Djembe jamming

Djembe teacher Mark Bennet with students Sharron Haase, Eliza Packham, Heather Blackley, Lanny MacKenzie and Bill Cunningham. DG

By Dominic Geiger

A small but enthusiastic group of rhythm aficionados gathered at the Condobolin Community Centre last Saturday for an explosive djembe drumming workshop.

Djembes are traditional African drums made from carved wood and goat skin.

Mark Bennett, of Rhythm Creature African Drumming, taught the students basic rhythms and breaks before using various recycled materials such as storm water pipes and tyre tubes to create homemade African drums or ‘Dun duns’.

Mark said the best part of drumming is that people don’t need to be particularly skilled to have a great time.

“There’s just such an amazing feeling when you’ve got everyone drumming together,” he said.

“Drumming has been such an important part of societies all around the world; I think it’s very important for people to come together and play music with each other.”

Mark said in addition to being a drumming teacher, he’d also made a number of djembes himself.

“The djembes are made from tree stumps with goat skin stretched across the top,” he said.

“There’s a rumour some people have tried to use kangaroo skin but it ends up being too bouncy.”

Project coordinator at Western Plains Regional Development (WPRD), Heather Blackley, said the plan was to set up a small drumming group involving students from the various Condobolin schools.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get both adults and young people involved with the aim of eventually performing at functions around town,” she said.

“We may even be able to involve the djembe drummers with the RSL Pipe Band.”

The workshop was run through NSW Artstart, Lachlan Arts Council and WPRD Youth Services.


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