I was raised on rhythm. My Godmother played Latino music while she cooked, Grandma played Big Band tunes as I danced in my plastic pearls, my sister played in the marching band, Mother took me to a pow wow on the Big Thicket Reservation and struggled to keep me still and in my seat when all I wanted to do was move with the painted Muses swirling and stepping to the beat.
It’s always been about the drums, percussion – tambora, bongo, toms, bata, timbales, bodhrain, taiko, djembe, bass, maracas, temple blocks, cowbell (snickers). The instant I feel it, once the beat takes me I become an entirely different creature, the humming in my abdomen like a loa channeling through my very bones and muscles to undulate, hips annunciating every syncopation, feet pounding the earth in ritual patterns.
Dance the pattern, feel the Earth in your bones
And those who wield such instruments are indeed my masters. They hold my heartbeat in their hands, puppeteers commanding my limbs at their whim with stick, pedal, and palm, spinning their spell, tangling me in their metered web.
I feel sorrow, merengue makes me smile. I feel drained, metal and rock n roll make me soar. I need to cut loose, R&B makes me wild. Celtic music speaks to my heritage, to the magicks within my soul. Taiko speaks to the warrior spirit within.
There is nothing like it in the world, better than any drug, more passionate than a lover, pounding in my veins, thrumming in my psyche so I am lost….. lost to the beat, slave to the rhythm.
The rhythm is around me
The rhythm has control
The rhythm is inside me
The rhythm has my soul
– Peter Gabriel, “The Rhythm Of The Heat”