their own little world, beat on pots and pans, beginning their musical career just like that, by mimicking what they have seen adults do.”
The name for the African drum, djembe, means “come together.” Olatunji’s description of music in African villages exemplifies how participatory music can be a magnetizing form of social support. There is increasing awareness among scientists and health care professionals that social support is exceptionally important for maintaining good physical and mental health. Social support can be defined as support accessible to an individual through social ties to other individuals, groups and the larger community.
Nonverbal communication in a music group provides a unique opportunity for social support. Through drumming, singing and body percussion, participants in the Pagosa drumming class contribute to a group experience, creating a sense of community. Even someone who has never played a musical instrument can immediately participate in this joyful form of communication and feel part of the group. Active music-making deserves consideration as a healthy lifestyle choice. Drumming brings everybody together. Come on in, the rhythm’s fine.
For more information about the Pagosa hand-drumming class, email or call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.

This story was posted on March 11, 2018.