Rhythm, Beat and Life
“My experience is that drumming makes people happy. I watch the faces of participants when we facilitate drumming circles, and they are invariably smiling, happy faces.”
The Drum Café, a global drumming movement, has landed here in Namibia. This means more opportunities for us all to immerse ourselves in the art and healing practice of drumming. And a healing practice it is, research is demonstrating the effects of drumming include things like accelerated physical healing, a boost in immunity, production of feelings of wellbeing, ability to release emotional trauma through drumming and many more treatment benefits for illness such as anxiety, asthma, mental illness, arthritis and much more.
Now here in Namibia, the Drum Café is an evolution of the Ongoma rhythm and percussion group that now, in addition to making beautiful music, are offering corporates and individuals an opportunity to learn how to plays drums like the Djembe in a drumming circle or in the form of a cohesion or team building experience.
One of the members of the Ongoma group, now trading as The Drum Café Namibia, Thabiso Dube, says that he has always wanted to perform “Ever since I was in kindergarten performing has always been my dream, but there’s very little you can do in performing arts without rhythm. That’s when drumming kicks in as the base. So when I joined Ongoma, it felt as if it was a great stride as a performer to have that much experience with the Djembe drum as my major instrument.”
Thabiso explains that “The African drum is a spiritual instrument. According to oral tradition it was not only used for entertainment but healing purposes as well, this clearly depicting how integral it was as part of life. And remember a healthy soul equals a happy life.”
The co-founder of the Drum Café Namibia, Irmi Röder says that in the words of Warren Lieberman, the founder of Drum Café, “The first thing we hear when entering this world is the beat of our mother’s heart. And drumming is something everyone and every culture can relate to. Drumming relaxes, energizes and motivates in a way that most teambuilding companies cannot explain.” Irmi goes on to explain that “My experience is that drumming makes people happy. I watch the faces of participants when we facilitate drumming circles, and they are invariably smiling, happy faces. Even when people complain to each other about their hands hurting after a drumming session, they do so with big grins on their faces.
When asked if this is something that everyone can and should do, Irmi explains that “There is something about group drumming that is immensely powerful and invigorating. Even people who claim they don’t have rhythm usually get proven wrong when they join a drumming circle.” Irmi adds that the have facilitated drumming circles in many places and to many people in Namibia, including for example “We’ve even facilitated interactive drumming at Dagbreek School to intellectually impaired children. They did just fine with following the rhythm”
Thabiso, clearly a musician at heart asks the important question, “Imagine a world without music or rhythm?” Adding that “That would totally suck. So I would gladly advise all Namibians to go to a theatre, take up music or drumming classes or even ask us to be a part of your event and get involved either as a performer or an audience.”
Irmi adds that with the launch of the Drum Café Namibia, their wish is to “bring the joy of communal drumming to all major companies in Namibia. We would like to be the first address for interactive fun in this country. We want to add the joy factor to conferences and symposiums by invigorating participants and getting them to listen to each other and work together. We want to unite people and bring them together through the amazing experience of group drumming. Our teambuilding programs are designed to break down barriers to create more open organizations; align people to a common goal, mission or vision; improve communication; and accelerate productivity by motivating staff.”
Very obviously a positive and well balanced bunch of drumming extraordinaire, Thabiso adds that a key component of a happy and healthy life is Gratitude, “I strongly feel that Gratitude is the foundation for all humanity and without it our species will be headed for doom. Not being thankful for the simplest of things in life can lead to serious degradation of many things including the earth itself. So we all have to be thankful.”
Irmi adds that “I can’t do enough gratitude. Remembering all the things that I am grateful for usually gets me out of a dark spot. Feeling true gratitude just opens your heart and makes space for more peace and joy to enter. One of the things I’m immensely grateful for these days is all the great work my late husband, Volker Röder, did for Ongoma, which laid the foundation for us to evolve into Drum Café Namibia.”