Urban Drum Shaman
Our culture here in North America has not acknowledged the need for having a drum shaman in the mainstream culture. It didn’t even cross their minds. But now we are seeing effects of group drumming and single medicine drumming as having great healing potential.
When I started to teach drumming as a meditation I drew on my experience as a card carrying professional drummer/musician since about the age of eight. I had played every style but when I experienced the sacred drumming in the Caribbean I knew there was more that I needed to know. Our culture is at the nexus where we are feeling that we need to know some things in the universe that are not within the realm of the critical mind. The drum puts us there without loosing our individual identity while we experience the greater cosmic reality beyond words.
Medicine drumming has been the great white elephant in the middle of the room where all traditional musical drum teachers dwell. They might feel the potential of the cosmic forces that are awakened when one drums to the universe, but they stoutly refused its siren call and played strictly rudimental, classically ordained percussion drumming. The magic was not allowed. Not until jazz.
But Sacred drumming was alive and well in the indigenous communities across the country. They had it bad- still do. But the drum has held them together. We all need that kind of sticking power. But it has to be together. That’s what the urban drum shaman is being called to do. Perform the bonding of all peoples in a groove that carries us upward.