good morning! i love this time of year. we are in full-on birthday season at our house (all 6 of us have birthdays between the months of may and september). yesterday, we celebrated sophia turning 8 years old. we did the kid party last weekend; so yesterday, we spent time together as a family. i picked the birthday girl up early from school. we made a cake, a special birthday dinner, opened presents….she loved her fishing pole, bait and tackle box. and…..just a couple weeks from now, sasha’s birthday! phew…..
living in indy most of my life, us locals know that memorial day weekend is a fun and exciting time to be in the city. the weather is usually great. the earth is lush and green. race car drivers go fast. somebody wins. everyone cheers. picnics. pool parties. cook-outs. fun!
this memorial day, monday, may 27th, i am happy to offer a special yoga experience to our community…..just one more reason to love memorial day weekend. monday morning, brett and i will load our djembe, our snare drum, our tom drum, cowbell :), claves, temple bells and singing bowls into our car and head to eagle creek park (one of the largest urban parks in the country), to the beautiful peace through yoga studio, located at the peace learning center, in the park. then, it’s on!
i am grateful and happy that brett agreed to join me as we create this thing, this experience, that, is exceptionally unique and tons of fun. my co-creator, co-conspirator, brett, has big musical talent. he’s one of these rare people who never has taken a lesson, never learned to read music, but can play almost any instrument he gets his hands on…..guitar, bass, piano/keyboards, flutes, and his favorite, the drums. he is gifted at musical improvisation and claims that he hears and composes music in his head all day long….
as a child, adolescent and teenager, i took years of piano lessons, did learn to read sheet music and sang in church choirs and school choirs. i wasn’t dedicated enough and maybe not talented enough to move beyond amateur musical experiences. but, i always come back to music because it fills me up and makes me happy.
i started playing the djembe…..maybe, 5 or 6 years ago. i already owned a djembe, rarely played it; it mostly collected dust- until, i met a group of women who would become friends, sisters, soul guides, mentors and DRUMMERS with me. it began innocently enough….”hey! let’s get together. we’ll sing and drum and dance, for fun!” luckily, one of us knew what we were doing. jamie became our drum leader. she too, like brett, has raw musical talent. she started learning west african rhythms on the djembe and she taught the rest of us. she is a quick learner and a good teacher and soon we were able to drum a rhythm or two. we formed a women’s drum troupe called: ashre. we attended women drum (a fabulous weekend held twice a year at oakwood retreat center to empower women to learn to drum, and to express ourselves through drumming, singing and dancing).
learning to play the djembe has challenged me again and again – and on more than 1 occasion, i said to myself – wah wah, i can’t do it! my left hand won’t do what i want it to do. i’ll never be a good drummer. but, self doubt is something i’ve worked hard to overcome – so, i kept practicing….and it was so fun to play with ashre. we laughed, we cried, we danced, we drummed and we performed for others – broad ripple art fair – yup! cottage home block party – yup! private events and parties – it was a blast. and, i got better. i played louder. i began to believe in myself. i quit worrying if i was good enough. so, i drummed. even when ashre broke up, i drummed.
brett was drumming a lot too. we would play together, improvise together, and it sounded pretty good. obviously, we know each other well and i can feel where the rhythm is going when he is playing and vice versa. it became clear that we could take what we were doing, music wise, in our living room and bring it into the yoga studio. cityoga offered us the chance to do just that – this past march. the event went well and we are building on that foundation.
basically, yoga and rhythm becomes a vinyasa style yoga class accompanied by live, mostly improvised drum and percussion. the music provides a sacred space for breath and connection to our bodies and our movements on the yoga mat. please consider joining us this monday at eagle creek park from 10am-11:30. it will cost you just $15, and will bring a long lasting smile to your face and a tappin in your toes. hope to see you there!
if you’re interested, here’s a playlist i made called: djembe yoga
1. akiwowo (a capella) – babatunde olatunji
2. muloma (let us be united) – sierra leone’s refugee all-stars
3. evening samba – mickey hart
4. ti ca – althiery dorival
5. mi swing es tropical – quantic and nickodemus
6. this is not a tango – the juju orchestra
7. kikiribu (the bahama soul club) – mo’ horizons
8. din din wo (little child) – habib koite and bamada
9. luna – gabrielle roth and the mirrors
10. tekanatsyaslitha – joanne shenandoah
11. freedom – nawang khechog
LOVE to you all – have a great weekend – peace out!