The One who makes the Drum talk
"Anke dje, anke be".
Imagine the drum player calling this out to the people of the village for everybody to get together in a circle and participate in a ceremony, be it a wedding, a birth, a funeral, or listen to the story of their ancestors passed down by the musician.
It is believed that the phrase ‘Anke dje, anke be’ (Everyone, gather together) gave the name to that drum used in the ceremonies – a djembe drum. The unity drum.
This goblet-shaped drum lavishly decorated with wood carvings and strings is one of the most popular and versatile instruments at present. It can produce low, medium, and high tones depending on a subtle shift of the hand and striking location. Traditionally they used a special kind of wood from a lengue tree to carve a djembe drum.
When I choose a drummer to lead a Femme! dance class together with, I don’t check what kind of wood his drum is made from. I trust a drummer and his expertise in choosing an instrument for his art. What is more important to me is the ability of a drummer to make a drum talk.
I start to move.
The drummer follows with a beat that reflects my movement to the most minuscule detail. My foot draws a half circle on the ground. The drum supports the movement with a rustling sound. I let my body free flow in a playful dance. The drum is echoing every stretch of the arm, every curve of the spine.
After a while, we reach a point where I feel that the drum gets me. The drum understands how I feel and it knows what I need in every changing moment.
I feel like I’m talking to a human being as if we’re having a dialogue:
‘I feel exhilarated!’ – ‘Damn girl! That’s amazing!’
‘It hurts so much!’ – ‘Yes, I know…’
There’s no judgment, criticism, or shaming in this drum-dancer dialogue. I feel heard, supported, accepted, and acknowledged.
That’s the moment I know that the drummer is a Master Drummer. He is the one who makes the drum talk.
In Femme! dance class, we bring back unity and storytelling. It looks different from those times in the village but the drum has the same impact regardless. It creates a profound emotional response and it opens the heart.
Maybe this power of the drum is due to the mastery of the drummer. Maybe this magic is evoked by the 3 spirits that live in the drum. Maybe it’s brought about by this dialogue between the drum and the participants. I believe in all of these – in the spirits, the dialogue, and the mastery.
Come to our Femme! class! Experience the power of the drum, have your own dialogue with it, and enjoy a one-in-life-time experience!
Then come for a second one :)
Express your emotions through movement when you cannot find words to describe how you feel.