Drums are thought to be one of the oldest forms of the musical instruments known to humankind. So old, truth be told, that scientists from the National Academy of Science have said that drumming is vital to our species; different primates also communicate by drumming. It may in all likelihood be something we as humans have evolved to do.
In various forms, the art of drumming has likewise turned into an indispensable part of societies all over the world, from East Asian war drumming to the talking drums of Sri Lanka and the djembe of West Africa. These instruments are universal in nature is deeply tied to our humanity.
DrumConnection connects students with a very specific part of our human heritage: the djembe drum music of Guinea, Mali, and other West African countries. Guinea is a little country on the west shoreline of Africa, yet it has a large presence on the world stage. We offer an exciting, healing and unique experience of the rhythms of the continent.
Everything started about 35 years ago in Cambridge/Arlington, Mass. As a facilitator, I was asked to organize drummers so people new to drumming could play right along with the more advanced drummers.
The school officially became DrumConnection in 1990 as part of The Cambridge Center of Adult Education, a prominent adult education school founded in 1886 and now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
In the beginning, it was just a few classes that Alan taught, but their popularity led to the program's expansion. Today, we are the largest hand drumming school in New England. We have a teacher training program and 10-15 amazing instructors. For the last 25 years, our teaching studio was The Arlington Center for the Arts, which is a great place to learn art, music, drama and life lessons; formerly located at The Gibbs School.
Our program is unique because we are able to bring in true hand drumming masters such as Famoudou Konate, Mamady Keita, Bolokada Conde, Wadaba and many others who share their cultures, rhythms, and lore with students. Students are also given the chance to visit Guinea, the birthplace of the djembe drum.
• Alan Tauber, the founder of DrumConnection began drumming at the age of the 4. From marching band to jazz to pop, rock, folk, power punk, fusion and classical percussion he was drawn to the West African djembe 35 years ago. The list of the famous drummers he had the pleasure to study and play with is a who’s who in the drumming world. Stars from the Rock world, like Carmine Apice to jazz legends Gary Burton, Fred Buda, Alan Dawson, Vic Firth, Joe Morello, Alphonse Mouzon, and the great Buddy Rich. In African music, Alan has spent much time and befriended by Ibrahima Camara, Abdoulaye Sylla, Babatunde Olatunji, Mamady Keita, ‘Wadaba', Bolokada Kondé, Babara Bangoura, and his current master the only living legend of the djembe and dunun, Famoudou Konaté of Guinea.
• That said, it takes a sensitive musician to bring music to life and Alan has proved over and over again that he knows what makes a great teacher, a great performer, and a steady accompaniment player as well as soloist. His own limitations physically due to the hard demands of the djembe has enlightened Alan to consult with students, doctors and researchers alike about best treatment options and playing techniques he has developed and honed for older players just starting out or wanting to just have fun playing better :)
“As you age, you must be sure you know what you are really doing on that djembe or those dunun or you will get hurt. It’s similar to a sport which is very enriching, exciting and fun but if you fall or don’t take rest days, you may pay for that later. Better to learn a solid skillset first.
• Alan developed the Teacher in Training Course for people who like to teach but also for those who what to develop their playing at a very fast rate. If you have to teach it, you will learn it. If your sounds are not pure, your students will not understand what you are playing so it makes your sounds pure. It’s a great way to become involved with West African drumming and get really good and give back to the community. Most communities need a good dose of drumming. Read his website of all the benefits of drumming for the general population at https://www.drumconnection.com
You have the opportunity to travel annually to study drumming, language, dance, and experience culture from the Guineans. We usually visit Guinea, Mali or The Gambia. In the recent past our masters there are Grandmaster Famoudou Konate himself (the last living, working master from his generation. Possibly the last chance students have to learn from him), Sayon Camara, Mamady WADABA Kourouma and Nansady Keita (nephew of Monsieur Konaté) the heir to the 'thrown' of Famoudou himself.
DrumConnection's long-standing history of bridging cultures through music is still going strong. Though we closed our retail store in 2018, we STILL make and offer the best in djembe and dunun. Alan decided that Retail was not allowing him to enjoy what built DrumConnection - THE CLASSES and private or semi-private and group lessons. Hand to Hand teaching as it is known.
Our success has had a lot to do with being able to see what each student needed from a drum course. What were the things that we could do to make their understanding and musical ability flourish? I was with filled rooms of future drummers and I needed to be able to reach everybody. Since I am naturally gifted with seeing too much, it was my passion to help every person attain their goals.
Give us a call at (617) •••-••••. Find us online at https://www.drumconnection.com
DrumConnection is a treasure trove of high quality and We are also the go-to place for drum repair in Boston. We stock Guinean cowhides and goatskins, and other skins as well, including the plastic ones, and have professional drum makers on staff ready to help or even rebuild your drum!
Our drum classes run many nights each week in many locations. An emphasis on the development of the drummer, as well as having a blast while doing it; We all become close and it's always a caring group. Specialty workshops are about 4-5x a year. Drum circles are 2-4x a month on Fridays at Munroe Center for the Arts on Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington, MA. In the Summer, classes are held at the Banks of the River Charles. Join us!