4 years ago I wrote this lovely piece about having to give up my uber amazing African Drum group to have a baby. In it I had high hopes of heading back to the drum class that had been the most stable consistent thing about my life in Brighton and Hove to that day. Things, however, didn’t turn out that well, son1 never liked to be left from the precious boob for that long in the early evenings and, by the time he was weaned off it, I was pregnant again and in no state to go drumming or even attempt to be conscious past 6pm in the evening. Son2 came along and now we needed two people for bedtime (son1 still needing parental reassurance to drift off into the land of nod). Drumming seemed like a thing of the past. A piece of me that never quite made it back into life once the bomb of having babies had gone off.
This summer we’ve had a shift in circumstances, the boys now share a bedroom and only need one parent sitting by them saying shhhh (or something a bit firmer..) every now and again. This means that I could skip out of the house tonight, drive down into Brighton, walk up the stairs to the room where the magic happens and get my hands into action on a drum again. Happy sigh. Some of the people that were around when I left are still around, the excellent Fern still teaches us and laughs with us as we wrap our brains around African rhythms. Rather weirdly I realised I’ve been to this class on and off for 10 years now. 10 years. My hands knew what to do. My brain released the rhythms it had been storing for the last 4 years into my arms and the sheer joy of making amazing music, with no head space to think about anything else, burst out again.
I am now far too hyped up to think about sleeping and may pay for this adrenaline rush tomorrow. But for now, I am so glad to have the space and time to do something I love and thought I wouldn’t get to do again. Drumming is such a part of the thing that makes up me. I love big fat rhythms. I love doing something I’m ok at and having to try hard to get it right. I love that there is no space in my brain for thinking when I’m part of a rhythm. I love that drumming spans across my life, from teenage years when I bravely put my name down for drum classes at school, to being in a dodgy 6th form band, to bongo playing in church, to playing with friends and doing some gigs with the excellent Binface, to playing bongos on training conferences with UCCF, to African Drum classes. Tonight I felt linked up to my past, in a way that is rare these days, and oh so glad to be where I am now in life. I feel entirely different to the slightly scared 20 something who rocked up to these classes 10 years ago but I am glad that somethings stay the same.