The African drum and the tradition of African drumming has a long and rich history that has captivated, enthralled and unified communities and people for centuries. The impact the sounds of an African drum has on one’s being, the feeling of the beat coursing through one’s body, plugging into the spinal cord and coaxing a person out of themselves into a sensory realm that knows no boundaries and no restraints with each thud and thump, provides an experience like no other. No matter the size or shape of the drum, whether you are the audience or the drummer, from the first stroke, you cannot help but become enchanted by this beautifully mystic and mesmerising instrument. Its pulsing beat captivates the soul, stirring something deep within, releasing the entire spectrum of human emotion, leaving a person with no choice but to feel everything from sorrow to elation all at once in equal parts.
Revered for its cultural significance and heritage, the drum has long been used by various tribes on the African continent in different celebrations and rituals including weddings, harvesting times and healing ceremonies. The djembe drum is one such African drum that tells a colourful story of rhythm, melody and harmony. Originating from the great Mali Empire, the djembe drum is believed to have been named from a saying that roughly translates to “everyone gathers together in peace”. With a name that invites people to come together to create one sound, it is no wonder why the djembe drum has become a popular instrument used in drum circle sessions in what has been deemed the hippie-era of the 21st century.
While the sound of the djembe rhythm speaks a musical language that can tap into many emotions and transport you to a time and place beyond your imagination, the fact that this goblet shaped, goat-skin covered percussion instrument is one of the easiest drums to play makes it even more appealing and fun to try. So it is no surprise why the djembe drum is the favoured percussion instrument used by places and companies offering interactive drumming sessions and workshops.
The number of places offering djembe drumming sessions are endless, but for a truly memorable experience, out in the open away from the city lights and hustle, Klitgras Drumming is definitely the place to go. Located just outside Pretoria East, Klitgras offers you food, drinks and an invigorating drumming session around a warm fire in the amphitheatre. With no previous drumming experience needed whatsoever, all you have to do is hire a djembe drum from the Klitgras shop and begin to create spontaneously beautiful music with the people around you. Run by Andries Bruyns aka Godfather DiDg, Klitgras offers a beautiful setting where the young and the old from all walks of life can come together to build melodies and harmonies of beauty, exposing them all too colourful outbursts of happiness, energy, creativity, awareness and healing. If the best conversations are the ones that use no words but still leave a message of impact on the soul, then a conversation had with a group of unknown souls through the djembe drum around a warm and cosy fire is definitely one worth having. For a chance to take a break from the modern day rat race, to connect with your spirit and journey to a place of enchantment, essence and energy, for a place to just Be, I recommend a night spent harmonising drumbeats and experiencing a culturally rich tradition at Klitgras Drumming.