Sunday, May 9, 2010

Community Drumming @ Kallang CC

In preparation for YOG, various teachers from the PE Dept and other departments have been working with students and other school partners to come up with a good way to represent and promote our twinned country, Zimbawe.

During the YOG season, VS will partner the athletes from Zimbawe and lend them the indomitable spirit and support from our might VS cheering contingents of Red and Black Shirt student leaders! We're also setting up a cultural booth at NIE to celebrate and showcase the rich cultural diversity of African nations, particularly our new friends from Zimbawe.

African drumming has a strong presence in the world music scene and Zimbawean drumming also has its own distinctive style. I once joined in a drum circle during our VS Arts DAy and after doing some research on the web, I found out that Kallang Community Club had a drum circle that met on Saturdays. This would be a good point to start learning about drumming in general and see if there were any way we good get insights into African drumming.

I touched based with their Chairman, Miss Soh and was generously invited to join them on Sat. In my mid-30s, I make a conscious effort to still stay relevant and 'cool' so that I can still connect with the young people but the one thing I realise is that most 'cool' activities are very niche- they don't appeal to everyone.
For example, check out the paintball excursions in my previous posts- I love it but even some of my more outdoor friends don't go for it cos they don;t like to get bruised; then scuba diving- again, not everyone wants to go for it.
But when I stepped in to the drum studio on Sat at Kallang.... it was the coolest thing I've seen that is so inclusive. Take a look at the following clip and see what I mean:

Most of these participants have no music background, but sounds good, right? Best of all you got housewifes, elderly, kids, working professionals- all playing together! I bet you're hard pressed to find another way to engage such a diverse group of people at the same time.

During my conversation with the lovely people from the Kallang CC Drum Circle, they've kindly agreed to work with our students and support us in our cultural presentaion for YOG. This means that our booth will be able to provide a interactive hands-ons experience for visitors by allow us to engage them in a communal drumming activity where we can showcase African rhythms.

As we left, my wife made an observation- she said "Look at the senior citizens- they're happy and engaged!" And it's true- most of the time when we plan activities for senior citizens or are engaged with them, I realise we subconsciously relegate them to passive spectators- we put on a show, give them some gifts, shake their hands and then send them on their way. But standing there watching the intensity and feeling the pulse of the group, I felt a strong sense of purpose in everyone there.
And this I believe is the Olympic spirit!

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