A personal and sociological exploration of the community drumming movement and its power to change the world.
This is a book about the community drumming movement and the power of rhythm to change the world. Part personal musing, part sociological analysis, this is a handbook for using the drum to build community.
For some time, we have been experiencing a planetary crisis with both social and environmental dimensions. There is a growing awareness of the profound damage that has been done by hundreds of years of racism, religious and political oppression and violence, pollution, and other destructive human actions which have come to a crescendo now, a decade into the twenty-first century. The rapid growth of human population, widespread poverty and hunger, the widening gap between rich and poor, environmental pollution and resulting health issues, shrinking oil supplies in a world economy utterly dependent on oil, rising sea levels and intense storms caused by climate change, and more, have catalyzed worldwide impetus for change.
The growing awareness that our current situation is untenable crosses all boundaries. Ordinary people of all races, classes, ages, and life circumstances are seeking ways to heal both their personal lives and their communities, local and global. One activity that has emerged in response to this need is community drumming.
Drumming is found in indigenous and ancient cultures all over the world. It is a prominent feature in Africa and all cultures affected by the African Diaspora, as well as the traditional cultures of Asia, and those of Europe and the Mediterranean that still reflect their ancient roots. Drumming is also central to the practice of shamanic healing, which has been documented around the planet, in some places surviving into modern times. Western medical research is confirming that drumming and rhythm-based activity has healing effects on the human body, which helps to explain why drumming has such universal appeal.
In modern American life, there has been growing interest in community drumming over the past two decades. For more than twenty years I have been actively involved in an organizational and leadership capacity in the community drumming movement, and have watched this once obscure activity spread and blossom to become widely practiced by American people of all ages and walks of life. Many feel that community drumming offers a blend of old and new ways that has the potential to effect deep healing and social change. In my own work I have observed first hand how community drumming facilitates personal healing and community-building.
Because drumming by its very nature opens the way to ecstasy and deep communion with the sacred, I believe that the proliferation of circles and networks of drummers is nothing less than a spiritual revolution. It seems to me that this is so even if individuals do not believe there is any spiritual or religious significance to the music they are making with the drum. I have observed too many cases of profound personal transformation and powerful energy being raised to doubt that drumming is changing the world by touching the capacity of people to experience the numinous.
I’ve been working on capturing the lessons and insights of my twenty-plus years of experience in the drumming world, and putting them into this book. The manuscript of the book has gone through several rounds of editing and is now complete. The funds raised here on Kickstarter will help me turn the manuscript into a finished book. I will hire a designer and illustrator, create a web page for the book, get an ISBN, and take it to the printer. My fondest wish is that the work I have done may provide inspiration and tools for others to deepen their connections with the natural world and with each other in community. I deeply appreciate your support, and I hope that when you read the book you will let me know how you apply it to your own work. This community drumming movement is still a work in progress.
I'm excited to share what I've learned about how drumming can change the world. Thank you for your support!
(Special thanks to Jesse Master Massaro Weeks for the cover image, Lyle W.H. Hawthorne for the profile photo, and Gene Hall for the video and all-around support.)
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Jun 22, 2011 - Aug 6, 2011 (45 days)
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and receive a heartfelt, hand-written thank you from me.
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and receive a signed copy of the soft cover book.
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and receive a signed copy of the book plus free admission for two to Drum and Dance Saturday in Concord, MA, any one date between Sept. 2011 and April 2012.
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All of the above plus mention in the “thank you” section of the book
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All of the above plus a half-hour consultation on starting or growing a drum circle or other rhythm-oriented event or program in your community, or another topic within my expertise of your choice.
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All of the above plus a private one-hour rhythm lesson in person or via skype, for you and up to 5 friends.
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In addition to sending you a signed copy of the book with your name in the acknowledgments, I will come to your group or classroom and give a workshop up to 2 hours long, designed for your needs. (Within 100 miles of Boston, or anywhere if you cover travel expenses.)
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and the Critical Mass drummers will provide music for your party or celebration (within 100 miles of Boston, subject to mutually acceptable scheduling)