Fundraiser a huge success!

The Solstice Dance/Drum Potluck raised $551.25 with 55 + folks contributing to sending a lucky child to a traditional Tibetan school in the Amdo Region of Tibet. Jessica had the whole hall shaking and grooving, our wonderful dun dun players laid down a most amazing back beat and the drum circle energy was powerful indeed! Not to mention the fact that the food was delicious, and I do love a potluck!
Thanks to everyone who came out to make merry - as far as I'm concerned, that was my Christmas "family dinner" and the best gift anyone could receive for the holidays. I feel truly blessed! Hope to see you all drumming in the New Year...


Upcoming Rhythm, Drum and Dance Event/Fundraiser

Mark your calendars! You won't want to miss this one!
Monica's annual Solstice Drum & Potluck event will look a little different this year - thanks to friend and colleague Jessica Wittman, not only will we be drumming, eating and making merry but we will be dancing as well! Jessica is a popular Zumba instructor here in the Valley, and this year the two of us are teaming up to turn the Solstice Event into an even larger fundraiser than usual.
In past years at Solstice gatherings, Monica's drumming students and families have contributed at the door to providing clean water for an entire village in Tanzania and to supporting families' urban farming efforts in South Africa. This year Monica and Jessica are hoping to raise enough funds to send a Tibetan child to a traditional Tibetan school, and to supply this student with all of the winter clothing and educational needs he/she will have for a year - please go to www.taracafeproject.ca FMI. Since I put the call out for this fundraising effort a number of weeks ago, some of you have already generously donated to the cause (if you would like to be recognized by name when we make the donation to the Tara Cafe Project, please donate by cheque made out to "The Tara Cafe Project") - if you can't make it to the Solstice Event, please consider donating nevertheless: you can even donate in someone else's name and make it a wonderful Christmas present!
As usual, to cut back on our environmental footprint, please bring your own cutlery, cup & plate, as well as enough finger food goodies to feed a rather large group of hungry movers and shakers, warm clothes in case we make it outdoors for a spiral dance (a candle in a jar wouldn't hurt either), and loads of good cheer! We will drum and dance for about an hour, and enjoy each other's company while loading up on delicious calories for the the other hour (by the way: if I haven't mentioned it before, I DO love a potluck! )!!
This event takes place Monday, December 19th from 6 - 8 pm at the Fallen Alders Hall on Royston Road, and is a family event.



Tibetan Musician Jamyang Yeshi to visit the Comox Valley

A couple of years ago I had the great pleasure of hearing Jamyang Yeshi perform at MusicFest. Seeing his film and hearing his voice was an emotional experience - nowhere, I guarantee, have you heard a voice quite like this one! I am bringing Jamyang to the Valley for two performances, both by invitation only. If you are interested, please contact me. There is a lot of information on the Tara Cafe Project website about Jamyang and the project itself, which promotes and supports Tibetan musicians both inside and outside of Tibet, as well as supporting children's education projects. It is very worthwhile to have a look at the website (www.taracafeproject.ca).  In a nutshell, Jamyang managed to flee Tibet (leaving his family behind), spent some years in India and by a twist of fate landed in Canada. He now lives on Vancouver Island and is building a life for himself and his family. The film he will be showing is the story of how, with the help of friends, he overcame a myriad of obstacles to be reunited with his family after years of no contact. Jamyang has graciously accepted my invitation to speak to and perform for my students at Beachcombers, and to do two evening performances on October 28 and 29. I know that his audiences will be inspired and touched, and it is my hope that Jamyang will benefit from these performances as well - both financially and from the exposure to fresh audiences that have not had the pleasure of hearing him sing before. Again, please email me at drumdeva@gmail.com if you are interested in attending - seating is limited.


Good News! Robin Layne offers dance as well

Robin Layne will also offer a Salsa Dance workshop, 4:30 - 5:30 pm at the Fallen Alders after the drumming workshops. $20 for the dance workshop, still $40 for any two, or $50 for all three. Please pre register with Monica.



Drum Workshops in Latin Rhythms and Funk Grooves with Robin Layne of Tambura Rasa are a go!!

1:30 - 3 pm & 3 - 4:30 pm.

October 23rd.

Fallen Alders Hall, Royston Rd.

$25/workshop or $40/both.

PLEASE PRE REGISTER by emailing me asap @ drumdeva@gmail.com - payment will be at the door (I trust that if you pre-register, you will show up!)

