We are a community drumming project who meet at a secluded location in woods near Hertford to play music from Africa and beyond. Our secret base is The Strawbale Studio, a round dance studio made of straw, which has a good dead acoustic that absorbs loud sounds, making it ideal for drums. The clear roof also provides direct sunlight and an enveloping sense of being surrounded by nature.
We have been playing together here
regularly since 1998, having decided to
form our own group as there was no other in the area; we'd previously attended
African drum classes in
performed with The
Watford Percussion Project until leader Molefe Pheto returned to South Africa.
Our players come from Potters Bar, Hatfield, Welwyn, St. Albans, Stevenage,
Hitchin, Arlesey, Shillington, Clophill, Biggleswade and Luton. Recently we've
also been rehearsing near Ampthill in Bedfordshire. We subsequently discovered
another group in High Wycombe,
and continue to forge links with other drummers in Herts, Beds and Bucks.
I'm also happy to announce the formation of my
new group in
Bedford, and evening classes at
The University of
The Secret Bass group covers a range
of abilities from beginners to advanced intermediate players. A crack team of
experienced players are currently in training for stealth missions into
dangerous territory. Our first
Festival of Song, Drum and Dance on
was warmly received, and we enjoyed playing alongside
Vitae Drum Circle at
Art In Penn Woods on
In 2007 we played on Sunday
Little Berkhamsted village green, and then
Fun Day on Sunday
2007-09-07 we also
played for the
Trust to raise awareness for their
campaign. In 2008 we played at a charity dinner for
International Evening on
2008-04-19, and at
Hertford Castle on
2008-06-01 as well as doing a
These days we don't perform very often but continue playing for the love of it.
We are primarily a drumming group, although dance also played a major role for a couple of years when Marta Checchi taught here before she returned to Italy. We also enjoy singing traditional songs from around the world. Most of us use djembes and percussion to play drum music from Nigeria, Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa. Here are some rhythms we play. We now have our own set of dun duns which were hand-made for us by a friend in Guinea and shipped over, so now we can fully live up to our name and extend our repertoire down into subsonic frequencies.
© copyright Malcolm Smith 2004-12-20 - last updated 2010-08-02