Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Drumming Lessons

Last Thursday afternoon, the hills around the Homes of Hope compound in Gitega echoed with the sound of drums. On a level patch of ground above the houses, a semi circle of Burundian drums was set up, surrounded by an excited crowd of Homes of Hope kids having their first drumming lesson.

We had watched the children admiring the drummers performing at the opening ceremony for Shammah Health Center, and a donation was provided to buy some drums for the orphanage and lessons for the children to learn. Drumming is such an integral part of Burundian culture; we felt it was important for the children to understand their heritage.
Drums used to be used to communicate messages such as times to sow or harvest, the coming of war or famine, and to celebrate or mourn the different events in life. Each message had a different drumming pattern, and could be heard across long distances.
The royal drummers would be used to welcome the king whenever he visited a new commune.

The drumming master showed the children how to stand and hold the sticks, and then guided them in a selection of rhythms. They were pretty good at picking them up, stopping and starting almost in unison with the guidance of a few cues and gestures.

It was a very successful first lesson, and we look forward to watching their skills develop as they continue practising. Maybe one day the children from Homes of Hope will be able to welcome visitors to their home with their own troop of Burundi drummers.