*******There is the possibility of a Salsa Dancing workshop to follow (same day) - anyone interested?*********


Robin Layne returns for "Latin Rhythms Part II" !!

Those of you who participated in Robin's workshop a few months ago will attest to the fact that is was an awful lot of FUN! And exciting new rhythms were learned, too! Robin, percussionist with the amazing group Tambura Rasa,  is a great teacher and everyone is welcome to join in, whether or not you participated in Part I !
Robin will be giving two workshops, in much the same format as last time:
 Latin Rhythms Workshop II
Taking up where Latin Rhythms left off, this will be a dynamic workshop focused on exploring the folkloric rhythms of Cuba.  You will learn the techniques of conga drumming (on your djembe, or bring a conga drum), and popular rhythms such as marcha, bomba, columbia, and guanguanco.  A review of samba rhythms covered last time will also be presented.  No previous experience with latin rhythms necessary, some drumming experience recommended.  
Funk Grooves and Solo phrases 
Learn some funky grooves that can be played with other drummers or at a jam.  Learn about improvising together to create your own grooves and how to solo.  Robin will share a variety of two or three part grooves for Djembe that are great for jamming.  Several solo phrases will be taught to start building up a vocabulary on the drum.  Gain confidence and improvise together with guidance to co-create a groove.   All drummers welcome! 
Date for these workshops will be October 23rd. Time, venue and cost TBA. Keep checking back here for more info in the weeks to come.


Ubaka Hill leaves a lasting impression!

Well, we knew we were in for a treat - but we got so much more! It was absolutely amazing to be in the presence of this wonderful, soulful, soul-filled, spirited and positive woman - and what's more, we are all now "Sonic Facilitators" and "Master Drummers" at our own personal levels! With enough intention being sent out to the Universe, we will hopefully see her back here soon. Thank you, Ubaka! And thanks to all the participants who came from near and far - leave a comment here with regards to your workshop "journey" if you feel so inspired!

Playing for Change

This in from Jerzy in Campbell River:

Drummers, Dancers, Creators of a Better Future
Join us for a global Playing For Change Day drum circle on Saturday, September 17th at the Simms Park Pavilion in Courtenay, noon to 1:30 p.m. to support the Playing For Change Foundation which through music brings positive social change and hope to communities where hope is needed most.
I will be facilitating this circle - hope to see you all there!

Joy Burst a Success!

Check out the video (thank you Bob Huddart!) for last Saturday's flash mob-style Joy Burst! What fun!
If you'd like to be on Roberta's email list to be kept in the loop about future Joybursting in the Comox Valley, go to: www.joybursting.blogspot.com or email her at joyfreemove@hotmail.com.



Ubaka Hill at the Fallen Alders tomorrow, September 11th Sunday
2:30 - 5:30 pm
with vegetarian potluck to follow.
Please contact Monica if you are interested in joining last minute.


German for Beginners

Even though this has nothing directly to do with drumming, I'm taking the opportunity to make a little plug for my Beginners German class, starting September 27th. If you've ever felt like you'd like to learn a new language in a fun and supportive environment, this may be the class for you. Check it out! Viel Spass! Register through Courtenay Rec (250.338.5371 or 250.338.1000).



PLEASE NOTE: the date of the Ubaka Hill workshop(s) is SEPTEMBER 11, not September 1 as the CV Record printed. FMI on this workshop, scroll down! Cheers!


Register Now! Rare Opportunity to Participate in Ubaka Hill Workshop!

