Sacred Rhythm - Drumming Workshop with Master Djembe Player Koroleko Moussa Dembele

creativity music drumming african music embodiment expression and creativity embodiment london
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The hand drum has been used for thousands of years in celebrations, rituals and ceremonies

From the earliest times, drums and their rhythms have been at the centre of social and cultural activities worldwide. The drum is said to be man's oldest musical percussion instrument. However, drums have not always been used for creating music or entertainment. In African tribal cultures, drums bore an essential role during rituals and religious ceremonies for both self-expression and communication purposes. 

Anthropological evidence makes it apparent that rhythm, drumming and percussion are closely and abundantly intertwined with human culture and also seem to produce quite a profound effect upon consciousness when used in ceremony and with intention. Drumming and percussion are elements of human culture that reach back over many epochs into the depths of antiquity and prehistory. 

From a shamanic and aboriginal perspective, the drum maintains a position on the pantheon of what is viewed as sacred. Many native cultures across the globe that developed completely independently from each other’s spheres of influence, from North America to the Arctic Circle to Africa, share common social themes, one of which is the ceremonial use of the drum.

Drumming can have profound and holistic uses to enhance physical, mental and emotional health, as demonstrated in a series of studies and research papers:

Drumming reduces stress, tension, and anxiety. Blood samples from participants of an hour-long drumming session revealed a reversal of the hormonal stress response and an increase in natural killer cell activity. (Bittman, Berk, Felten, Westengard, Simonton, Pappas, Ninehouser, 2001, Alternative Therapies, vol. 7, no. 1).

Drumming provides for natural pain control. Drumming promoted the production of endorphins and endogenous opiates, the bodies own morphine-like painkillers, allowing for alleviation from pain and grief. (Winkelman, Michael, Shamanism: the Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing).

Drumming fights depression. Stanford University School of Medicine conducted a study with 30 depressed people over 80 years of age and found that participants in a weekly music therapy group were less anxious, less distressed and had higher self-esteem (Friedman, Healing Power of the Drum, 1994).

Drumming for transcendental experiences. A 2014 study conducted by the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Austria in Vienna states: “Exposure to repetitive drumming combined with instructions for shamanic journeying has been associated with physiological and therapeutic effects.” As well as “a significant decrease” in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, volunteers who were exposed to repetitive drumming combined with shamanic instructions reported experiencing “heaviness, decreased heart rate and dreamlike experiences.”

“Although the use of hallucinogenic drugs such as ayahausca is common, many cultures use a strong repetitive rhythm or beat to create that state; the Native American Ojibwe wanbeno, for instance, use drumming, rattling, chanting, naked dancing, and handling of live coals. Drumming is particularly effective in producing a highly concentrated focus; a number of studies have shown that listening to the beat of a drum causes the brain to slow down into a trance-like state.” - Lynne McTaggart, The Intention Experiment


Join us on Tuesday 20th February 7-9PM in London, as we come together to experience the healing and transcendental benefits of drumming in circle, and connect with our innate rhythm with master djembe player, Moussa Dembele.


No experience or drum necessary (but please do bring your own drum if you have one!). We will provide drums if needed, please let us know at ticket purchase if you require one. All are welcome in this space.



Moussa Dembele

Moussa Dembele is a multi-instrumentalist of African instruments, music teacher and highly skilled master craftsman of African instruments. He was born and raised in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso in West Africa. For Moussa, music really does run in his blood. He comes from a family of musicians and craftsmen that have been producing traditional musical instruments for generations . 

Having had these unique skills passed down to him from a very young age, he has been creating high quality, hand crafted instruments for over twenty years. These include the Balafon (african xylophone) Ngoni (african lute), Kora (african harp), Djembe(drum) and Doum Doum (bass drum). As a musician, Moussa Dembele has toured extensively throughout Africa, Europe and Israel, in particular with his previous band – ‘Koroleko’. He also spent many years based in Ghana where he played balafon for the renowned Pan-African Orchestra. In addition to the Balafon, he also plays the Kora and Ngoni to high level as well as Djembe and Doum Doum. 

Now based in London Moussa is passionate about sharing his knowledge and skills with fellow musicians and lovers of traditional African instruments and in doing so he is keen to further promote his rich culture and musical traditions.

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