Even from an early age I had been “musical” but never had the discipline or attention span to stick at anything too hard. So, I gave up on the recorder lessons, the clarinet lessons, the guitar lessons and the ukulele lessons. Drums were my favourite instrument but my parents would never buy me a set which probably saved them a lot of money as I probably wouldn’t have stuck at it.
Playing football and cricket were so much easier and much more exciting!
Fast forward 35+ years and I sell my house in the Melbourne ‘burbs and move into an apartment in St Kilda, Melbourne. I had done a lot of travel and had visited all of the continents but one – Africa. It was high on my ‘must-do’ list but for various reasons hadn’t quite made it to the top. All through these years, it was always in the back of my mind to one day learn to play an instrument properly (or at the very least at a passable standard).
So, here I was walking the streets of St Kilda one Sunday and I came across a shop with all sorts of African instruments and clothes in the window display and there on the door was a little poster………..”Come to Africa and learn African drumming”‘ Wow, I don’t know whether I had an epiphany right there and then but it sure made sense to me. Get to Africa AND learn to play the drums! Perfect.
So the next week I went back to the shop, met Simon and Kate and in June 2008 at 52 years of age, signed up for a 6 week beginners course…….to say I then got sucked into the amazing world of west African drumming is probably an understatement. I was in Africa 6 months later and after 2 more intensive drumming tours to Ghana and Burkina Faso, 8 years of lessons, great teachers, many great new friends and a couple of drums, I now travel the highways and byways of Australia in my motorhome with my Djembe explaining to anyone who will listen that “it’s not a bloody bongo” and enjoying the almost nightly jams with the many “highway” musicians (of varying musical levels & instruments).