Posts Tagged ‘Percussion’

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Meinl Cajon Kit in Albania

September 20, 2014

This September (2014) I had the privilege of visiting a child feeding programme in Albania… the aim was to serve, encourage and inspire the local Albanian team… and to engage with the children and their families…

I had thought to do some percussion with the Kids… but there were two issues… 1. my percussion is big and heavy (baggage allowances were pretty small)… and 2. whatever I brought with me I wanted to leave behind.

I had already planned to bring some tuned percussion in the form of a BoomWhacker kit (Here at Thomann)… as this was a lightweight 25 piece kit…

So the idea was to build percussion in country… and we were advised not to assume that we could find the resources we needed there… so we needed to bring all that we needed

That’s were the Meinl Cajon Kit came in… a ‘flat pack’ Cajon.

Meinl Kit

Weighing in at 4kg it was ideal weight and size for transport… so ok I did have to bring some clamps, an awl, a screw driver, compression straps, sandpaper and glue… but by pre drilling and counter sinking the playing surface before I left no drill was necessary.

Meinl ConstructionArriving at our first overnight stop in Albania I started assembling the main body of the kit (gluing top, sides, back and front brace) before heading to bed and completed construction (snare, playing service and feet) after breakfast in the morning…

Back on the bus again… the first use of the (unsanded) cajon was at a staff meeting with the Albanian team…

I haven’t played a Cajon that much… but the highly reflective room we were in created a ‘huge’ sound… the bass notes had real body and depth. Folks sat up and took notice… and the Boom Whackers were a delight (our translator told us he was bewildered that he could ‘hear music’ before he realised that the tubes were ‘tuned’)

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Movement in worship was also part of our team – and the girls started with some pre-recorded music – but this started to be drowned out as more and more people started to participate… so I joined in on the Cajon… wow!  in a few moments the pulse of the drum was filling the room, providing a foundation for the dance that was developing…

Meinl FinishedI had to be careful – the Cajon had sharp edges (not sanded yet)… but the effect was dynamic… excellent!

The cajon had proved to be very effective…

After our two meetings of the first day I spent some time sanding the edges of the instrument, giving it a smooth safe playing surface.

The Cajon was a hit (pardon the pun) with the team in Albania and through the week various Kids and Adults gave it a go… and everyone has great fun.

Before our team left we wrote some Albanian phrases (suggested by the local kids) on the Cajon… their promises and prayers  for their village and country — te jene te lire (to live free), blessings on their families, faith, hope… each surface covered with words written in colourful sharpies… and as the drum is played, the sound will resonate through the words… carrying them through the villages and valleys of the places where it is played.

The Meinl Kit was easy to put together – it sounds good (though the snare sound could be a little better) – and it is easy to play… may it’s sound resound for you Albania….

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Psalm Drummers & Movement in Worship, Edinburgh Summer School 2012…

January 26, 2012

Back in July 2011, we had the pleasure of hosting friends (Psalm Drummers) from Northern Ireland who were supporting Movement in Worship events in the Highlands of Scotland. (And I still haven’t editing the video footage from this yet!)

Now there’s a superb opportunity to find out more and to learn about movement and percussion in worship this summer at the Edinburgh Summer School…

For more information, and to book yourself a place click on the image below…

Edinburgh Sum Scho 2012

Excerpt from the MIW website….

“An exciting collaboration between MIW and the Psalm Drummers!

The 2012 Summer School will explore the dynamics of worship and mission through movement and percussion.

Building on a devotional and Biblical foundation the school splits into two training streams, ‘Movement’ and ‘Percussion’. The ‘Movement’ stream includes intercessory and prophetic movement, an exploration of different dance styles and the use of props.

Through group work the ‘Percussion’ stream explores worship and intercession using different rhythms. Many types of hand drums and global percussion instruments are used.  New for 2012 we will be introducing a kit drum element to the Percussion stream.”

See you there?

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Drum Circle

November 18, 2011

We ran our third Drum Circle on Saturday evening following on from the fantastic gathering we had in July  facilitated by Simon Edwards, Psalm Drummers in Ireland.

About 15 people attended, and for some it was the first time that they had been at a drum circle.

Phil Moir facilitated the circle and directed us through a number of great exercises and games.  One of those at  the drum circle mentioned that days after the event she was still finding herself thinking of the “walk the doggie…” rhythm. (NB: if you don’t know “walk the doggie” come along to the next drum circle to find out)

Photo by Lee-Anne Maclennan

Phil devised a great ‘conductor’ game, with the room split into two groups frist he then other conducted the percussion with huge crescendos, to single punchy notes… he even had the room participate in a basic paradiddle.

It was amazing just how quickly everyone just jumped into the rhythms we were playing and the gentle, relaxed atmosphere encouraged everyone to experiment and play along.

There was laughter, with all sorts of percussion played, and great fun – the two hours simply evaporated.

Drum circles are a fun way into playing music together – everyone can beat a drum. Playing together encourages people to listen to each other, to follow the pulse of the rhythm, to be in a place of community each dependent on the other.

It was great to have a couple of folks in the circle who are dancers as there is a strong biblical association between dance and percussion.

“Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp.” Psalm 149

If you are interested in coming along to the next Drum Circle please drop me an email at andrew.gregg@gmail.comand let me know.

Photo by Lee-Anne Maclennan