Bedford Djembe Group

High energy African drumming and song on Tuesdays in Clophill near Hitchin

Bedford Djembe Group performing Moribayassa ][ Bedford Djembe Group performing Jeti Jeti |At last there is now an African drumming group near Bedford, where you can learn traditional rhythms from West Africa and sing the joyous songs they accompany. As well as djembe we play dun duns, Ghanaian drums and percussion. You can drop in any week, but you'll get the most out of it with regular attendance.

Here you can see some of us performing in December 2009 as part of a Bedfordshire Music showcase concert, and below as part of Bedford Busking Festival in 2011. Other gigs include the Paralympics (which went ballistic!) and charity firewalks, as well as school concerts and fetes. In 2013 we rehearsed and performed at Letchworth Street Fest and Woburn Village Festival with Affinity Tribal dancers who added colour and flair to our performances! More recently we've played at Bedfordshire University in 2015 and at private parties.

Bedford Djembe Group playing at Keech Hospice charity firewalk, photo by Gnewt Photography |Bedford Djembe Group playing for the West African Paralympics farewell party |[ Bedford Djembe Group playing at Bedford Busking Festival ]> > > Watch us busking on Youtube! :-)

If you'd like us to perform at your event, please check our performance spec and then contact us with the date+time, location and type of event so we can give you an accurate quote. A typical 20-minute performance costs around £120 + travel costs.

Where?

Drums in The Birch Room at The Clophill Centre |In The Birch Room at The Clophill Centre | The Clophill Centre is easy to find, at MK45 4BT, on the eastern edge of Clophill (which is midway between Bedford and Luton), just after the white gates marking the end of the village.

We usually play in The Birch Room (pictured here) which is right down the end of the car park/driveway opposite the house, except for once a month when Reiki is on in there, so then we play in the yellow Yurt by the trees (not the new white yurt on the right hand side of the car park as you drive in), or possibly The Garden Room instead. The next Reiki dates for 2017 are on Tuesdays Jan 24th, Feb 14th, Mar 14th Apr 11th, May 9th, June 13th, Jul 11th (tbc), Aug 8th, Sep 19th, Oct 10th, Nov 14th and Dec 19th, but it should be easy to tell the difference between folk laying hands on bodies and laying hands on drums :-)

[ Drumming in the woods at The Clophill Centre ]On summer evenings if the weather is hot and no rain forecast, we often play outdoors in the woods, until 9ish when the rising dew starts to make the drums damp. If you can't find us in the building, we're probably in the woods, located at the end of a long straight track which begins between the house and the totem pole, and leads to the firepit near the treehouse. Please park in the car park (unless unloading lots of big drums) and enjoy the 100m walk as an ideal time to relax and unwind before you immerse yourself in the lovely energy of the woods and catch some of the special vibes of this magical place...

[Previously my Bedford classes had originally been at Elstow Bunyan Chapel on Fridays from April-June 2009. Then we moved to Tuesday evenings in The Arena Building at Bedford College until summer 2011.]

When?

We meet on Tuesday evenings, with the classes for various levels starting at 7pm and ending at 10pm. We welcome new members any week, so come along when you can, at 8pm if it's your first time. We'll pause for a short break from 9-9:15pm to chat, so bring a drink if you like.

We'll carry on drumming in the Half Term holiday. Any weeks where the class is not happening will be announced here and also on our (low-traffic) mailing list, so sign up for updates by sending me an email if you want to be kept informed of dates and other local drumming-related events/news. Here's a printable flyer if you have a noticeboard to publicise the sessions.

Levels

The sessions are structured so that everyone gets some focus on their level of playing ability. Please note that we've now changed the order of the sessions, so I can program up the Intermediate players with the bassline parts ready to support the Beginners and Improvers when they arrive. If you're not sure which category would benefit you most, just come at 8pm.

Times for different level players
Level Arrive at Leave at Focus time
3 7:00pm 10:00pm 7:00-8:00pm
0+1 8:00pm 9:15pm 8:00-8:45pm
2 8:00pm 10:00pm 8:45-10:00pm

Children

As long as they are keen players (not just being brought along due to lack of childcare at home) and can behave maturely, older children aged 12 and above are welcome (but not younger, as it changes the energy), accompanied by a parent. I also sometimes teach separate groups for younger children aged 7-11.

Cost

This cost includes use of dun duns, but djembe hire is £1 extra, so please let me know a day in advance so I know to pack a spare drum for you, or just turn up at 8pm any week if you have your own.

Subscribers

To encourage regular attendance which leads to faster progress, I also offer reduced prices to frequent attendees for 4-week blocks paid for in advance, at a cost of £35, saving £13 each month (please add on £1/week djembe hire as well).

Subscription dates for Autumn 2017 (* = in Yurt)
Month Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
September 5th 12th 19th* 26th
October 3rd 10th 17th 24th
November 31st Oct 7th Nov 14th* 21st
December 28th Nov 5th Dec 12th 19th*

This saves you money over the single weekly drop-in payment: basically the idea is that even if you can only make it to three weeks out of four, then it's still cheaper to subscribe. Plus, if you can't make it one week, you're welcome to attend my other group instead (at no extra charge to subscribers), as both groups run in parallel. Please note that payments are not carried forward to next month if you only make it twice one month (unless I have to cancel a session you paid for), but are just for the dates above.

If you join us at the start of a month, then advance payment can be decided upon at the end of your first session; if you love it, go for it! Or if you're not sure that you can commit, or if you join in mid-month, just keep paying weekly until subscriptions are due next month.

Your support is gratefully recognised and makes for a more cohesive group. By becoming a subscriber you are showing your support and you know that the group will be running even in your absence, as we can't run on thin air.

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