Palermo, Italy October 2017

Italy's Never Ending Late Night - Palermo OCT 2017

Hello My Friends,

I am back in Palermo Sicily...
Sicily is an island situated at the bottom of the boot of Italy. It is ringed by Medieval villages nestled up against crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. In 3 weeks I have traveled from almost winter in Norway to the middle of Fall in Germany to ''Indian Summer' in Southern Italy.

Here in Palermo, Claudia and Santo Vitale of 'La Bogota Delle Percussione' have taken good care of me as usual. We call the SantoClas. Along with me, most of the Playshop attendees are hosted in their large family run hostel called 'A Casa di Amici’ (the friendly house). It was once a manor and then it housed the Police Anti-Mafia section until the Vitales turned it into a Hostel.

There are drums and instruments in every community room of the house. In the living room there are two saber drums, a super large frame drum on the wall and two Panlogo drums.

The large Gamalon drum that sits by the entrance of the TV room, is hit at least once by almost every one who walks in.

An African Bilaphone with mallets ready to play and a Koria sit in the corner of the TV room. There are at least seven Africian Bilaphones hanging on the walls around the three-story manor house.

On the wall of the large main stairway hangs 26 African Koras, all strung up and ready to play.

On the door of each bedroom is the name of a drum or instrument: Digeridoo - Tamburello - Taiko - Didgeridoo… I got to stay in the fancy Tamburello suite.

We had plenty of culturally specific players and recreational drummers. Also half of the VMC Facilitator Playshop participants had done one or more of the Rhythmical Alchemy Playshops that I have done in Southern Italy, so the music was fully present from the beginning. Since most of the people were staying at the The Friendly House Hostel, the late night rhythm jamming has been spontaneously happening for days before the Playshop even started.

Harshil was my Co-Facilitator in this Playshop. A many time 3-day, 6-day, and Mentor graduate, he has been building rhythm community in Italy for years.

In preparation for this program, Harshil translated our new, 50 page VMC Playshop workbook into Italian for the participants. The VMC Workbook has now been translated into 6 languages including Australian.

Harshil also translated and printed up large laminated charts from the manual for his presentations.

Notice the charts behind Harshil are written in Italian! They were very helpful in the presentations, and saved paper too.  {]]’;-)

When we met the day before the Playshop, it was obvious that he had done his homework. Harshil presented me with 35 written questions on the Playshop content details, and exercises. As we went through his well thought out questions, I found myself taking notes for myself that would fine tune the trainers manual that I have been constantly updating for the VMC Trainer Certification Playshop.

In Germany, half of our participants were returnee Playshop graduate challenge people. But in this Italy program we had no return graduates from any other VMC Facilitator Playshop training to challenge in our challenge exercises.

So Harshil and I explained each challenge exercise and then took the first couple of turns challenging ourselves. Then we opened it up for the basics to experiment with. They were very fearless and creative.  It was great fun for every one. We got to musicality very quickly.

Most of the time, Harshil delivered the cognitive part of the program and ran the exercises as Claudia sat next to me in the back and translated. When I was speaking to the group, Harshil would translate for me. That way there was less translation time used in the event, making more room for jump time activities.

Our closing family-friendly drum circle that the graduates facilitated had 120 participants. The stage/dance floor room accommodated the circle very well, but there had to be a lot of volume dynamics facilitated in a group this big.

Harshil did Drum Call, then he introduced Santo who has been a major player in building the Palermo rhythm community. From then on it was full Pop-Corn jump time facilitation for the Playshop graduates.

When the graduates finished their facilitation sequence and left the orchestration spot, they would go outside the circle and get a critique from Harshil.

Towards the end of the event, the dreaded X X XXX - X X XXX - X X XXX rhythm virus crept into the group rhythm. So I went in and while the ‘ROC’ (Rest Of the Circle) continued to play, I stop cut the Dun-Duns for a series of Call & Responses. By putting different dun-dun phrases into the rhythm mix, it erased the X X XXX rhythm virus. It was a totally successful Drum Circle Event.

When we get home, Charley is always waiting at the entrance of The Friendly House. He greets every one coming and says goodby to everyone leaving. We give his Tarantella frame drum a hit every time we walk by.


4 School Teachers

6 Music Teachers

5 Drum Teachers

9 Music Therapist

1 Elderly related Professionals

1 Adults At Risk Professionals

7 Kids at Risk Professionals

7 Special Needs Professionals

3 Corporate Facilitators

1 Psychotherapist

3 Personal Growth, Holistic councilors/ facilitators

5 Infant- Toddler Facilitators

1 Medical related, Doctors, Nurses and Health care Professionals

6 School Rhythm Event Facilitators

6 Community Drum Circles Facilitators

2 Drum Makers

4 Professional Musicians

All: Recreational Drummers

5 Culturally specific drummers

15 People Connected to nonprofit organizations

Life is a dance   Arthur

Harshil and I are on our way to Scotland…