Drumming for Eternity
I have been drumming since I was eight years old- In different locals and in different contexts. Solo drumming and ensemble percussion- Classical orchestral drumming and gut bucket blues drumming. It has always been rewarding. From my current perspective of being seventy four years old the phenomenon of drumming is still a mystery. More so now than ever before I see the need in our lives for an oasis of calm.
Now that the benefits of soothing the Vegus Nerve with low mellow rhythmic tones has been articulated by credentialed clinicians we can allow ourselves to trust this process to save our souls, our minds, our lives and our faith and our culture. The effects of rhythm played in a compassionate manner functions below our intellect or rather outside of our cognitive domain. It has properties that can not be articulated in our zero sum definition of realty, in other words we must surrender to its effect rather than fight it or try to control it. I grew up learning to control my mind and my hands to play drum rudiments in an accepted way that won me medals and status, but at the same time I could only marvel at the natural drummers who could just play. That became my Grail Quest. To drum like I was born to drum. Not like I had to learn it. I am grateful for the teachers I had for showing me ways to play the drums with compassion and heart. This eventually evolved into what had always been a method rejuvenation and salvation from the human condition of struggle and death.
Great drummers are invisible. They function in support of great art and mystical healing whether it is Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Ringo or Jaimo with the Allman Brothers, or Baba Olatunji of Nigeria. Their place in the evolution of consciousness is undeniable. But it is performed with a grace of action that belies its effect and power over people’s lives. Long live the groove!
Thoughts on drumming from Russell Buddy Helm 2023 L.A.