The place I have been dropping in for classes also offers a drum circle on the 4th Saturday of the month.
Last night I checked it out.
Drum circles, in general, are a completely different vibe from classes. It is a sort of free flowing thing where someone starts a rhythm and as you feel drawn to, you jump in. At Free Spirit, in Warren, the atmosphere is very subdued. The lights are dim, there is a ton of incense. The space is intimate and quiet, with candles set up in a sort of altar in the middle of the floor. There is a good selection of drums to borrow, but of course, I brought mine.
I would say, at this point, that there are definitely things I like about playing in a drum circle. It is wonderful practice to just relax and let myself find a rhythm. I worked several of my African rhythms in and it was a lot of fun to see how they could fit into someone else's starting point. It was great to play for long periods, too. At one point the rhythm was very fast and hard and I was playing fast and hard, too, for quite a long time. It was good and sweaty. This morning, in fact, I woke up sore! I also liked that at one point I felt comfortable trying a little solo action and I think it worked just fine. I also tried playing one of the Sounou parts on the duns and that was a fun (and very different) experience.
What I don't like about drumming circles is that there seems to be very little interaction between the players. Especially at the one last night, everyone pretty much spaces out to their own thing. Their eyes are closed and they are off in their own worlds. The sounds played together, but there was no interaction between us, which is a HUGE contrast to what it is like to play in a class with my African teacher. In Africa, the drums are all about bringing people together. With Sidy, we are smiling and nodding and grooving together in the class and totally having a ball with each other. I admit that I really missed that aspect of playing last night. I felt very solitary, even in a room with 9 or 10 other people. I wonder if it is partly because I am new to the group?
In any case, at the end of the evening, I was glad I got a chance to play and will likely go back next month.
Check out the website for more info-
4th Saturday of the month
8pm to 1am
See you there!