Different Drummers: Church holds fundraiser for Africa mission

african drumming
The music group DrumConnection plays for the crowd during last night’s Plymouth Church fundraiser for their Africa mission.

By Laura Krantz/Daily News staff


MetroWest Daily News

Posted Jan 23, 2012 @ 12:43 AM



The Patriots game was on in the lobby, but when the drum beat picked up in the other room, people last night forgot about football, at least for a little while. Fingers tapped, knees began to bounce, and the audience, in spite of themselves, started swaying in their seats at the parish hall of Plymouth Church yesterday.

The pounding reverberations of 10 hollow instruments, beat by hands and heavy wooden rods, made people dance. Ba ba boom, ba ba boom, ba ba boom.


“The body was meant to move,” said Alan Tauber, who led last night’s drumming. The performance by the West African drum group DrumConnection kicked off last night’s fundraising dinner.


Tauber is director of the Arlington-based drum group. Proceeds from the event benefit a project the church supports in Tanzania, which builds wells for villages without nearby water supplies.


“They walk a long way to find just a bucket of water,” said Castor Sanguya, a Tanzanian who oversees the well-building project from Iringa, Tanzania. Volunteers said women spend at least six hours a day trudging to the nearest water source, returning home with 45-pound buckets balanced on their heads.


Plymouth Church so far has sponsored 23 wells in Tanzania. With a well in their village, women have time to get a job or go to school, Sanguya said. The clean water also reduces the prevalence of water-borne illnesses like diarrhea. “I really have noticed a difference,” he said yesterday. The Tanzanian heads home today after his first visit to the United States.


He explained last night the importance of drumming to Tanzanian daily life. “It brings people together after hard work,” he said. Each of the 126 tribes in Tanzania has a unique type of drumming. People drum after the harvest, at parties and when there are problems, he said. “It makes people join together, to that problem,” he explained.


Watching the performance was 9-year-old Kathryn Lyon and her mother, Susan. “I liked it,” Kathryn said shyly, fumbling with an African drawing that was part of the dinner table decorations. “It was a really nice beat,” her mother said.


But while Kathryn and others might have swayed a bit, when drums start beating at home, Sanguya said, “people get on the floor.”


He smiled at the Americans’ attempt at African rhythms, but took their interest as a compliment. “That shows how good our culture is,” he joked.


As others trickled back into the lobby to watch the fourth quarter, he demonstrated dances in the hallway.


(Laura Krantz can be reached at 508-626-4429 or lkrantz@wickedlocal.com. Follow her on Twitter at laurakrantzmwdn.)


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