Mark your calendars: on September 11, from 2:30 - 5:30 pm (note time change) at the Fallen Alders Hall on Royston Road, Comox Valley rhythm and drum enthusiasts have an exciting and rare opportunity to participate in a unique workshop, facilitated by the amazing Ubaka Hill, who is coming all the way from New York via Vancouver to share her time and energy with us. Ubaka is a visionary: she is a performer, composer, songwriter, recording artist, motivational speaker, conference weaver, and teacher of hand drumming workshops whose soul-vision and intention is to facilitate and inspire personal transformation, empowerment, healing and joy with music that moves you. For more information on Ubaka, visit:  http://www.ubakahilldrumsong.com/ubaka_hill_bio.html
Ubaka's 3 hour workshop will be divided into two parts: 
The first section, "Drumsong: The Art and Spirit of Drumming", is a fun and empowering exploration of the art and spirit of drumming that fosters individual ability and authentic self-expression, offering you a  pathway to connect with the power of your own, personal inner rhythm.  You will learn complete drum songs rooted in various cultural and contemporary rhythmic styles and patterns and there will be a  focus on developing and improving playing techniques and rhythmic ability for community drumming circles. This is an exploration of the foundations of the universal language of drumming, rhythm and pulse, time and tone - you will experience the spirit of drumming and the unifying, energizing, and revitalizing effects of individual and group/ensemble playing, improvising, and singing.  
The second section, "Drumming: Beyond the Edge",  is an experiential journey that explores the impact and relationship of sound frequencies on our energetic states of well-being and growth. We will explore ways to integrate the drum, rattles, and other sounding forms for transformative healing. We will learn ways to raise, hold and direct sound frequencies to revitalize and inspire health and balance of one's whole being. 
Pre-registration for these workshops is absolutely necessary, and spaces will likely fill quickly. FMI and to hold your space, please contact Monica at drumdeva@gmail.com or 250.338.1444. The cost for this amazing opportunity is on a sliding scale of $40 - $80 - we would like this workshop to be accessible to as many people as possible and trust that you will donate what you can honestly afford. Following the workshop(s) there will also be an opportunity to share in a light potluck dinner in Ubaka's company.
This is a wonderful way to start our fall season of drumming - please register asap to hold your spot!


July 23 Tsolum Building/CRA drumming cancelled

Sorry to have to inform you that due to low registration the July 23 drum workshop through the CRA at the Tsolum Building has been cancelled. Everyone welcome to join in on the same day in the afternoon, starting at 1:30 pm, at the Lighthouse Community Hall in Qualicum Bay though...


Lettin' Loose Choir Reunites!

Friday, July 22nd from 6 - 8 pm at the Fanny Bay Hall, the Lettin' Loose choir reunites for a potluck feast and big sing! All former members and anyone else interested in raising their voice in song in a circle of wonderful, supportive and sometimes mischievous folk is welcome to join in on the merriment! Finger food only to share please, and bring your own utensils, plates, etc. By donation for hall rental.



Just a friendly reminder: On July 23 there will be drumming at the Lighthouse Community Hall in Qualicum Bay! An "everyone welcome" drum workshop (which will be fun for both the novice and the more experienced!) runs 1:30 - 3:00 pm, and is followed by a HealthRHYTHMS workshop from 3:15 - 4:15 pm. The cost is $25 for the drum workshops, $15 for HealthRHYTHMS or $35 for both. FMI: contact Monica at drumdeva@gmail.com or 250.338.1444
Keep scrolling down for more exciting news about upcoming drumming events, including the Ubaka Hill workshop in September!


Ubaka Hill to visit Comox Valley! - DATE CHANGE

EXCITING NEWS! Mark your calendars - on September 11th, the official beginning of the fall drumming season, Ubaka Hill, performer, composer, songwriter, recording artist, motivational speaker, conference weaver, teacher and facilitator of hand drumming workshops for more than 25 years, will be offering a 3 hour long workshop at the Fallen Alders Hall on Royston Road (3:00 - 6:00 pm). Ubaka's soul-vision and intention is to facilitate and inspire personal transformation, empowerment, healing and joy with music that moves you. For more information on Ubaka and the amazing things she does and has to offer, visit:  http://www.ubakahilldrumsong.com/ubaka_hill_bio.html
Following the workshop, participants are welcome to remain for a potluck feast and sharing with Ubaka! This is an opportunity to chat with Ubaka, to share your experience of the workshop, and to indulge in good food and great company. Please note, if you plan on staying for and contributing to the potluck, that Ubaka is vegetarian...
The cost for this workshop will be on a sliding scale $40 - $80 - pay what you can! We want this workshop to be accessible to as many as possible and appreciate your honesty in contributing! Pre-registration is absolutely necessary. At this point, the only option is to pay me (Monica) directly, cash or cheque - FMI please contact Monica at drumdeva@gmail.com. However, if you prefer to wait, there will be a paypal option posted on Ubaka's website soon.
And please visit this blog often for updates to this post - much more information on the workshop itself forthcoming!


Why drum?

