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Drum workshop delves into self-expression

The First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta is opening its doors the third Saturday each month to share rhythm and get in tune with the community.

Lawrence Greene, a drumming instructor and part of the drum band “Ugata,” is instructing a free group on different drum rhythms and teaches the history behind the rhythm.

Among rhythms taught was “Funga,” a West African welcome drum beat.

“You can trace many of the drums used and rhythms created to ancient African empires,” said Greene.

The drums used in a drum circle, called a djembe, is a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands.

Greene said the drums takes a whole Dimba tree to make, and that due to their rise in popularity more and more of these trees are planted.

The three basic sounds that can be produced with a djembe are bass, tone, and slap. Many drum rhythms are accompanied with dances, bells and scarves that are controlled with wrist movements.

“The great thing about rhythm is that it can be created on anything though, such as a table or chairs,” said Greene.

Another rhythm learned on Saturday was the Kuku.

“This is a traditional dance song from Guinea in West Africa,” said Greene.

Greene took time to play each rhythm then had those in attendance play it back, then they would drum in a group.

“Lawrence is a good instructor and he gives background information which is nice,” said Shelley Khatib, of Marietta, ho has been attending the drum circles for almost a year.

Greene said over the years many cultures mixed, and there are now equivalent rhythms in each culture.

“Rhythm, like language, travels,” said Greene.

Saturday’s lesson concluded with the Samba, a Brazilian music genre and dance style whose roots were formed in West Africa.

“The African rhythms that influenced the Samba music came from the Yoruba, Congo, and other West African groups,” said Greene.

Following the lesson, the group took part in a free-style drum circle session, playing rhythms that come to them from hearing other rhythms.

“It is nice to hear the different vibes from each person expressing themselves freely,” said Greene.

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