Saturday, August 24, 2019

Drums and Percussion Instruments - The Heart of World Cultures

Drums and other percussion instruments have been used for literally thousands of years. They have and continue to be an integral part of many cultures. Whether their use concerned religious ceremonies, communication, celebration, or simply the pure joy of music, percussion instruments have secured a place of honor in many parts of the world.
Africa is the source of many of the drums we commonly play today. Drums and percussion instruments figure prominently in the many varied African cultures. Religious ceremonies, celebrations, and lively dance sessions commonly resounded with the deep and infectious pulse of the drum. Through the use of authentic African drums and their evolved counterparts, we are willing beneficiaries of the rich heritage imparted to us.
The drum also has a place in the heart of Native American cultural traditions. In fact, it is considered sacred. No pow-wow is complete without the presence of one or more drum groups providing the rhythmic song for the dancers. The drum continues to speak today as it did generations ago. It is the inextinguishable heartbeat of the people.
From the tribal roots of African rhythms, comes the "new world" styles of Latin and Brazilian music. Both styles typify the almost "electric" atmosphere that can be created when the exciting beats are pounded out on a variety of drums and percussion instruments.
Latin drums and percussion instruments may have evolved from their African ancestors, however, they certainly hold their own unique place among the family of drums. The lively Latin beats not only draw one in, but also encourage movement and physical expression through the myriad of Latin dance forms.
If samba music is the life-blood of Brazil, then samba drums are the heart. From the deep pulse of the surdo, to the sharp crack of the tamborim, samba drums and percussion instruments form the basis of Brazilian cultural identity. With roots in African traditions, the exciting Brazilian rhythms create an infectious atmosphere. The popularity of this music form has flowed from the streets of Brazil and spilled out into the communities of many countries around the world. It is truly a benefit to us all.
The drum is not some trivial instrument. It forms the basis of cultural identities of many groups around the world. In essence, it can be said that in many cases, it is the heartbeat of the people. Every time one picks up a drum, the player becomes part of this rich cultural heritage. A symbol of unity and community, the drum has been and continues to be a significant part of the world's musical tapestry.

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