Sad Samba Goodbyes.


So this post is a week early, but I wanted to write it now, as next week I’ll be drowning in boxes, and hopefully at this time, I will be out and about singing rather than at home after a failed attempt at a night out… >.>

Usually I post photos I’m behind the camera on on here, but this time I’ve posted one that has me on it.  It was taken September 2012, at the ten mile point of the Great North Run, and is a pretty good reflection of some of the DrumDin motley crew.  Hope Nic doesn’t mind me stealing it!!!

I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of guys to begin my new hobby with, and sharing my Wednesday nights with them since August of last year has been nothing short of a privilege and a joy.

I began the search for a new hobby a couple of years ago – from wanting to get out and meet people rather than boredom, although that played a part too – and it took a very long time for me to find something that really sparked any interest, let alone desire to make the effort to get out of my somewhat dark and twisty place and go and actually talk to people and try and be social. Samba is something I’ve had an awareness of for a while now – as one of my good friends back home has played in Sheffield Samba Band for many years, but it was never something that interested me; until this summer.

One of my best friends and his children were coming up to visit for a week, as has happened a couple of times, but this time it was the summer holidays, and I also had the time off to be able to spend most of that with them, so was looking for different things that we could all do together, and just so happened to spy that a Samba Workshop was happening the day after they arrived, no less than a quarter of a mile away from my flat, in the Amphitheatre in South Shields. Ran the idea past my friend, who thought it was a good one, and we decided not to tell the sproglings just in case it was rained off , and instead surprise them.

That afternoon was so much fun. The guys running the workshop had made it accessible to everyone there, so the sproglings loved it; there were shakers around that toddlers could use and not feel left out, and for the adults there were more complex things to try hands at. So I decided there and then on the basis of that to go and have a look for something, as I hadn’t had that much fun doing a group activity in a very long time. So a hunt around on the internet later, and I’d narrowed it down to three outfits, sent emails to two, which were never replied to and one to DrumDin, who said they would be happy for me to come along.

So I decided to go, and the next Wednesday, it was absolutely throwing it down, with flash flooding and storms and all sorts going on, but I went and turned up at the venue we were using at the time, looking like a drowned rat, and was promptly thrown in at the deep end, and loved every minute of it!!

We may not play strictly Samba songs – we have at least one drum and bass song in there, as well as an arrangement of Missy Elliott’s ‘Bad Man’ (current new thing) but I’m more than happy with that!

I play the mid surdo (which conveniently sits between the high and low surdos!) which is the second lowest drum we have in terms of pitch, and have learned so much even in just a few months. Not just in terms of parts, and songs,understanding how things fit together better and I can honestly say that Samba has become an integral part of my week. If it’s been a bad week, then I’ll look forwards to ‘drum therapy’ – when I know I can go and take my stress out in a creative way, and do something fun at the same time, and if it’s been a good week, I can go celebrate it too. But also there’s this group of people I see every week, and look forwards to going and spending time talking, laughing, creating, getting things wrong, and having fun with who I am going to miss so, so much. And that in turn has helped my confidence to grow, and enabled me, along with a bit of help from some other awesome people to get out of the dark twisty place. I am already looking forwards to finding opportunities to go up there and go to practice and gigs where possible.

So, I want to say a big thank you to all the guys at DrumDin, for adopting me into the fold and for giving me some awesome times. I promise you I’ll be back when I can for stuff! Special thanks go to Nik, who runs the group though, not only for the time and effort he puts into the group and arranging creating the songs, but also for his teaching – never genuinely patronising, plenty of humour, and when there’s laughter over messing it up, you know you’re being laughed with, and not at.

So I’ll leave you with only a couple of things – firstly, go try it out – and if not Samba, try SOMETHING – you won’t regret it, and go have a look at the websites I’m about to list. And you know, if anyone is feeling especially generous then feel free to buy me a drum!! 😉 – the webpage for DrumDin – my Samba family. -SPARK – some of my very talented friends play in here – you might have seen their pictures in the papers of NYE activity round the world… ? – Nik, our MD’s own site.


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