I can’t resist the lure of a drum, let alone a drum circle. But such is the nature of these celebrations (and I say celebration, not event). Drum jams like these aren’t meant to be a performance, and by performance I mean something you watch sitting back and behind the scenes. The concept is participative, and basically if you don’t join in you’ll miss the fun:
In drum circles, hand drums are the boss, and a whole drum kit is a rare find. There’s the occasional timbales and other stick drums of course, but mostly you’ll find djembes, congas, and bongos (the more known hand drums). Last Friday, someone also brought a cajon, though I didn’t get the chance to play it.
Tambulan is a open drum circle conducted yearly by a group I’m part of, Kontemporaryong Gamelan Pilipino (Kontra-Gapi). Tambol means drum in Filipino (Tagalog? I’m not sure), and tambulan (n./v.) means to drum together, or an occasion when that occurs. It’s a community of drummers, sometimes led by a facilitator. Tambulan isn’t all about drumming though. The literal circle of drummers allows ample space for dancers to move and use. So if you weren’t playing the drum, you were dancing (of shooting photos, in my case). Nothing is forced here though, but again, if you didn’t join you would miss the fun.
This group here sells great hand drums (I played a few last Friday, and they’re very worth it!). You can catch their Facebook page here.
Here’s a bonus GIF, click on the photo to view:
This is Kontra-Gapi’s pitch for Tambulan. Even smaller drum circles are this fun.