Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jammin Tuesdays

Every Tuesday there are classes at Thee Jammin Drum School Studio (1216 N. Bumby Avenue, Orlando). Martin Greywolf Murphy greeted me at the door of the small suburban home.  His grey T-shirt was covered with the  calm expression of a lone wolf. The classes take place in a small room on the side of the home which might have once been a garage. Now the room is filled with dozens of exotic drums and other percussion instruments. I started blocking in the room on my sketch before students arrived.

Mark DeMaio taught the first class which focused on West African Dununba technique and rhythms. Three students and Mark sat in a tight circle playing the large handmade drums between their knees. Wooden dowels were used to set the beat. There is something primal and inspiring in the ancient rhythms. It was an opportunity for everyone to really focus on the syncopated patterns and to become more deeply immersed in the cooperative practice that generates the deeply melodic basis of these rhythms that the Djembe parts are accompaniment to.

Greywolf taught the next class in poly-rhythmic Afro-Brazilian rhythm Samba! The class began with old school Samba de Roda, "Samba in a circle", and worked towards Rio style Carnival Samba with a broad range of percussion instruments and incorporating unique Jammin! The two students were rather well versed in rhythm and poly-rhythmic structure. In the end they were playing dual cone shaped cow bells. Well, I doubt they were cow bells, but that is how they sounded. The endless rhythm and beats were a joy to sketch to. Greywolf showed a short U-Tube video he had worked on and explained how it mimicked  the beats and structure a drum circle. Classes are $12 a piece or 6 classes for $60.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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