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Simone LaDrumma (yes, it’s her “real” name; no, she wasn’t born with it) began drumming professionally in 1987 as a member of Anzanga Marimba Ensemble. In January 1991 she created, "Drumming & The Holistic Expression of Rhythm" a method of learning to express rhythm organically. In 1993 she formed and led for 9 years the first all-female percussion ensemble in the Northwest, Ladies Don't Drum. "Ladies" performed internationally and with many renowned artists, such as Bobby McFerrin, the Seattle Men's Chorus, and Maya Angelou. Their album, “Nailin’ It,” was (and still is) very popular. Over the last 28 years, Simone has brought the Spirit of the Drum to thousands of  people of every background, age, physical condition and level throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. She is also a solo entertainer, blending humor and drumming as “The Stand-Up Drummer.”  Simone also works as a studio percussionist, appearing on many albums. In addition to drumming, Simone also teaches piano and improvisational dancing and singing. At the age of 77, Simone continues to teach, compose and perform wherever the Spirit of the Drum leads her.(P.S. She is one of only TWO people to have taught and/or performed in every World Rhythm Festival since its inception in 1993, and for years was Festival emcee.) 


How To Do a Hot Solo:  You're in a drum circle and everyone is keeping a simple, steady rhythm, e.g. the basic beat. You've got the urge to solo, but you don't know how. Sure, you can just "bang away" at your drum, but you would like to craft something that sounds good and allows you to express yourself.  Good news! The principles of solo improvisation can be taught. Bring your hand drum and your basic skills to this workshop & Simone will give you her Ten Tips to a Hot Solo. Everyone in the class will get the chance to solo.  Basic drumming experience required. 


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Súle Greg Wilson, MA, has been sharing positivity with people for going on fifty years.   Percussionist, educator, banjoist, and storyteller, Súle has performed on three continents, taught primary school to university, appeared at the Newport Folk Festival, on A Prairie Home Companion, stage and screen.  His book, The Drummer’s Path: Moving the Spirit with Ritual and Traditional Drumming, is a college text, and the Sule System of Drumpath Rhythms: A Method for Teaching and Learning Percussion (DVD/book) is immanently online.

Born and raised in multi-cultural Washington, DC., Wilson began with The Oya African Dancers and Drummers, then with Babatunde Olatunji, Chief Bey, the International African American Ballet, the Copasetics, members of Sweet Honey in the Rock, Mamadi Keita, Cheikh Hamala Diabate, Tony Trishka, Native rocker Keith Secola, folk legends Mike Seeger and John Sebastian, and more.  He studied Asian percussion at Oberlin College, and jammed at NAMM with Giovanni, Luis Conté, and Sheila E.  His music graces film soundtracks, and is a founding member of the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.

PERFORMANCE:  Sule is opening for our Saturday Evening Dance Party


TRAD FUNK: Post-African U.S. Body Percussion
After the Stono War, the Carolina Colony enacted the Negro Act of 1740, outlawing Blacks the use or possession of drums. Maryland, and other colonies, soon followed suit. In response to this repression, Afro- USans* developed body percussion to a high art. In this interactive workshop, we will “put on” traditional body-done rhythms of ritual, survival, and celebration, and practice the fundamentals of “American [USan] clave”. We’ll have to sing ‘em, too.


Front, Back, and  Sides
This session is about learning to be aware of, and eventually master, Time, and Tone.  With Time and Tone each rock solid inside you, you can never be thrown off the Pulse, no matter what’s going on outside you.

You see, in American music, we’re taught to play it straight.   I remember, George Clinton once said, “Nothing is good unless you play with it.”  So, in this workshop, we’re gonna play—with rhythm, time, and tone! 

First, we’ll practice a well-known (but virtually unrecognized) rhythm, our very own “USan clave”.  We’ll first do it with voice—to learn it, then with body—to incorporate it, then with drums—to amplify it.  We’ll play with the USan clave rhythm as a crowd, then in groups, then in trios.  We’ll perform it every which-a-way: on the upbeat, on the downbeat, and in between.  If there’s time after that, we’ll play and experiment with starting the rhythm on each of the hand drum’s tonal triad: bass, tone, slap.

We’ll have a funky good time!

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