1031 CL Amsterdam
“It’s has been nearly two months since I arrived in the West Bank, with some drum sticks, a head full of rhythms and few Arabic words as part of a Musicians without Borders project that aims to bring samba percussion to Palestinian groups of young adults. Samba being suited for group drumming as it is very inclusive. Individuals can play a simple pattern but be part of a complex and beautiful rhythm that makes it impossible not to swing your hips or tap your feet to.
|Samba workshop for the deaf in Aida Youth Center in Aida refugee camp|
|Surdo, the big Brazilian drum, means deaf because the sound is
so low and loud that even deaf people can ‘hear’ it. Abdullah is deaf and definitely proves that he can feel the rhythm!
|Samba fun in al-Wallajah|
Fabienne and Ahmad from Musicians without Borders and also the participants of the different groups, have been amazing in regards to helping me settle in and to deal with any of these arising issues. By now I have run many workshops with five different groups, from villages to refugee camps to youth centers. It is great to see the rhythms that in the first weeks were impossible for many have now been played in front of audiences cheering and dancing. But the greatest moments are when you see the faces of concentration slowly relaxing into a smile, when the drummers start to enjoy the rhythm and their input into it.
|Learning a new rhythm on the caixa in al-Wallajah|
|Learning a new rhythm on the surdo in al-Wallajah|
Still lot’s to do before I go and I hope to also take away a rhythm or two taught to me by the participants. Whilst some of the groups might need more samba trainers, local or international, to come, I am hopeful that at least two of the bands have enough samba fever to continue learning by themselves.”