Tankata Percussion are running a workshop on the Saturday at The Field Called Wonder. Anna chats to Steve Southall about why drumming makes community.
Anna: Hello Steve! Tell us about your work.
Steve: My main project is Tankata Percussion. The idea behind the group is to use music, drumming and song to create and form communities, whether they are in local areas, permanent or temporary communities or at events.
Anna: What style of drumming do you use?
Steve: Djembe and West African drumming and songs especially because they were designed to creates community.
Anna: Do those styles work for people who are not from that background?
Steve: Anyone that listens to music, who can tap a foot or clap hands has got rhythm. Drumming is for everyone - it is meditative, bonding, creates a sense of achievement when working as a team to create a complex musical piece from simple parts. It's joyous, fulfilling and always puts a smile on people’s faces.
Anna: How did you get into drumming?
Steve: I was socialising in London and saw these West African guys performing at a show. I got talking to them, remembered the name of drum and then got involved in the West African community in Reading. This led to travelling to Senegal to study drumming and songs and met lots of famous af musicians like Seckou Keita and Mamady Keita. I got to performed live on stage with them. I've gone back many times experienced village life and realised drum and song are integral part of their community lifestyle
Anna: Is Tankata Percussion just about drumming? Steve: No, it is the community formed around it. Part of the issue in UK is loneliness. Even family units of parents and children need to be part of a larger group. We get a lot of parents along, who love drumming, and the cake and the teat bit too!
Anna: Where can we experience Tankata Percussion?
Steve: At the Tankata Weller Centre Thursdays 7-10pm Readipop Studios Weds 7-10 for all levels.
We will be performing at Readipop, at Passing Clouds world music venue in London, Truckfest, Drum Camp, PennFest, Abene Festival in Reading, MTV music awards in Lisbon, at Wycombe Swan, at Festival of Life Veggie/Vegan in London.