After Germany &
Hello My Friends...
E En To Alla Spil… That is '1 - 2 - Lets All Play' in Danish.
Here is a big thanks to Anne Kathrine Henriksen for hosting me in Denmark. When you look at the spelling of her name, any westerner would pronounce her name as read, “Anne Kathrine,” but in Danish her name is pronounced: An (small ‘a') Kat (very small everything else). And I thought Chinese was tough.
Anna, as I call her, brought me into ‘Kobenhaven' (Copenhagen) Denmark to do a Community Drum Circle and a Rhythmical Alchemy Playshop. At this time of the year in Copenhagen, I would expect it to be cold, windy and rainy, but I was met with a fall breeze, clear sky and fluffy white clouds for my whole stay.
This city has more bikes than people. There is some car traffic in Copenhagen, but it is very light compared to most metropolitan populations that I have visited. The reason is that a long time ago, the whole city was designed for bicycling. It is Bike-Friendly, where as in most American cities, bike accommodations are retrofitted.
All main Copenhagen streets have a designated bike lane on both sides. Many of these bike lanes are raised and separated from moving traffic by having cars park next to the bike lane on the street side, thus separating and protecting the bike riders from moving traffic. There are lots of bike lanes that go where cars can’t. Many apartment buildings face a mini park-like bike path with pedestrian walk ways and lots of grass and trees separating the buildings across the “Bike Street.”
Because of the massive use of bikes, there are traffic rules especially for them that protect pedestrians. You stop at traffic lights even if there are no cars. You walk your bike when on the sidewalk, all bikes now use the car traffic, etc.
There is also an amazing menagerie of bike types being used here. There are elongated bikes with 3-foot long platforms attached to a low bar situated between the handle bars and the front wheel. That is where luggage or parcels could be bungeed down. One biker rode by me on such a bike that had a sleeping dog laying on the platform. There are many configurations of adult versions of tricycles, with one wheel in the back and two wheels in the front, some that carry a large boxed thingy, big enough for a teenager to sit in.
The bikes were used in the early horse-and-buggy days, as a fast way to deliver goods from the docks to individual customers in the city. They are still being use today for pizza and grocery deliveries.
We did a Community Drum Circle in the music room at the Skolen pa Islands Brygge, meaning” School at Island dock” (we were near the harbor/river), where Anna did her regular Drum Circles.
The make-up of the DC population was very interesting. There were no kids present, and the majority of the players in the circle were recreational drummers with playing chops. So "No Random Factors” in the mix. That made the event very interesting and very musical.
Drum Call was very short, just to get everybody on the same page, and most of the time I sat in the circle and played with everyone else contributing to the magic, and we did long lasting grooves. Not much intervention needed.
Some of the players were from Anne’s regular DC community, others were from a Samba/Bachucata-style performance group, others were from out-of-town, who came for the Rhythmical Alchemy Playshop to be held the next day at the same great sounding venue.
The few non-players who attended were curious school teachers and music therapists. So it was an adult circle with “Chops.” There is nothing like preaching to the converted while, at the same time, converting those who were already on the path but didn’t know it. We went 1/2 hour over the advertised ending time, but we were so GROOVY that nobody noticed, or cared...Not even me.
The RAP the next day was full of “Groovers” so I mostly facilitated basic groove initiator games such as: “By The Numbers,” "Groove to Solo," "Layering a Groove,” Call and Response to Groove,” etc. We just played into “Late Night” mode, even though it was in the middle of a brilliant Saturday afternoon.
Every time I stop here in Copenhagen, I have had the privilege of spending time with Peter Kragh-Jacobsen. Peter owns his own percussion production company, has a REMO distributorship and a drum/percussion shop downtown called Sllatc Centret (Percussion Center). It is great to hang out with a percussionist who is an instrument maker as well. We have traded notes and talked shop over the years. I also give thanks to him for providing a great mix of drums and percussion for both the DC and RAP programs here in the city. And a special thanks for his support, counseling and friendship throughout the years.
This report will be short and sweet, as I am now on my way to LEGO (MECCA) LAND in Billund in the center of Denmark. (Add here, the audio sound of John Hagedorn and Paul Dear running out the room and screaming every time I mention LEGOs).
This will be my second visit to LegoLand in Billund, and although I have visited all 7 LegoLands scattered around the world. This one is my favorite.
Copenhagen was one of my stops on the early REMO drum circle demonstration tours that we did back in the beginning of my rhythmical evangelism mission. I did the first drum circle here through Peters percussion shop and have also done a couple of corporate gigs in this country. But this is the first time that I had a chance to do an official Village Music Circle program here in Denmark. So now I can add it to my bucket list of countries where I facilitated a VMC program. That should make around 34 Countries now on my list. I’ve lost count. Ask Jeanne at the office.
Now on to LegoLand….. And then the Germany DrumAbout….
Life is a dance... Arthur