HUMANS of DJEMBE – Part 20 – Jeremy Prentice ( Melbourne)


“Like so many of us, I was very drawn to play the djembe, while not knowing a thing about it! I saw it performed and thought “yeah, I’d like to do that!”

so I did – for one term, and then stopped.
Looking back, I have deduced that I probably stopped out of fear – of what I’m still not sure, though quite possibly it was related to the depth of self-expression djembe requires from us. One has to be very ready for that sort of personal challenge and growth, and I suspect I wasn’t yet.

Six months later I saw djembe on stage again and this time it was a visceral reaction: it was like someone grabbing and pulling the front of my t-shirt; and the accompanying feeling was that I had to play djembe, I couldn’t not play djembe any more.  So begin again I did, and haven’t stopped since.

That was just over 10 years ago now, and I can wholeheartedly say djembe has changed my life completely. Since then I have been lucky enough to share and teach the music, perform with some awesome ensembles and fellow djembefola, travel to Africa, and since mid-2010 work full time in a dynamic business based on djembe and its’ family.

Somewhere along the path I realised that drumming is my meditation, my way; always challenging the concepts of my self, continually offering opportunities to connect with others, and relentlessly demanding the fullness of my self without shying away or stepping back into the shadows.

And that last point is the real kicker for me: honest, unapologetic expression of self, while being fully engaged with the people and environment around you; all guided by the laws of love and respect, being humble and celebrating greatness; it’s a daily, life-long challenge: one that demands everything you have and then some, and one that delivers it all back hundred-fold and more. That’s how I know djembe is – and always will be – my Way”