Musings

 

percgoddesses 01
Troupe Bannat Tahya's percusssion ensemble at Riverside Festival of the Arts, Fall 2001

Musings. . .

As We Drum, We Are One

Click here for RECREATING RITUAL article penned by Tahya ~ a personal philosophy on how drumming and dance heightens our awareness of passionate soulful existence and generates a positive esprit which we can bring to our families and into the communities in which we live.

Inspired by Glen Velez's "Handance" and Layne Redmond's work, Troupe Bannat Tahya of the Lehigh Valley have choreographed a percussion processional, a tribute to ancient rituals when the "Women were Drummers." Attired in beautiful multi-layered dresses of rich colors, we bring together the sounds of riqq, finger cymbals, dumbek and bell in combination with choreorgraphed movements steeped in antiquity to arise and celebrate the Divine within!

The "ritual" inspired one participant to write:

*Magical Hips* (excerpt)
by Wanda Finelli

Right foot first; hear your cue
Zills will burst, bell and riqqs, too.

Who will see
Who will feel,
Ancient ritual
Powers that heal

The seed's been planted,
The fire burns strong.
Goddesses sway
to the joyous song.

Who will see
Who will feel,
Ancient ritual
Powers that heal

Hypnotic moves, dum-tek-tek
Inner core quivers, dum-tek-tek
Flowing waters, dum-tek-tek
Cleansing rivers, dum-tek-tek

Who will see
Who will feel,
Ancient ritual
Powers that heal

The seed's been planted,
The fire burns strong.
Goddesses sway
to the joyous song.

 

sggroup
TAHYA (right, with frame drum) with Troupe Bannat Tahya,
concluding a performance of their percussion processional,
a tribute to rituals dating back to 5600 BC.

 

Dum, dum tek-a-tek
Dum, tek-a-tek

Who will see
Who will feel,
Ancient ritual
Powers that heal.

 

bannattahya
Poised to present the percussion processional at '99 Unity with a Beat Retreat:
Diselle, Tahya, Donna, Silvana, Meghar, and Phaedra

 

 


As We Drum, We Are One

by Feeny Lipscomb

"The drum is emerging as the transformational tool of our time."

The United Nations has declared 1994--2004 the "International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples." Indigenous cultures have always drummed in ritual at births, deaths, weddings, harvests and rites of passage. These cultures, with their natural sense of Earth wisdom and awareness of the sacred in all things, seem always to have understood that human beings are coded for ritual.

What does that mean? A writer friend of mine recently shared this profound insight,

 

Dreams are the way the unconscious
speaks to the conscious mind.
Ritual is the way the conscious mind speaks back.
In fact, many indigenous cultures believe
there is a deep,
pre-verbal part of us that understands only
the language of ritual.

Modern society's loss of its rituals has caused psychic fragmentation--literally, the state of being disconnected from our deeper selves.

The result is a sort of soul starvation--a deep, non-specific hunger which we've tried desperately (and unsuccessfully) to feed with food, drugs, sex, alcohol, shopping, gambling, work. Many healers believe that this psychic fragmentation is at the root of stress.

We now know that stress is a cause of 98% of all disease. Not only heart attacks, strokes, immune system breakdowns, but every disease known--with the exception of two viruses--has been shown to be caused by or exacerbated by stress.

Interestingly, it now appears that

the most accessible tool for reconnecting with ourselves may be the drum, a gift from the indigenous world.

Recent biofeedback studies show that drumming along with our own heartbeats for brief periods can alter brain wave patterns and "meditate" us, dramatically reducing stress.

A recent study by Barry Quinn, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist specializing in neurobiofeedback therapy (NBT) for stress management, indicates that drumming works on even the highest-stress clients. Dr. Quinn operates a neurobiofeedback clinic called the MindSpa Place in Colorado Springs, CO, and for nearly nine years has been working with how a variety of techniques affect the brain waves.

One of Dr. Quinn's patients, a Viet Nam veteran who has long suffered from high stress, hypervigilance and chronic sleep problems, regularly produced almost no Alpha in his brain wave patterns. (Alpha is a mental relaxation state missing in nearly 40% of the population.) During a single, 30-minute session of slow, gentle drumming using a one-sided handdrum and a beater, this patient nearly doubled his Alpha brain waves.

No other technique used (including a sound and light machine) in a series of 15 stress reduction sessions had been able to produce any Alpha in this client. Until drumming, in fact, no technique used in the nine years of Dr. Quinn's research had been able to bring a significant return of this relaxation brain wave in any client. He calls the effect of brief drumming sessions "by far the most amazing results I've encountered thus far in my work."

Music therapist Barry Bernstein, whose use of the drum with Alzheimer's patients and in corporate settings has been widely publicized, believes strongly that drumming is "the healthiest, most accessible and fastest way to reconnect with ourselves. Bernstein's KansasCity-based company, Healthy Sounds, offers a variety of programs for schools, care centers, and corporations, all using the drum as a tool.

The growing drumming movement in this country suggests that people are beginning to reclaim their rituals and reconnect with themselves as they drum.

The drum is emerging as the transformational tool of our time. And because the drumbeat is a universal, vibrational language which communes with the Earth and all Her creatures, the drum has come to symbolize our Unity as Earth-family citizens.

The non-profit All One Tribe Foundation is coordinating a global event for world peace which honors the world's indigenous peoples. Called "Drumming In the Year 2000," the event takes place on December 31st, 1999, when people in cities and villages around the world will drum together as the midnight hour arrives in each time zone.

The event will be covered by satellite and broadcast worldwide. Rituals for healing and for peace will be enacted in many locations. When the year 2000 has arrived in the final time zone, there will be one hour of focused, simultaneous drumming across the globe. "As We Drum, We Are One" will be sung in many languages of the world.

The event's coordination is taking place on a grassroots level, with local groups and individuals organizing in their cities and towns. With internet presence since 1996, the event has been covered widely in the media and has coordinators worldwide.

The research into the healing effects of this ancient ritual practice is ongoing. For some, the concept that the wisdom of the indigenous world might offer relief from stress, the most pervasive and pernicious result of late 20th-century "progress," is a fitting prospect just now, in the midst of the "International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples."

Feeny Lipscomb is a writer, language teacher of Spanish, ESL and French and a real estate agent in Taos NM and Baja Mexico.

RECREATING RITUAL Click here for article penned by Tahya ~ a personal philosophy on how drumming and dance heightens our awareness of passionate soulful existence and generates a positive esprit which we can bring to our families and into the communities in which we live.

 

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