I love to play the drums. I was gifted with an innate sense of rhythm that I can’t really explain, but ever since I was a young boy, I loved to make music. One of my favorite activities as a child was emptying cupboards at home of pots, pans, and plastic tupperware containers, arranging them in a semi-circle in front of me, and beating on them with wooden spoons for hours. One of my favorite gifts I received for Christmas was my first drum when I was six – a large African djembe drum that I still treasure to this day. Skip forward to this trip to Ghana. I think one of the reasons I love drumming and percussion so much is because it’s something that comes easy to me: I don’t really have to think about it and I can play forever, staying perfectly on beat and on time. I love looking up when I play and being met with faces of astonishment and approval as this lanky white kid can keep up and play any rhythm with anyone. But, I think I find the most pleasure, the most joy, when I play with others. There’s a certain synergy that occurs when people make music together, a coming together in the name of rhythm that I have witnessed time and time again as amedium that brings people from different cultures and backgrounds together. Looking over at our drumming instructor Prince during rehearsal at the cultural center and flashing a quick nod or smile to each other; making friends with Paul, a man who makes drums at a market in Accra, and watching him through his head back in delight andlaughter multiple times as we jammed together for 30 minutes; playing the cowbell, dancing around, and locking eyes with the leader of the with the drumming troupe at Cape Deaf as we played together – these are moments that I will never forget. I love sharing my percussional talents with the world and with others – I believe it has and will continue to give me tremendous joy for the entirety of my life.
My new friend Paul and I play djembe in a market in Accra.