Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The meaning of death in drum making

Every drum begins with a death. Something must stop moving, in order for something else to begin moving. The hide and hoop from the deer and tree must pass through formlessness before they come together as the skin and bones of the drum. The sound of the drum must pass through stillness before it has a voice.

Everything wants to live. No matter how seemingly insignificant to us humans, the smallest speck of crawling, creeping, flying life wants to keep living, to keep moving. This force that keeps wanting to move is the consciousness of vibration. This consciousness of vibration accumulates layers of harmonics and dissonances; layers of joy and grief. All the sound stays present. Everything moving is a song.

The wood holds the pressure of clamps and the stretch of it's fibre as sound. The hide holds the memory of the lime water soak and the pull of the knife as sound. We hold the sound of our many lives in the vibration of our voices and movement of our gestures. All these songs stay present.I recently had a dream in which I was running along a wide white sand delta with ribbons of sparking turquoise water on every side. The sparkles turned into wheeling white birds and suddenly I flew with them high above the figure of a woman walking away, far below me in this vast woven land of white and blue. I was singing a beautiful song, and kept singing it over and over until I awoke, saying to myself, this is a karma song.