At the drum circle in Cumberland last night, there was a point when a few of us djembe players strapped on our drums and stood up to play a slammin' rhythm that had the belly dancers going crazy.
I was the only woman, but baby, I manned up.
Now, before my drumming sisters out there give me grief about this, let me say that there is, for me, something kind of masculine about soloing on a djembe. I commented to my friend Sam that I felt really macho playing with the big boys and he laughed and said he tells his women students that when they play a djembe, they have to get in touch with their masculine side.
Am I saying that a woman can't be powerful? Not at all.
I experienced this same sort of phenomenon when I played roller blade hockey with a bunch of men in their twenties. I was the only woman on the team and had an absolute blast. There was never a point when I forgot that I was a woman, but it felt great getting into it with the boys and being able to play with them that way. (Until my husband nearly elbowed my teeth out!) And then I got pregnant and that was the end of that. But for one brief summer I would strap on my skates and grab a stick and check the guys and it was a blast. I felt great playing what was traditionally a man's game, with men.
I feel the same rush when I play the drum. Djembe is an instrument that has been traditionally played by men. It is great fun to jump in and go toe to toe (or hand to hand as the case may be) with a bunch of guys with big loud drums. 'Cause I got a big loud drum, too. And baby, I am not afraid to use it.