Art & Music
The First Drum Circle (Thursday, May 7th)
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Last month, Leslie Kolovich invited me to a drum circle at her house. I was both equal parts excited and apprehensive—what would it be like? What could I expect?
I arrived about 20 minutes before we were supposed to begin. I greeted everyone and Leslie asked that I write down some names of people that I would like to lift up for this evening’s drum circle. I wrote down a few names and at the end included the people in Nepal who had recently been affected by the earthquake.
Leslie asked that we bring our own drums, so I brought my sister’s djembe that she bought when she was in Cameroon, and a stumpfiddle that I made. I set the instruments down in the middle of the circle where everyone else had placed their rhythm instruments; there was a whole assortment of drums—large, small, tall, squatty. Other rhythm instruments included bells, hand cymbals, frogs, rhythm sticks, egg shakers, Tibetan singing bowls, and maracas.
As the clock approached six, we formed a circle in the family room downstairs. Leslie greeted everyone and then Jaime, a local musician and probably the most experienced drummer in the room, explained that we would be drumming for 108 minutes straight, and that it was going to be a freestyle drum circle with no central leader, but one where the group would ebb and flow on its own whim.
He then asked us a question. “How many of you are drummers?” A few hands went up. “How many of you are think you’re not drummers?” Most of the hands in the room shot up—for many of us, this was our first time at a drum circle. With a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes, he said, “Well, I think you’re going to prove me differently by the end of the evening.”
We then went around the room and shared our names, and why we were here this evening. I told everyone that I was there to listen with an unclouded heart. Among the other 21 drummers, many mentioned being there to find harmony or love. One lady said she was there to heal a broken heart. Another person said that there was a lot of hurt going on, and she wanted to lift up peace to the world.
After going around the room Shantaya, a local yoga instructor, began playing on her box accordion and lead the group in a mantra. After a few minutes, Jaime began playing his drum; with a deep bass thump and steady rhythm that resonated throughout the room, most of us began nodding to the beat. After another minute or so, a lady from across the room joined in on her drum, somewhat unsteady and unsure at first, but soon slipped into a rhythm paralleling Jaime’s drumming. One by one, everyone else in the circle joined in. Shantaya stopped playing the box accordion and the percussive beat of drums filled the room. Ba-boomp, ba-da-boomp, ba-da-boomp, ba-da-boomp. Ba-boomp.
The group began with this really heavy throbbing drumbeat, and then the beat changed. Three beat time switched to four beat time and cycled back again. Each person was a thread, a thread of frayed and loose sound that rapidly intertwined with others, spun wildly with others; came together freely, completely designless and free. Rhythms wove throughout the room, the warp and the woof formed a fabric of sound, enveloped us in a warm and palpable blanket of rhythm.
Towards the end, I wanted to take a break, so I left the circle. I grabbed a cup of water and a slice of watermelon and went outside to the porch. The last hours of sunlight hung in the sky and reflected off the nearby dune lake. I listened: Crick, crick, chirpity-crick, chirp, chirp. Nature has its own rhythm, and I could hear the beating of the drums mixing with the night sounds. I thought to myself: crickets and frogs sing their song every day, and if only we could do the same thing and not be held back by society and cultural inhibitions and just live our lives and create music!
I came back in the room and looked at the drums spread out all higglety-pigglety on the floor like toys in a child’s room. Playing drums, playing music.
I looked around the room—every one person had their own instrument that they were playing and yet, collectively, we were creating music together. Each cricket rubbing its individual legs yet together forming a chorus, each ant grasping its own leaf yet together feeding the whole colony, each butterfly flapping its own wings yet together migrating southward…Interdependence. To create your own rhythm and sync it with others—it’s not just humanity, it’s life!
Not long after I sat down, Shantaya began to squeeze the bellows on her box accordion and the drummers began to slow down and fade out, recognizing that we had been playing for almost two hours straight.
Shantaya soon stopped playing and the room sat in silence. After listening to almost two hours of loud, rhythmic, pulsing, pulsating, beating drums and then to have a moment of silence? It really was deafening, audible—I heard the sound of silence. It spoke to me as much as the drumbeats. Sometimes the absence of something is just as important as the presence of something. When you have a cup, that which is not is what forms the usefulness of a cup. We drink from the hollow section and the cup is just a container. Even drums need a shell or a resonance chamber to allow the vibrations to spread through the air. Eardrum, sound, house, cup. That which is useful is not.
Five or ten minutes passed with us sitting in silence and breathing in each other’s presence. Leslie concluded the evening and the group was in agreeance that this was truly a special evening and that the drum circle should continue.
The next drum circle is Thursday, July 9th, from 6-8 pm Central Time and will meet every 2nd Thursday of the month at that time. You can watch the drumming sessions on YouTube. Hope to see you there!
Monday after the Summer Solstice drumming circle by Leslie Kolovich
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I am sitting in my basement studio early this morning. The sun coming through the windows is making interesting shadow patterns on the white rug. I close my eyes and I can still hear the beat, the rhythm from Saturday nights Solstice drum circle. This room continues to have a vibration from 17 drummers who joined together to welcome inner Solstice. It soothes me. It brings me into Monday with a calm feeling.
