Beats and buckets – Low-cost drumming group launches in Hay River

Left, experienced drummer Jesse Duford plays a Bob Marley beat while the rest of the group taps a pulse.

Sounds of a different sort echoed off the walls on Hay River’s main downtown drag on Saturday.

That’s because towards the end of a group music lesson, the newly-initiated bucket drummers relocated their circle from beneath fluorescent lighting in the community hall to the sunshine of the late afternoon.

On May 12, fiddle teacher and bucket drumming enthusiast Linda Duford led a group of more than 10 beginners and a few experts through some basic music theory and beginner beats. It wasn’t long before their rhythms were together and solid.

The intro workshop and jam sessions are usually held in conjunction with twice-a-year camps held by the Kole Crook Fiddle Association.

However, participant and co-organizer George Collins was more interested in holding a session dedicated to bucket drumming.

Collins, a self-described frustrated drummer who was kicked out of his high school band, said he was drawn to the activity and had been trying to get into a bucket drumming class for years.

“It’s relatively easy to pick up, and for an old guy like me,” he said. “All you need is buckets and a few sticks.”

Duford demonstrated the different tones and sounds that can be created from hitting several different parts of the bucket.

Throughout the few hours of the workshop, participants of all ages gathered with wooden drumsticks, took old ice cream containers or plastic buckets and squeezed them between their knees, and learned basic theory, timing and beats. They progressed to a rock ‘n’ roll beat and then tackled a calypso rhythm.

Duford plans to hold another bucket drumming session early this fall and hopes to incorporate fiddles.

“They go hand-in-hand,” she said. “It’s possible to have a four-part drum and the fiddle to carry a melody.”

by Angele Cano

Northern News Services