“If thine enemy wrong thee, buy each of his children a drum.”

— Chinese Proverbs

There are those among my family and friends who would nod their heads in agreement with this proverb.  For about 2 1/2 years now, I have been a drummer.  Before you picture me sitting behind a drum kit and pounding out the beat for some ensemble, let me clarify:  I am a hand-drummer; I play the djembe.  I do love playing rhythms with my grandchildren, and I suppose my occasional gifts of shakers and noisy instruments may be seen by their parents as revenge; but I think they sound wonderful.

They play with joyful abandon and so do I, although I usually omit the vocals.

“Seemed to me that drumming was the best way to get close to God.”

— Lionel Hampton

Now Lionel and I understand each other.  There is something transcendent and transformational that I experience when I drum.  As I find a groove and lose myself in the rhythm, I drift to a place that rises above the humdrum and the cares of the day.  I think, “Stop smiling, Rain Man, people are going to wonder about you…” and then I go on grinning and let the sound become my heartbeat and flow through my veins to every part of my being.

Today is one of my favorite days of the year.  Mayfair is on in Allentown; and at 2:oo PM, I will make my way to the Lakeside Stage for the Great Djembe Jam.  The stage will be filled with folks who have practiced some rhythms in preparation for the event.  The audience, where I will sit, will be made up of folks who come with drums and shakers and tambourines and join in the fun of weaving rhythm with a crowd of people.  If you’re in the area, you might consider bringing your dancing shoes and joining the fun.  I promise to bring a couple of extra instruments to share.

Lionel Hampton was right about the way that drumming connects us with a power higher than ourselves.  One of the most enjoyable ways that happens is in community.  I can’t wait to join the Jam.  Hope you decide to join us!  Dum Ditty Dum!