Each drum circle is unique. The music is never the same. This event brought 12 new people to the session, each sharing an expression from their soul. For some, the drumming was a brand new experience, and others it was a long overdue reunion with the drum.
I continue to be amazed how drum circles evolve. It reminds me of a ocean wave beginning to form way off shore. Slowly building gathering volume, height and suddenly all the water within the wave is synchronized forming this beautiful perfect roll. But then from the glory of the peak it falls apart. Water goes where it wants to go. Keeping close to the main wave, but nonetheless as it falls from the crest it creates what seems like pure chaos. Then water makes it’s way towards the shore much smaller and fragmented. However, once it hits the beach, touches the ground it returns back to the open ocean pulling together another synchronized wave is formed. Some waves last longer than others, but one thing we know is that waves will never give up. Even on very flat water days there is always motion and rhythm in the ocean.
Drumming with a group is a great teacher for our daily lives. We learn to feel the power of synchronizing with others. The thrill of when the entire group is connected is spectacular. We learn to feel patience when the group seems to break off into pure chaos. We let it flow knowing we will join back when the time for gathering again is needed. We learn to support each other, share, and most of all respect that there is no wrong way to play your soul’s expression of rhythm.
On this Monday after the Summer Solstice drum circle I go forward with this renewal, with a new understanding of myself, and my connection to others through many cycles of rhythm.
Healing Peace, Love and Drumming ~Leslie Kolovich
***This drum circle will meet every 2nd Thursday of the month starting July 9th 6-8pmcst.
Cover photo credit: Caroling Wholeo Geary
You can watch our drumming session on Youtube
Hey there I am Leslie Kolovich. Im here to tell you about this week’s Live show with guest singer-songwriter Chanucy Crandall. Chauncy has 2 albums, “Every Song Is About You” and his latest release called “Breakdown”. In his new release his musical style covers country rock, bluegrass, folk and a bit of reggae. I am so looking forward to hearing the stories behind his powerful soulful lyrics and listening to him play Live in my studio on Thursday night March 5th, 7-10pm central. Tune in for the live webcast on www.hounddogradio.net for this unique live music experience.
Peace, Love & Music~
Hey there I am Leslie Kolovich! Last night I had the opportunity to go back to my roots (at least my radio roots) alone in the studio, but not for long! As many of you know I have been doing talk radio shows since 2005, and I’ve interviewed some incredible people over those years and thats what I love doing! This new show from my basement studio will be a showcase for musicians, songwriters and artists with in-depth interviews and unplugged sessions. Enjoy these 5 previously recorded interviews from the 5th Annual 30A Songwriters Festival in 2014 starting off with Kazoots, Jeep Rosenberg, Webb Wilder and Sterling Fletcher. I also throw in a special pre-recorded interview I did with Geoff McBride from 2013. Wow a Star Studded night from my basement studio! Next week March 5th Live from the Basement is Chauncy Crandall. To be a part of the Studio Audience please message me here.
Peace, Love & Music
Hey there I am Leslie Kolovich! Thursday night we saw some of the coldest temperatures here in the panhandle of Florida. It was Thursday night open stage jam with Nic Turner & Friends at The Green Door Studio Pub and people were having a hard time getting out from under layers of blankets and wishes of having real fireplaces. BUT, the musicians came out, plugged in and brought us another night of incredible music!
Dino Lourdi, my favorite musician from Bali with an infectious smile and passion for music started us off with his smoldering smooth voice and guitar! Next up we had John Wolcott from Omaha Nebraska, and like most people visiting Florida from the northern states for the winter he came in shorts and shoes without socks! He took stage, played original songs and turned up the heat! Great reefer song fyi! Then Joe Fingas on keyboard stepped up with his jam guys including the amazing Josh Carter on guitar, and Cole Trickle on drums and John on bass, the thermostat once again was pushed up, these guys jammed it big time! Next up was the incredible Soul Innerface! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this trio of Aaron Smith, Jeff Pybus and Cole Trickle! Aaron Smith sings original tunes with such soul with a sound that is so unique one could listen all night! The good news is they will be performing at The Green Door for a solo show on February 27th.
Next up was a Daniel Ciffer from Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He has only been in Florida for 5 months, and wait until you hear his voice and lyrics to original songs, impressive! I’m looking forward to hearing more from him! We had another first timer on the stage with Anne Marie singing “Sitting on the dock of the bay”with Dino playing acoustic! Awesome! Looking forward to hearing more from this talented singer! The night ended with everyone on stage for one final jam! Plus MzSoul Stephanie Helms from Okaloosa Sound announcing over the weekend she received a ticket straight to the semi-finals in the McDonalds Sound Off Competition in Shreveport, Louisiana. Thousands auditioned and 250 top vocalist were selected. We will all be able to say we knew her when….So happy for you girl! Lots of Love and break a leg on February 22nd knock em out girl!
Peace, Love & Music!
Enjoy the full show now!