Wherever you go, appearances may be different but the life experience remains the same. The person who takes an in-depth journey becomes more and more sedentary. The number of destinations diminishes but the intensity of the experience increases. Within yourself, you possess life at its fullest. Embrace life at every moment and be thankful.


The Djembe,
Queen of Percussion
By Andrée Trempe

The djembe is first and foremost a communication instrument for the African people. Komi Jude Gbekou, veteran percussionist, says that djembe means “to be together.” He also relates that previously the djembe was used in the king’s court when he had a message to deliver to his people. In Africa, the djembe has a festive and sacred role in a variety of social, political, and religious events.

Closer to home, it is undoubtedly a favored tool for connecting to our inner vibrations. The tribal aspect and accessibility of this instrument attract people of all ages and professions in the name of music and in the name of a greater Wholeness that is our life force! Space and time are suspended. We soak up its rhythm in a state of joy and in the spirit of discovery. For a moment there are no borders, no interiors, and no exteriors. All seems possible!

Learning to play this instrument requires self-presence and sensitivity to the sounds of the djembe and the harmony of the group. In short order, simple notes like pi, pou, pa, twirl around to create an actual melody. Self-confidence, joy, brotherhood, and the sense of lightness that follows bring us that feeling of inner well-being. We become resplendent and luminous. Without realizing it, we have become more and more rooted in our essence.

There are special moments when djembe players gather together in a park for fun, in concert for a professional performance, or for weekly classes, and the earth seems to vibrate beneath our feet. We want to dance, to let ourselves go. Is this an effect created by the material the djembe is made from— tree trunks? Whatever, let’s just enjoy the experience! Cells you’ve ignored up to now might be awakening from their long slumber.

School Activities
Seasoned djembe players are introducing their rhythms to an ever-growing student audience. Regular practice leads to a notice­able increase in children’s ability to pay attention in the classroom. These  percussion workshops also let kids release their pent up tensions and transform them into creative energy.
Playing the djembe involves the whole body: seated, upright with a straight back, supple and firm hands, legs hugging the drum, and feet pressing into the ground.

Professional Activities
The corporate world of Quebec has shown a great deal of interest in percussion workshops. The instrument can even become a team-building tool for those occasions where individuals in the same company are asked to identify a common goal. The results seem convincing and may include improved time management, stress alleviation, and increased decision-making ability. A veritable synergy is inevitably created among  colleagues, in a playful environment.

The djembe is an instrument of unity and celebration par excellence that is accessible to all. Playing the djembe likely helps tap into unimagined forces.

I salute you, O queen of percussion!