Grade 10 African Drumming

Mibu Tako and Diya Asawa

On Thursday, the 22nd of October, the loud pounding of West African Djembe drums ooded out of the sportshall and across the Marymount campus. We sat in the sportshall, our Djembe drums tilted to the front and held rmly between our knees. Our hands were pink from practising all day, but there were smiles beneath our masks and our eyes remained glued to the surface of our drums.

At 8:30 am, we eagerly led into the sportshall and took our seats. At the front of the room, a trio of musicians from Senegal introduced themselves and we began drumming right away by learning about the three main sounds of the drum: the bass, the tone, and the slap.

The wind blew into the sportshall and we began shivering as the cold crept into our skin. However, we warmed up as the workshop went on, and we had taken o our jackets by the time we performed. During the performance, we also sang and danced to African music. Although the song was not in English, we learnt the words by listening to the phonetic sounds.

One grade 10 student recalled, “I loved the enthusiasm of the drummers, as this quickly spread to the whole grade.” We were encouraged to let go of our hesitation and soon found ourselves immersed in the vivid and dynamic music. We learned that “practice makes permanent, not perfect,” and we were urged to apply this teaching to everything that we do.

We felt mesmerised by how fast and forcefully the musicians could play the drums. Watching the trio work together showed us “how passionate one can be about their work.”

One of the students said that she will always “remember the incredible and breathtaking performance of the drummers. They all played so passionately and it really made you smile and feel happy when you watched them perform. You couldn’t help but bop and bounce along!”

Another Grade 10 student said, “I really enjoyed learning how to play the drums and how fun their style of dancing is. It was also very interesting to know their stories and how they learned to play the drums from a very young age.”

For some students, the workshop gave them an opportunity to relate to their own cultural background. One student explained how she “enjoyed the experience as a whole. It was very joyful and reminded me of home which I appreciated. The day left me feeling like I just attended a traditional wedding or party, which was a strange but welcoming feeling. It’s safe to say that this will be an unforgettable memory.”

When we rst led into the sportshall, we had no idea what to expect. Some of us had never even heard of Djembe drums before! However, at the end of the day, we felt refreshed and ready to get back to work.