Beating your own drum

Daily News Egypt
5 Min Read

There was a time when drums were the foremost vehicle for communicating and reaching out to others. Over long distances, the beating of drums carried messages of birth, marriage, death and warnings.

A group sits clutching the hourglass shaped djembe drums between their knees. Their eyes are riveted to the lead drummer and they listen intently as he demonstrates the rhythms. “Boom-tak-tak-boom drums the leader, and there is a rebuttal as the group emulates him.

This is not a primeval setting but a modern day training session conducted by Cairo Drums for the executives of a multinational company, where rhythm is being used to facilitate team building. Seeing them drum with abandon and in tandem, it is hard to believe that most of them have no prior musical experience.

“Everyone has rhythm in them, insists Tamer Fahim, head of Jupiter Eclipse Training, which offers Cairo Drums as part of team building solutions. “Under guidance from the facilitator, the participants are able to realize their rhythmic side, he added.

As the group drums together, barriers of gender, culture, age, seniority and education are mitigated and the individuals become a cohesive unit.

This dynamic, powerful and unique experience of group drumming was brought to the Middle East when Julie-Anne Odell, managing director of Jupiter Eclipse Limited, stumbled upon community drum circles as a result of her passion for holistic healing. She gave up a corporate job to pursue an idea that intrigued and energized her. She spent time in Africa learning hand drumming and in 2001 launched Dubai Drums as a fully trained drum-facilitator.

Eight years later, Tamer Fahim, Odell’s son, followed in his mother’s footsteps when he quit his corporate job and decided to bring Dubai Drums to Egypt.

“The concept of using drumming as a tool of bonding is brand new; most of the training sessions conducted in the arena of human resources are lackluster and mechanical, said Fahim, explaining his impetus for joining the family business.

“Through the use of drumming, Cairo Drums duplicates the same principles that are used to create unity among tribes in a corporate environment, he elaborates.

The drumming workshops bring in the element of fun in corporate training since the participants are able to imbibe the concepts of leadership, team work, listening and observing, time management while simultaneously enjoying themselves. “It is an interactive, magical, musical, group experience that people never forget, and talk about for months to come,’ said Fahim.

The djembe drum used by Cairo Drums scores over others as it is best suited for producing a wide range of tones due to its shape, the density of the wood, the internal carvings and the skin. The name djembe comes directly from the saying “Anke dje, anke be, which literally translates to “everyone gather together’ and defines the drum’s purpose.

A typical session of Cairo Drums lasts from 45 minutes to an hour but sometimes the participants are having so much fun “that they just do not want to stop, laughs Fahim. The group maybe as small as five participants or may go up to a few hundred.

They are challenged to simple rhythms. They listen and respond; they are receptive and creative at the same time. They learn to play together until their synergies merge, cooperation replaces competition and the individual successes contribute to the group’s successes.

Apart from corporate employees, group drumming has found other enthusiasts too. Enumerating the benefits of drumming, Fahim said, “The physical and the repetitive nature of drumming helps to release stress, boosts morale and the immune system and builds on the creative and emotional side of a person due to it being a left brain, right brain activity.

As they master the rhythms, the drummers go into a dreamy state of being, where all other workings of the mind have ceased and there is enhanced clarity and focus.

Little wonder then that the monthly event “Full Moon Desert Drumming in Dubai has a waiting list despite accommodating around 400 participants for each session.

But the reason that has got me the most interested in drumming is that it also contributes to weight loss. Losing weight while acquiring a musical skill? Now that’s music to my ears!

For more information on Cairo Drums, contact Tamer Fahim on 011 836 1836 or email: [email protected]

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