Drumming is a graceful use of force

Drumming is a graceful use of force that can save our lives.

excerpt: “History of the Groove” Russell Buddy Helm ©2014 All rights reserved

One perception of force is what Hollywood sells us; massive retaliation. That military concept came into its own modern definition during the Civil War when General Sherman and his Army of the North burned and pillaged, and raped all the way from the Potomac to Atlanta, then coastward to Savanna. When the women of Savanna heard what had become of anyone who stood in the way of General Sherman, they sent their men into the swamp and told them, “We’ll handle this.”

“Whatever General Sherman is drinking, give it to the rest of my generals.” Abraham Lincoln said as he read the telegram from General Sherman on Christmas Eve 1864; “My Christmas present to  you Mr. President; Savanna intact.”

Drumming can be like General Sherman or it can be like Bruce Lee. Honey gets the bees, guys. Grooves for women to dance to are different than going at it, mano a mano. Women smell much better when they are sweating and dancing than guys who are banging. The grooves for dancing are not muscle oriented, they are flow based; quick and light instead of ponderous. Just enough force to get the head vibrating, no more is needed. The drum is a voice and it has many tones and sounds harsh if hit too hard. Hitting quickly and getting away from the head creates a better tone than leaving  your hand down too long. This quickness is a martial arts technique as well; pulling away from the hit lessens stress on the hand or foot and delivers more power into the point of impact. Controlled force is music.

Drumming can be a way for people who are lacking confidence about their own power to learn how to use force gracefully. We must learn how to use force. It is often trial and error, with fewer injuries if you have good teachers.

We played in a New Age store in downtown Savanna called Moon Dance, in a building that had been a slave auction house a hundred and fifty years earlier. Now people of all origins walked, talked, ate, shopped, and drummed together in an atmosphere of cooperation and culture. We had come a long way. This was before 911. People were not scared. A catholic minster approached me, “I would love to have that drumming in our church.” he said with longing in his voice. “But, not yet.”

excerpt: “History of the Groove” Russell Buddy Helm ©2014 All rights reserved

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