Monday, June 13, 2005

I've Got Blisters on My Fingers

I went with Dugard and Dugard, Jr. to a drum circle at a local beach Sunday evening. I have only been once before, but enjoyed it enough to go again, after about four or five months.

Now, before you jump to conclusions, I am not some new age geezer looking for a spiritual connection through drumming, nor am I a drummer going to practice my craft. I went because it's fun and I needed to hit something.

A drum circle is like a microorganism, only larger and louder. Each one has many parts that function within this organism, its actions creating reactions that result in a movement or activity that causes change to the structure.

Each drum circle seem to have a nerve center, where the rhythm originates. The rhythm changes every ten to fifteen minutes, at the whim of whomever is at the nerve center. Sometimes, it can be one drummer, usually with a big set of drums from which he dictates the tempo. Other times, it can be a group of drummers who are attuned to the same rhythm and work together, perhaps taking turns changing the rhythm.

Some drum circles have more than one nerve center, which fight for control. Sunday was one such night. A tall Asian man with bleached hair and goggle-eyed glasses beat an African-type rhythm his three drums at one end, while a group of Latin drummers challenged his leadership. They shifted back and forth all night.

There are other drummers who dance around the circle as they drum, usually following one of the ladies in the circle, trying to keep the beat.

The dancers are like the circulatory system of our microorganism. Usually the dancing is lead by the ladies in the group, who flow from drummer to drummer, or pair up with a male dancer who actually dances. Most male dancers act as woman repellent, however. They invite women to dance, or horn in on a couple, easing their loins up against some lady's ass as she dances with her friends, causing her to move away. These are disturbing individuals, but they keep the ladies circulating.

People who have drums, but not much rhythm usually line the outskirts of the drum circle. They beat away simple rhythm, but do not distract from the real drummers. These are the folk who also give the drum circle its distinct aroma, usually a blend of pungent smokes that rise to thinly above the circle. They act as a membrane of sorts. Anyone who wants in the drum circle has to push through them.

Often, people with other instruments show up, often joining the membrane group. Last night, there was a guy with an electric guitar, playing something gawd-awful. There was also a saxophone. And one ukulele.

I took my street ukulele (one that is cheap, that I would not miss so much if it got smashed). I played my bodrahn for a short time, then gave that to Dugard, Jr., who had not brought a drum. I whipped out my uke and started shredding away, heard by no one. None of the rhythms was an easy match for the songs a know, so I adapted each to a new beat. Sometimes it may have worked. I don't know for sure, because I couldn't hear a thing that I was playing.

But I played for hours. At the end of the night, my strumming fingers were black.

15 comments:

Donita said...

Dancing women, eh?

This post if full of potential band names.

New Age Geezer
Drum Circle Aroma
The Membrane Group
Something Gawd Awful
Street Ukulele
Circulating Ladies

You painted a pretty good picture here. I was transported. I wonder if you can attract dancing women to your ukulele group?

vivage said...

Massive dude.

If you attract dancers to your drum circle, exclude the weinie wipers would you?

Jim said...

Donita failed to mention that we once went to a real mother of a drum circle. Held in a college gym in Marin, the leaders in the center included Grateful Dead drummer and musicologist Mickey Hart, guitarist Carlos Santana, and a few other notables that I no longer recall (how notable is that?). Surrounding their platform were 1500 drummers of all make, ability, and instrument (there were a few huge Taiko drums in the circle, and lots of handheld percussion). It went on for a couple of hours, and just went all over the place. Very cool.

I _love_ drum circles; I'd like to go with you sometime. I promise I'll be good, or at least mediocre.

And now, obligatory testosterone for vivage: Guns! Fireworks! Trucks! Cannons! Rockets! No weinie wiping (I don't wanna know!), though!

Brother Atom Bomb of Reflection said...

Did I mention wienie wipers? I guess those are the grotesque dancers that repell normal women to the other end of the circle. I and my uke did not attract the dancers, nor did we bring the loin nuzzlers (wienie wipers). I simply shredded the sumbitch in an ecstacy of ukeforia.

Donita said...

Weenie Wipers. Another band name.

Too fookin' funny.

Shiela E was also at that massive drum circle. That many people drumming in a gym makes for a reeally big noise. It was pretty cool. A big, noisy hippie pile. One bomb could have altered the political demographic of all of Northern California.

vivage said...

Wienie wipers cause havoc wherever they appear. Just check out the number of comments!

Jim wrote: "Cannons! Rockets! No weinie wiping" Weinie wiping can sometimes cause cannons (or rockets) to explode. Beware.

Noisy Hippie Pile is a good name too.

Mr. Teacher said...
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Donita said...

I was kind of thinking the same thing but I wasn't going to say it. I tend to get myself in trouble when I go off on stuff like that.

Brother Atom Bomb of Reflection said...

I'm not the one who mentioned wienie wipers. Vivage did. She was referring to those drunked men who eased "their loins up against some lady's ass."

Likewise, I never strummed the uke, I shredded on it-a punk-uke term which means I played it punk style.

Geez, do I need footnotes?

Mr. Teacher said...
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Brother Atom Bomb of Reflection said...

I used to have a friend who did this sort of thing all of the time, just as you do: push people's buttons to get a reaction because, for some reason, he just liked to stir things up. I soon found it was a waste of time dealing with him.

I'll see you in August.

Mr. Teacher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vivage said...

Hey, Mr. Teacher, how did you do that? I mean edit your comments?

I don't think you shoulda deleted them tho. Come on, let 'em stand.

Donita said...

I didn't mean to egg him on.

These forums are meaningless and consequence free if you're talking to faceless strangers on the internet. Actually, that's not totally true. There are real people behind those posts. But we all know each other. This is a group of friends sharing some friendly banter. And it's Jeff's blog. Be a good guest.

Jeff, I'm sorry. I got sucked into a game. I'll be watching for it next time.

Brother Atom Bomb of Reflection said...

Mr. Teacher, what few of your comments you let stand are pretty much back-pedaling bullshit. Once again, you have made personal comments about me in front of friends and family. Maybe these sorts of things are "imaginary" to you, but they are real to me.