Day-to-day goings on include: Teaching, Development, Accounts, Customer Care
Favourite Part of the Job: Building and connecting communites
Plays: Djembe, dunun, kit, bell, shekere…
My life long journey into rhythm started completely by accident. In my first year of high school learning an instrument was compulsory, and having started and dropped out of learning the piano at primary school, as the selection sheet went around the room I thought to myself “What instrument is the most different from piano?”. Looking at the sheet in front of me I took a stab in the dark and selected “drumkit”, an instrument that was completely mysterious and unknown to me. How do you make music with drums?
Throughout high school the drums became my solace. My get away from the complications of boarding school life. My place to clear my head of all worries and get lost in the empowerment and flow of creating rhythm. This developed into connection with others as I began to meet other musicians and started jamming with them creating music. I loved the way drums came alive when played with other instruments and how they could create a new feeling that was bigger then the sum of its parts.
Then one day, again completely by accident, I stumbled across a djembe at a party and was intrigued by the number of different sounds created by just one drum. I quickly knew that I would be investigating this drum further, and after university when I moved to Auckland I decided I was in the right place to search out and study more about this instrument.
I sought out lessons and connected with the drumming community up there, initially with the intention to take what I learnt and adapt it to kit, but I quickly fell in love with Djembe and African drumming in its own right. The communion of connecting with and creating music with other drummers. The freedom to explore rhythm and push against the edges. The simplicity to get started, but absolute depth to keep exploring. I became involved in performance groups, recorded an album, and formed some of my most cherished friendships along the way.
These days I offer this experience to others through teaching African drumming. I continue to be blown away by hand drumming’s ability to allow people to experience the magical connection of creating music with others within an incredibly short amount of time. I also use this as a tool to teach communication and social skills to at risk youth, as well as employing it to great effect in the community development sector.
I first met Simon Fraser in 2016, We quickly bonded over our love of African music, and after some discussions around the challenged of getting quality African instruments in New Zealand, decided to work together to bring quality goods to New Zealand shores at a cheeper price point than ever before.
The result was the African Drumming NZ venture that you see before you.