The sound of the drum January 25, 2009Posted by Peter Hornby in laguna beach, local, music.
There’s quite a drumming community in the Laguna Beach area. Especially during summer at the beach, it’s hard to miss the groups of people sitting in circles, generating fine rhythmic grooves with their djembes and dun duns, shakers, tambourines and whatever else can be persuaded to make a noise when you hit it.
I’ve been interested in rhythm all my life, but I only became seriously involved in drumming when Lorraine presented me with the gift of a set of lessons with an inspiring local drummer and teacher called Greg White. Greg plays regular drums in bands, but he’s also trained in African and Indian drum techniques, and it’s African drumming that we explore in the sessions we’ve been having at the house for the last five years or so. I bought a djembe early on, Greg brings his, and we have a blast. A noisy blast, to be sure, but the neighbors have told us they don’t mind, so we’re OK.
Greg’s wired into the local drum scene, which is diverse, active and enthusiastic. We’ve played in the Laguna Beach Patriots Day parade, representing the very cool Sageman Drums, our local dealer of drums and drum paraphernalia. We’ve sat in on the summer drum circles at Main Beach, impressing the locals and the passing tourists with our energy. Still, the key year-round drumming action in Laguna Beach centres around a gentleman called Billy Fried, and his Full Moon drum circle at Aliso Beach, a couple of miles south of town.
Billy is a local entrepreneur who runs La Vida Laguna, a company offering kayak tours of the local coastline. He’s also very visible in the community, trying to gently redirect Laguna Beach towards the kind of people-friendly values it used to have. Every month, Billy puts the word out, and we head down to Aliso Beach for the Full Moon drum circle. It’s a great evening. Someone starts a fire in one of the beach firepits, and the group forms around it. There’s sometimes a leader, sometimes not, some people are drumming, some are dancing, some are just watching and absorbing. In the summer, there are grills and people bring food to share. It’s a wonderfully warm and energizing way to spend an evening.
The next Full Moon drum circle is Monday, February 9.