Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Road Trip, Drum Concert

"Let me know when your concert is and I'll come up."

This is what I told Justin when he told me he was joining a West African Drum Group up at the university.

His first concert was yesterday, the first day of my college's spring break. So I went on a little road trip!
I planned to get there early so we could do a little TKD workout first. Justin says he hasn't been working out this term, and I wanted to go through all my forms once a week. We found an empty gym at the expansive fitness center and went through all the forms.

After a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant downtown, it was time for the concert. It began with some music majors in an ensemble with typical western percussion instruments: snares, field drums, marimbas, cowbells. The music was fun and surprising: one piece sounded like music from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, another was a setting of some 40's music, another sounded like a marching band cadence.

I love drum music. Always have. There's something about the rhythm, the way the sounds go right through your body. It was easy to spot the percussion majors--they were the ones who never seemed to hold still, like they had metronomes inside!

Justin's West African group came after the intermission. The students came out in West African tunics, and played djembas (I think that's how it's spelled).

The students--about 20 of them--played call-and-response pieces. The charismatic conductor led them, playing the "call" on his own drum.

Later, about half the group danced one of the songs while the other half played drums. The dance was communal and circular, with the earthy downward motions of African dance. Justin, who doesn't take dance or music lessons, was a natural at it--no surprise, as TKD teaches stage presence, and helps people learn combinations of movements.

I would have enjoyed the concert even if I didn't know someone in it. But it was especially fun to see Justin being a part of a group like that.

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