Primal. From the deepest recesses of our dinosaur brain, we know how to do it. It defies geography. Defies culture. Toddlers do it, along with their monkey cousins.
Beats and rhythm come from inside us, perhaps driven by the heartbeat. It’s spiritual – on an individual as well as communal level. Sometimes we hit the downbeat, content to be the backbone. Other times we need to be the backbeat, or find just the right break rhythm.
There is no wrong way to do it. How many activities are that foolproof?
Once again, i spent a portion of my New Year’s Eve at a houseparty. This year, after stumbling my way through a 5K “resolution run” at 8:00 pm. Despite being tired from my slog through darkened residential streets with 800 other folks who couldn’t get dates, i found sufficient energy to hit the dance floor around 10:30 and pogo* my way into the new year.
Three hours on the dance floor, interspersed with a little drum therapy. Magic. Especially the drumming. My friend keeps a collection of percussion instruments on hand – from conga drums, to maracas and bells. As the music spins, we either dance or drum. Or in my case, both.
If you’ve never done it, i recommend it. You don’t need lessons, you don’t need anything other than your hands. Put on some music and start to it. Close your eyes. Feel it. Being drunk or stoned isn’t necessary. Try different ways of hitting something to get different sounds. Different surfaces** make different noises, too.
But most therapeutic for me are the big drums. Yes, the rumors are true: daisyfae likes her big congas. So many variations on the sound, the feel. i’d like to be faster. i’d like to be more consistent. But it really doesn’t matter. It feels great. Among other plans for 2010, i’m thinking there be some luscious congas in my future…
* One of my favorite things about this party is that there is no countdown. No one glued to a television, watching a ball glide down a pole to signal the start of the festivities. We’re already dancing. Somewhere around midnight? Someone eventually notices that we’re there… Last night? DJ handed out bottles of champagne in the middle of a Scissors Sisters song (“Take Your Momma Out”), but we waited for it to finish… DJ made the announcement, while the music continued… and we danced on…
** My dog makes a particularly satisfying drum. He has a great “chest thump”, and as long as i don’t get carried away, he likes to be drummed. Leather furniture is good, too…