African drum circle sounds off at library

OCEANSIDE — According to Chazz Ross, there are three rules to African drumming. “Have fun, have fun, and go back to rule No. 1,” he said.Ross will lead an all-ages African drum circle at the Civic Center Library on Feb. 16. Ross describes African drumming as aerobic, aggressive and played loudly.

He brings along 26 djembe African drums and numerous rhythm instruments for full audience participation.

Ross teaches participants to echo back the sounds he makes. Instruction is set to a story in which Ross leads the group on a musical journey through the jungle with animal and nature sounds.

“They’ll be playing sounds of animals, land, wind, weather, different sounds like thunder storms and rain,” Ross said.

Ross also encourages participants to create improvisational drum rhythms and share them with the group.

“It’s extremely fun,” Ross said. “They follow me and make up their own sounds.”

“It’s the drummers’ show,” he added. Ross said drumming is instinctual and expressive.“Everybody has their own rhythm,” he said. “Anybody who has a heartbeat.”Drumming also provides the reward of early mastery.

“They realize they can do things they didn’t think they could do immediately,” Ross said. Ross is a Dream Shapers roster artist.

Dream Shapers is a nonprofit cooperative that promotes performing artists and event educators. Performers include dancers, storytellers, mimes, trick ropers and traveling zookeepers. All artists must audition and have previous experience to get a spot on the Dream Shapers roster. Those who perform in schools must also list the learning standards their performance teaches.

An African Drum Circle Extravaganza will be held at Feb. 16 in the Civic Center Library Community Room. Admission is free.

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