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About Dan Brock

The Basics

I do performances in West African music as well as with groups from the belly dance community, notably with The Bedouin Tribal Dance Company. I teach classes in West African and Middle-Eastern/ Mediterranean drumming. I have a broad interest in all forms of music and am always interested in new music projects in world, folk, blues and other styles.

I play a variety of instruments including djembe, dundun, dumbek (darrabukka/Egyptian tabla), tar, riq, conga, cajon, tongue drum, udu (clay pot drum), balaphon, berimbau, didgeridu, jaw harp, and all assorted small percussion. I even do a bit of throat singing (Tuvan style).

I have several years of experience as a teacher and drum circle/rhythm event facilitator, and love to bring the joy of rhythm to groups of all kinds through formal classes, performance or rhythm events, whether your desire is learning, team building and community development, or just plain fun. Drumming is good for the body, mind and spirit!

As well, I am an experienced repairman of djembes and dunduns and occasionally other drums.


A bit of History

I acquired my first African drum over ten years ago, and was instantly hooked. At first, it was just making up rhythms, jamming with music (regardless of the genre) or playing with my friends. Although I was having a lot of fun, I decided I should probably learn something about how the drum should properly be played. That began my journey into West African percussion, a major root of the tree of western music from which blues, jazz, rock and roll and so much else has come. Because I enjoy so much music from around the world, I soon bought congas, a dumbek (otherwise know as a darbuka, darrabukka, darbeki or Egyptian tabla), a cajon ('box' in Spanish, and it's a wooden box, but also a great drum), a didgeridu...etc.... Well, you get the picture. In short, I was hooked.

So, I took some classes at One World Drum and picked it up well. I also went to drum circles regularly and still did lots of drumming by myself or with friends. Some while later, I started teaching a bit. After that, I took drum circle facilitation training with Arthur Hull, the godfather of the modern drum circle facilitation movement. Soon I was teaching, playing, performing, facilitating, and selling and repairing drums. I have performed with several West African based drumming groups in the last few years, and regularly do dance accompaniment for West African dancers and classes. Lately, I've turned my love of the dumbek and tar (the Middle Eastern version of a frame drum) into a regular opportunity to play for belly dancers and also teach some of that style of drumming. I've had a chance to drum for a number of groups in Calgary, though primarily for The Bedouin, for whom I hold deep affection. I'm also a member of Asoude el Sahra ("Lions of the Desert"), a men's dance troupe which performs in the male style of Middle Eastern dance and does drum accompaniment for belly dance.

It's all been a long road to starting Rhythmatism, my own drumming business, through which I teach classes, do drumming workshops for schools, business and public and private groups, as well as doing drum repairs and tuning. In the meantime, here's a simple list of what I've done in the last years of my drumming life:

Performance:

West African: Dansa Drumming, The One World Drummers, Afodon, Isokan Afrika!, dance accompaniment with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and Free House Dance
Middle Eastern: The Bedouin, Abir's Casbah, Laarya (Studio Sublime), Asoude el Sahra, Layam Rhythm and Dance
Other: Klezmer with Allan Merovitz, Freeform music for Ecstatic Dance, Children's world folk songs with Rune Vibegaard

Training:

West African workshops: Mamady Keita, Famadou Konate, The Drum Brothers (Matthew Marsolek), Nee Tetty Tettah, Ibrahima Camara, Karamba Diabate, Trudy Hipwell
Middle Eastern/Mediterranean: Malcolm Lim, Adel Awad
Other: Drum Circle Facilitation with Arthur Hull, Cameron Tummel and Don Davidson; Body percussion with Keith Terry, Samba with Milton Randall, Candombe (Urugyuan) with Joseph "Pepe" Danza, Afro-Cuban with Trudy Hipwell, Natural Voice with Elizabeth Stepkowski.


What is rhythmatism?

The universe is cycles and rhythm: the beat of a mother's heart, the ebb and flow of tides, the cycles of day and night and the turning of the seasons, the orbits of the planets and the turning of galaxies. Hence the deep connection of life, rhythm and music. Percussion is the oldest form of musical expression (except the voice), and rhythm is the heart of virtually all music in every culture. A rhythmatist is a person who produces rhythmic music. Rhythmatism refers to the effect of this music on the heart, mind and spirit. I am a rhythmatist who brings the many positive aspects of rhythm into the community for many purposes, all of which function to bring people together for fun, well-being and community-mindedness. Making music is an innate ability we all share, and percussion is the most accessible way for us to come together as a community for the making of music, as traditional cultures have known for millennia. Quite contrary to our usual experience, everyone can make music, though our culture doesn't teach that by making music a professional undertaking. However, I believe that musicality is an innate part of being human, and it is my intent at all times to show others how easy, fun and rewarding it can be to rediscover your own musical potential.
You, too, are a rhythmatist!






All content © Copyright Daniel A. Brock 2005-2007
All Rights Reserved.