This year the Griffin Dyeworks Fiber Retreat experienced an explosion of the drum circle! Word spread quickly from the previous year that dyeing and doumbeks do mix. It just seemed natural that in the setting of Camp Verdugo, among the native oaks, and in the presence of the immortal, creative spirit, ancient textile arts and primitive drumming come together. We tapped into the essence of our human instincts to bring forth and express our rhythmic souls.
With percussion, a fine line separates noise from music, and that is synchronicity, the beat with which the group becomes one. Without a steady beat, two sticks banging together are just two sticks banging together. In a group, the sticks become claves, creating a distinctive, staccato, wooden tone. We had an assortment of percussive instruments: djembes, doumbeks, bohdrans, a cymbal, shakers, a kalimba, tambourine, claves, and jaw harp! We even created some homemade percussion found on site: an empty dye bucket turned upside down, gourds with dried seeds inside, two sticks, and a thick metal bracket that sounded like a cow's bell when srtuck.
Drummers and non-drummers, belly-dancers, friends from all walks of life, our camp ranger playing his jaw harp, and a retreat attendee honoring her deceased drummer friend by bringing his cymbal, we came together, united in the spirit of friendship, the primal urge for rhythm, and the simple joy of banging a drum!