The distant drumbeats

brown wooden percussion instruments

Photo by Pixabay on

I’ve lived in South Africa and I’ve lived Japan.

One of the things these two countries have in common is community drumming. The first time I saw a mine dance in South Africa, I was breathless.

The sounds of the hands slapping and boots hitting caused a primal chord in me. It was exhilarating. I wanted to dance with them. The joy in these men’s faces when they danced was a thing to behold.

I thought nothing could compare until I heard the Taiko drums. These guys had the huge drums on a float. It rang through my entire body. I shook with the feel of it. When they passed us, I wanted to follow. A you-tube copy of the experience is a pale imitation of what I heard. Being in front of those drums, I wanted to scream, run, and leap.

Drums stir the blood.

So I know from personal experience why drums were used in battle.

I come from Northern European stock. My last name came from England. Here is an example of British grenadiers marching to the pipes and drums. This was probably similar to what the Revolutionary War soldiers saw.

I can’t think of drums without thinking of war.

Drums stir the blood.

I’ve been hearing the distant drumbeats in the news. I’ve wondered what it meant when young men and women covered their faces before they joined mobs and committed acts of violence against their fellow citizens. I have watched while disagreements have turned into “Swatting.”

Swatting is “the action or practice of making a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.” From the

I even know one instance of murder by swatting.

In many ways, I wonder if we are living in George Orwell’s 1984.

I particularly like this quote from that book.

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
― George Orwell

So I hope we come to our senses soon. In the meantime, I listen to the distant drums.
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4 thoughts on “The distant drumbeats

  1. Last year on Canada Day, there was a concert at our National Arts Centre, a mix of music. The concert opened and closed with a group of six First Nations men around a single drum, beating it and chanting tribal song. It was incredibly powerful.

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