Earlier on most weekends we used to end up either catching up on sleep or shopping for groceries or aimlessly roaming around Camp. These days I have found new things to keep me occupied, thanks to multiple newsletters that land up with event information around Pune. Last Saturday, after a disastrous morning show of ‘Raajneeti’ and a number of chores down, Shreyank and I got to spend a fun evening at a Drum Circle. Essentially, it is a gathering of people who sit around to form a circle and play percussion instruments. The one we attended is held every Saturday at the Rewachand Bhojwani Academy right next to Bishop’s School in Camp and is conducted by Mr.Peter Vieges.
Both Shreyank and I had no idea about the location of the School, so we hired a rickshaw from around SGS Mall. Unfortunately, the rickshaw driver did not know the place either but he insisted that he would locate it for us. We passed it once, but later found it without much of a hassle. A few people were going in and we walked in too. Peter and a few others were setting the chairs and bringing out the drums. Everyone present seemed to know each other and we both were the newcomers. After some warm hellos we took our seats. Shreyank apparently had dabbled a bit with drums earlier, but I was a complete novice. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but Peter told me to grab a drum and to join in nevertheless. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask the names of the instruments we played that day so for this post I’ll stick to ‘big drum’ and ‘small drum’. I got a ‘big drum’ for myself. The drum had a cord on its side and Peter showed us how to hold the drum between our legs and it had to face outside for a resonant sound. Me being vertically challenged nearly had it facing straight up. Next up, Peter showed us the basic hand movements and the beat to follow and we started playing. It wasn’t anything spectacular like one sees in starry concerts. But the sounds from a dozen drums started resonating to the beats. With smiles to match.
Next up we tried some variations in the beats and also in the way we were playing. Half of us played one beat and the others played another. Peter stepped up and led us by tapping his feet to give us a cue about when to play the bass (open palms on the face of the drum) and the tone (finger tips on the edge of the face of the drum). Each time we started slow and then the beats picked up speed to create ecstatic music that echoed around. Shreyank and I were both playing the ‘big drum’ earlier. He was hitting the edge a lot and his fingers started hurting after a while. He exchanged his ‘big drum’ with a ‘small’ one and looked happier. We even played a round of ping pong (1 beat for the person on your right to play and 2 beats for the person on your left) with the drums. The evening ended in a crescendo with a rumble.
Initially, we started with about 10 people, including children aged approximately between 4 to 14 years. A few more people joined in soon after. We had a round of introductions and turns out that like us nearly everyone had day-jobs (the grown-ups in this case) which had nothing to do with music. Some have been attending the circle for as long as a year. We played for nearly 90 minutes and a couple of other instruments were also brought out to accompany the percussions, including some lovely flute. The group was welcoming and at no point did Shreyank and I feel that we have intruded. Since I wanted a couple of pictures for my blog, everyone graciously smiled and sat down again with their drums for me to take photos. Phone numbers were exchanged and we helped in putting away the drums. Both of us are definitely going back. If you are in Pune, then do come and join the circle, which meets every Saturday at 7:00 PM at the Rewachand Bhojwani Academy near Bishop’s School in camp.
The rest of the photos are here