Percussion instruments were the first musical tools people created for use in group music making. They comprise the largest family of instruments, and virtually every culture on earth has some form of drumming. People all over the world use drums to celebrate life, explore their creativity, and unite in rhythm. One of the best reasons to use drums is that they are accessible to people of all ages and abilities – the drum is a user-friendly instrument that everyone can play.
Other reasons why drumming has been important in cultures all over the world, from ancient times through to the present day, are:
-Drumming is inclusive; it creates a common ground for novices and experts, young and old, disabled and able-bodied.
-Drumming allows self-expression - it is a medium of non-verbal creativity.
-Drumming allows communication across cultures, ages, and abilities; it brings people together for an amazing experience in inspiration and connection.         

-Drumming releases stress; it is proven to relieve tension and enhance the immune system.

While drumming, we integrate body, mind and spirit and at the same time subconsciously release negative feelings and emotional blockages. Drumming helps alleviate stress that is created from hanging on to the past or worrying about the future. When one plays a drum, one is placed squarely in the here and now.
Our lives are full of rhythm and drumming helps us to experience being in resonance with the natural rhythms of life.  We can learn “to flow” with the rhythms of life by simply learning to feel the beat, pulse, or groove while drumming.


Solstice Drum/Potluck June 20th

Current and past students of Monica's drumming classes are welcome to join in on a drum circle and potluck feast, 6 - 8 pm June 20th at the Fallen Alders Hall on Royston Road! As usual, families most welcome and donations will be taken to cover the hall rental and the rest for a donation to a worthy cause on Global Giving! Please bring your own utensils, plates, and cups and a finger food item to share with the crowd! This will be the perfect finish to a long weekend of drumming! And an awesome, energy-filled start to the summer!


June 18th @ Innisfree Farm and June 19th @ Anderton Therapeutic Gardens

Two more opportunities to drum with Monica:
June 18th (following the ADFA Fundraiser and Robin's workshops - pfew!), 6:30 pm at Innisfree Farm on Trent Rd (Royston), by donation - a potluck and fundraiser to get wheelchair access into the Gardens Without Borders gardens at the farm. You can walk their labyrinth too!
Or come to the Anderton Therapeutic Gardens (on the way out to the Little River Ferry) at 6 pm the next day, June 19th, and join Monica in a quieter form of drumming, to accompany a walk through their lovely labyrinth following a presentation on the meaning of the form.

Drum All Day June 18th! - Rare Workshop Opportunity

Rhythm enthusiasts and drummers of every type and all ability levels will not want to miss this special event coming to the Comox Valley. Robin Layne, founding member of Jarimba, an Afro-Funk Collective, and percussionist with roots/blues artist Bocephus King and world fusion group Tambura Rasa, will be offering two exciting workshops to anyone interested in expanding their drumming repertoire or simply curious about Central and South American rhythms.
Robin has performed across China, the U.S. and Canada at jazz and folk festivals and besides freelancing with a wide range of ensembles from salsa and jazz to traditional West and South African music, he is an educator who loves sharing his passion for music and rhythm with people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities. He is on the faculty of the Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach Program, where he teaches mallets and percussion, and the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts where he accompanies dance.  Robin is a graduate of the L.A. Music Academy and V.C.C. School of Music.  His love for world music has taken him to Cuba where he studied with the Folclorico Nacional Ballet Cutumba and most recently to Guinea and Mali to study their traditional music and culture, funded in part by the BC Arts Council.
Join Robin after the Day For Africa fundraiser being held at the St John the Divine Church hall on June 18th for workshops in Latin Rhythms and Samba/Funk. The Latin Rhythms workshop runs from 1:30 – 3:00 pm. In this workshop, you will learn the basics of Afro-Cuban rhythms and how to play the conga parts on djembe (or conga if you have them!).  From the clave, to tumbao and rumba, you'll have a blast discovering the rhythms behind the music of Salsa.  The second half of this workshop will focus on soloing concepts and how to build your rhythmical vocabulary while opening up to your inner rhythm through improvising.  Aside from djembes and congas, bells, claves, shakers, or other small percussion are welcome. In the Samba Funk workshop, from 3:00 – 4:30 pm, you will be transported to the rhythms of Northern Brazil, and will learn samba patterns, samba-reggae grooves, breaks of the Batucada and a variety of funk rhythms that are great for jamming on the djembe.  Bring your djembe, shakers, bells, or any other drum you might have.  These will be fun, energetic sessions for players of all levels; the cost is $25/workshop or $40 for both.
These workshops are sponsored by Monica Hofer, local African hand drumming teacher and drum circle facilitator; pre-registration is necessary and drums are available for rent upon request. Don’t miss this rare opportunity! On June 18th you can literally drum, dance and sing all day long by joining Monica and Robin, as well as Joanna Finch and Jade de Trey at the Day For Africa fundraiser and then stay in the groove by participating in these exciting workshops.  FMI and to pre-register, please contact Monica at 250.338.1444 or drumdeva@gmail.com


