If you’ve been anywhere in the city, chances are you’ve seen and heard the bucket drummers (a.k.a. the Bucket Boys) play.
Well, meet Drum Beat Journey. DBJ is a community activist program who’s vision is to send a group of young bucket drummers from the South Side to participate in a study abroad music enrichment program with Medoune Yacine Gueye and trained Senegalese percussionists. Elilta Tewelde is the visionary behind DBJ, so she can give you the behind it better than I can:
I was born in Eritrea, East Africa and immigrated to California in 1981. From an early age I was exposed to various styles of African drumming and dance. I learned that drumming is an instrumental part of the African culture. At the age of 16, I returned to Eritrea. This trip had a tremendous impact on my life; it allowed me to reconnect with my roots and gave me insight on the importance of heritage, history, traditional music and community.
When I moved to Chicago in 2005, I was surprised by the vast number of young bucket drummers that performed throughout the city. I was impressed by the dedication of these young street performers; how they hone their craft by playing the bucket drums as a means of income and an escape from street life. In the winter of 2010, while driving home from work I saw a young brave man beating his bucket during one of Chicago’s coldest days. It was at this very moment that this idea was born. I thought to myself, “How amazing would it be to take a group of bucket drummers to Africa and expose them to the origin of this art.” And here we are now! I feel that in this journey to Senegal these young men will experience the rites of passage through the beat of the drum.
For more information on how you can help out, click here.
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