A film about four young African American bucket drummers from South Side Chicago, who will embark upon a rites of passage journey into Senegal, West Africa.
We have the pleasure of introducing you to a group of self-taught street musicians who allowed us to enter their world of bucket drumming. We recognized the connection that these young men have with African drumming and want to provide them the opportunity to further explore this inherent skill. Exposing them to traditional drumming will allow them to see a direct link to their unique affinity toward the drum and their African heritage. We will film this 2-week intensive cultural and music enrichment program in Senegal where they will receive specialized one-on-one training with native drummers. This will allow them to make stylistic comparisons to their own self-taught techniques, and that of seasoned gurus who have perfected their art through generations of training. This journey will serve to further enhance their sense of spiritual and emotional well-being as well as broadening their options moving forward in life.
We sincerely believe in the importance of this project. It is our humble desire to create a phenomenal opportunity to foster the creative minds of these young men. We hope that sharing this story will encourage cultural communities to embolden their youth as they seek meaningful artistic expression.
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.
Meet the Boys
Demetrius Johnson (18 years old) “Probably don’t nobody down here do African beats... And we’ll really know the history of drumming.”
D’Quan Jackson (17 years old) “Music is in our blood and we are going to our homeland because that’s where music came from.”
DaMonte Williams (18 years old) “I didn't ever think I'd be anywhere other than Chicago.”
How We Make It Happen
The host of this educational experience is Mr. Medoune Yacine Gueye (also known as Baba Dame Gueye). Mr. Gueye is a traditional Griot from Senegal West Africa. He has had extensive training through initiation in the culture and traditional rhythms, songs and dances of the Mandingo, Jolla, Bambara, Se’ere and Wolof ethnic groups in the Sene-Gambian region of West Africa. He is proficient in the poly-rhythmic musical forms of the Djembe, Sabar, Sawrouba Kutiro drums and balaphon. He is dedicated to the perpetuation of his craft through the formation of his organization - FARA LAMBE HOUSE OF DRUMS (FLHOD), INC. His first annual education & cultural tour to Senegal, “NDAK DAWOUR”, was in June 2005.
We are scheduled to leave for Senegal June 20, 2012. In order to ensure the success of this project, we are currently asking donors to contribute what they can to help us reach our goal and take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. The total estimated cost is $20,000 and the fundraising deadline is May 16, 2012. Please keep in mind that the production crew is donating their time. Our budget will be used to secure the following:
Airfare (3 bucket drummers, 1 chaperone and 3 film crew members)
Transportation (to and from the airport)
Food and Lodging
Cultural Excursions (For the bucket drummers)
In an effort to thank you for your support, we have set up perks for donors that donate the following amount:
$50 – Postcard from Senegal signed by bucket drummers
$100 – Drum Beat JourneyT-shirt
$250– Free admission to a concert performance of bucket drummers after return from Senegal.
$1000 – Credit as an individual or business sponsor on event flyers and film.
On behalf of the DBJ crew, we extend our heartfelt appreciation and thank you for your support!