It was on a visit to Cape Town that I chanced upon a community drum cafe for the very first time. A place where you can hire yourself djembe (West-African drum) and casually drum away to your heart’s content alongside those similarly inclined, under the conductor’s guidance. A gentle rhythm at the onset by scores of flailing hands typically ends in a mind-numbing thunderous crescendo. Unimaginable sound. And experience. You don’t notice the redness or the stinging of the palms till much later…
So when I stumbled across the Delhi Drum Circle on Facebook, I couldn’t wait to check it out. I got that chance in December last while on a leisure trip to Delhi. A corner of the Deer Park was already resounding from the drum beats when my sister and I got there.
Not a large crowd, I thought to myself, as I found a vantage view point. There were all manner of percussion instruments from what I could see, including a dhol. And one fashioned entirely out of stainless steel utensils.
The crowd had swelled two circles deep as the drumming became more frenetic under Rakesh Mathur, the conductor that evening, and co-founder of the Delhi Drum Circle.
Soon the drummers were joined by a flutist; not much later, by a lady who danced away in gay abandon. By the time I reluctantly peeled myself away, she was one with a large group of completely free-spirited beings… The jam session most definitely had a vibe. Next time, I hope to participate.