Learning the rhythm of regatta
WORTHINGTON -- The pitter-patter of rain drops on the roof of the beer garden tent provided a perfect counter-beat to the sound of African drums, cymbals and percussion instruments during the percussion workshop Saturday at the 2010 Worthington R...
WORTHINGTON -- The pitter-patter of rain drops on the roof of the beer garden tent provided a perfect counter-beat to the sound of African drums, cymbals and percussion instruments during the percussion workshop Saturday at the 2010 Worthington Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival.
Hosted by Marc Anderson of Boiled in Lead and Mark O'Day of the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, the rhythms of the workshop drew people into the tent area on Sailboard Beach. More than one youngster watched the artists with a longing to beat a drum shining in their eyes.
"The hardest thing about playing percussion is getting the sounds you're looking for," O'Day explained from behind his trap set. "Playing a set like this is physically different than playing percussion."
The two drummers had brought a variety of African drums with them for the workshop, and they encouraged people who had stopped to watch to pick up a drum.
"We're going to tailor this to you," Anderson told his various drummers. "But playing this kind of drum, you need to think differently to fill out the groove."
After careful instructions on how to hit the drum with their hands to produce different sounds, Anderson got the beat started and his new recruits joined in, filling in the sound of O'Day on the trap set.
"You can embellish the sound depending on how you are feeling," Anderson stated. "It can take you different places."
They offered hints on how to position the hand on the drum, how to relax the hand before striking and how to hold the drum itself. Within moments, a funky rhythm that had toes tapping and people swaying to the beat drifted out over the beach.
"The more you practice, the better you get, until eventually you can talk and play at the same time," O'Day explained, maintaining a steady beat with his bass drum, snare and high hat.
The participants started out hesitantly, but within a few minutes most were pounding away, some with heavy concentration and some with wild abandon. The sound of a tambourine, shakers and clapping hands soon joined the beat, and by the time the workshop was done, the audience was applauding and laughing.
"Just remember to keep it somewhat under control when you work as an ensemble," O'Day reminded his band of merry drummers when handing his sticks over to an eager young man. "Work together, and you can get a great groove going."