A Day For Africa, June 18th

At the end of 2009, 33.3 million people were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS.  Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most affected by HIV and AIDS and is home to 68% of all people living with HIV worldwide. The question is: when faced with such staggering statistics, what can we who are blessed to live here in the beautiful Comox Valley do to help? The answer is as close as our very own, home-grown “A Day For Africa”, a community-based fundraising program that supports people affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Donations to A Day For Africa, whether they be generated on actual volunteer “odd-job days” or at other local fundraising events, are collected and forwarded to the Stephen Lewis Foundation where they fund grassroots initiatives in countries throughout the sub-Saharan region. In short, A Day for Africa gives concerned individuals a way to respond to an urgent situation and provides people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa with the resources they need to take care of themselves.
Inspired by a previous, very successful fundraising effort for ADFA - with a midsummer, community drum circle at the Farmer’s Market – Monica Hofer of Rhythm Spirit (http://rhythm-spirit.blogspot.com) decided this year to put the word out to fellow expressive arts facilitators that a larger event was in order. The result is an amazing collaborative effort.
On Saturday, June 18th join Monica and her co-facilitators Robin Layne, percussionist with the gypsy/folk band “Tambura Rasa” (imported from Vancouver), Joanna Finch, a Valley favourite and vocal improviser extraordinaire, and Jade de Trey, local improvisational performer with Methuselah Dance and teacher of creative movement, as they inspire you to drum, dance and sing for Africa.
Monica, who is a well-known local African hand drumming instructor, will start the event off with a community drum circle, created in the moment and sure to have you joyfully engaged and in the groove in no time. Robin will then transport you to the rhythms of Northern Brazil, incorporating the sounds of a variety of instruments such as shakers and bells and whetting your appetite with some “Samba/Funk”. Spontaneously entering the mix,  Joanna and Jade will lead you in an improvised chakra dance and “songweaving from the voice of the ancestors”, where all participants add their voice in the language of their choice and are inspired to move from their soul and find passion and joy through creative self expression.
This ADFA fundraiser takes place at the St John the Divine Church hall on 5 th Street, a venue graciously donated by Father George and his congregation, and will run from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Participation is by donation with all proceeds going to the Stephen Lewis Foundation via A Day for Africa. This is an “everyone welcome” event; you are encouraged to bring your own drums and rhythms instruments (a number will be available for shared use), an open mind and a generous heart – and be prepared to share in the magic of making music and moving (bare feet encouraged) in community! Following this event, Robin Layne will be offering two drumming workshops (Latin Rhythms and Samba/Funk). For more information on the fundraiser and workshops, please contact Monica at 250.338.1444 or drumdeva@gmail.com


A Day For Africa Fundraiser

Mark June 18th on your calendars! Monica's annual A Day For Africa fundraiser has grown and will take place this year at the St John the Divine Church hall in Courtenay on 5th Street, starting at 11 am. Details TBA, but there will be a community drum circle (with Monica of Rhythm Spirit), followed by a Samba/Funk rhythm "appetizer" (with Robin Layne of Tambura Rasa -see next post!) and other surprises to round out the event by about 1 pm. This event is by donation and all proceeds will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation (www.stephenlewisfoundation.org) via A Day For Africa (www.adayforafrica.com). Last year drummers and rhythm enthusiasts at the Wednesday Farmer's Market in Courtenay raised well over $300 in just one hour - this year's goal is to at least double that! Watch for more info in coming posts...


Next Big Sing

The next scheduled Big Sing at Creekside (April 15)  has, once again, had to be postponed. Please check back to find out more about when we shall next meet to raise our collective voice in song!


Cumberland Heritage Fair

A dedicated and enthusiastic group of drummers will be performing at the Cumberland Heritage Fair on Saturday, Feb 19th at approx. 1:30 pm. Come out to the CRI (Rec Centre - on the way out of town going towards Comox Lake) to support your friends and fellow drummers, and to see djembes and dununs (bass drums) together in action!


Next Big Sing

FYI: Next Big Sing at Creekside is February 18th, 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Please contact Monica for details. Come one, come all!