Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Drum Circle

University City, in St. Louis County, borders the City of St. Louis. (Remember our STL civics lesson?) It gets its name from Washington University, part of which makes up U. City’s southeastern flank. Its quirky, hip main drag along Delmar Boulevard is called The Loop. I think the trolleys from the city used to turn around there years ago.

The Loop is full of oddball shops and restaurants, an art house cinema and a locally famous club named Blueberry Hill where local resident Chuck Berry drops in to play. I was walking through the area with my camera last weekend. The people at sidewalk cafĂ© tables didn’t particularly want their picture taken by a stranger. And then I heard it.

Pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse, one and two and three and four. Counter rhythms. Syncopation. Riffs of balanced/unbalanced beats booming from many percussion instruments. In a small plaza by the farmers market was a drum circle, 12 or 15 people beating it out. Most but not all were black. There was only one woman. Their faces looked unaware of each other, each in an individual reverie, but they played as an ensemble. I orbited the circle taking scores of pictures while most of the drummers ignored me. It was like finding a diamond on the sidewalk.

Tomorrow: Thursday Arch Series - And Now For Something Completely Different

4 comments:

RamblingRound said...

Your description brings those drum beats to life. Thanks for stopping by Selma, Ala. Daily Photo.

lv2scpbk said...

I bet some of them could play those very well. Would be interesting to listen to.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a splendid photo and I can just hear the drum beat. The colors are nice and rich.

This is the second episode of the Robin feeding the babies. Mom had her head down a throat today.

Anonymous said...

The drum circle is a nightmare for anyone that actually lives near the loop. Especially those that have jobs and need to get up for work on Monday morning (unlike those in the drum circle) . It is nothing short of a public nuisance. On top of everything, I have rarely heard worse drum playing.