Photographer's Note

This is part two of Drum Circles in San Francisco. What I love about this photo is the man on the left seems to be so into the sounds of the drums, he looked so happy and content. And the two next to him were really getting into the groove with the man holding the large hand held drum. I don't know if I will be posting more on this, but I wanted to tell you a few other things I saw (among many strange but cool things): The woman directly behind the men had changed her shirt at least 6 times while we were there watching the drum circle. She had no problems changing in front of everyone and no one seemed to care. San Francisco is a place of acceptance and freedom to be who you are without the reprisal of others. Below is more information on drum circles I got from the following website:

Have a GROOVY DAY everyone. PEACE AND LOVE to everyone at TE!!..........Buddy

Other forms of drumming that are related to drum circles include:

"Guided Interactive Drumming" - highly structured drumming-based programs that are led by an individual or group to reach non-musical goals.

"Drum Classes" - education-based drumming for the purposes of building musical skills and knowledge.

"Drum Ensembles" - performance-oriented drumming groups who practice and perform music on drums, often for dance.

"Clinical Improvisation" - a drumming group within a Music Therapy session, led by a certified Music Therapist.

Group Drumming with a Spiritual focus:

Neopagans have created another type of drum circle. At Neopagan festivals, people gather around a large bonfire, the drummers generally sitting on one side to encourage better listening. The musicians sit together and play while dancers dance and circle around the fire. Often, those present will stay and play throughout the night until dawn, treating the evening as a magical (or alchemical) working. Sound is not limited to drumming alone; there is also chanting, singing, poetry, and spoken word pieces. This type of drum circle is not usually facilitated.

Shamanic Drumming Circles:
This type of circle tends to center around Native American Cultural Drums and rattles but is primarily focusing on the spiritual rather than the musical aspects of the culture. They are a facilitated circle (This statement is questionable) but the leader is facilitating a shamanic journey type process rather than a musical event. Shamanic drumming is generally simple and repetitive, often considered as a form of prayer or method of trance induction, rather than as music or entertainment. During a shamanic trance or shamanic journey, the shaman uses the steady beat of the drum as a "lifeline" to find the way back to the world of ordinary consciousness. Note that in these cultures, the term "Drum Circle" would certainly not be used. Rather, the terms 'drumming ceremony" or "ceremonial drumming" would be more accurate.

Medicine Wheel Drumming and Prayer Ceremony:
Practiced by various groups, and outlined step by step in the book, "Finding Sanctuary in Nature: Simple Ceremonies in the Native American Tradition for Healing Yourself and Others," by Jim PathFinder Ewing (Findhorn Press, Scotland, 2007), (page 147), "the medicine wheel drum circle prayer ceremony" recognizes the four directions—east, south, west, north—as spiritual Powers that can help balance and heal. The ceremony has four rounds, with drumming by all participants at the instruction of the leader allowing the energy of each direction in each round to come into the circle to facilitate prayers and healing. It has been described as "like a sweat lodge without the sweat" (page 148, Finding Sanctuary). Ewing held these ceremonies each month for seven years, as outlined in the book, in addition to shamanic drum circles, and at various sites from coast to coast in the United States since the late 1990s. Groups based on his example and the instructions outlined in the book have resulted in other groups forming worldwide. Note: This description is not of a drum circle, in the sense that the term is commonly used. It is a drumming ceremony that takes place in a circle, but very different in content and form than a drum circle (improvised community drumming jam). This type should probably be listed under shamanic or spiritual drumming and not under drum circles.

Notable figures in the group drumming movement
Commercial drum circle groups and companies exist in most countries to serve various markets. There is also a growing body of people working in places such as hospitals, prisons, and hospices using drumming as a form of recreational and supportive music making. Music therapists often use various forms of group drumming (including improvised drumming) in their work to reach therapeutic goals and objectives.

Notable figures in the Group Drumming Movement:

Mickey Hart
Arthur Hull
Dave Holland

United Kingdom
Paul Dear/Rhythmbridge
John Walter/Drum Crazy
Steve Hill/Daftssaadrum

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Additional Photos by Buddy Denmark (PecoBud) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 408 W: 0 N: 912] (3824)
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