Lübeck, Germany 2016 Report – October 2016

LÜBECK is a beautiful old city in the very north of Germany. Near the Baltic Sea, it is one of the major ports of Germany. Situated on the the river Trave, the oldest part of Lübeck sits on an island enclosed by the river .

The old town centre is dominated by seven church steeples. The two oldest, the city's cathedral and Saint Mary’s, were both built in the 13th and 14th centuries. Because of its extensive Brick Gothic architecture, Lübeck is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The people of Lübeck love to paint the entrance doorways to there houses with bright and lively colored and designs.

Much of the old town has kept it’s medieval appearance with old buildings and narrow streets. At one time the town could only be entered via any of four town gates, of which only two remain today. The most well-known Holstentor gate is two massive towers enclosing a large entrance archway. It has the typical Lübeck “False Top" architecture sitting on top of the center arch. 

What do I mean by “False Top” architecture? If you look side ways and behind the old 5- and 6-story medieval buildings facing the main streets of Lübeck, you will see that the top story, or the graduated to a tower story, are just a single wall on top of the front of the building with windows in it = “False Top.” In this area of the town center, people walk or bike everywhere. 

Helga Reihl and Peter Kaiser, are “Rhythm Care Givers” for the Lübeck community and multiple VMC graduates. They have their individual projects organizational identities and they also partner up from time to time, such as being the local organizers for this part of the VMC DrumAbout.

I just saw Helga a few weeks ago in the Barcelona 3-day Playshop. Besides doing community drum circles and working with refugees in the surrounding cities, Helga is one of the music teachers who is a part of a music school co-op that is run by the independent music teachers themselves. It is called “Musikurn” with includes Guitars, Horns, Piano, Drumming, etc.

Because of her work with many people from different cultures and languages, Helga created a website with a basic description of a drum circle. That description is in 20 languages: Below is the url of the webpage with the languages.  Helga says that everything is free and can be shared by anyone!


Peter Kaiser is a hand drum teacher who works all over the city in schools and privately. He is the leader of a Samba group called “Zabumm” and is playing constantly, as well as integrating drum circles into his events. Together Peter and Helga brought their community together for the two events we did in Lübeck.

We offered the 'The Universal Principles Of Hand Drumming' and the Open Community Drum Circle programs at the "Andreas-Wilms-Haus Whis" which is an auditorium owned by the nearby church. The church gave us the venue at no cost because of the work that Helga and Peter do in the community in Lübeck and the surrounding area, with refugees and special populations.

The Universal Principles Of Hand Drumming workshop had 30 attendees. The beginning beginner players got the big picture, and the advanced players got their rhythmical butts kicked. I will go into the different aspects taught in the The Universal Principles Of Hand Drumming workshop in a later report. If you have seen me teach it at the Seattle World Percussion Festival, you have seen a shortened ‘Haiku' version of this educational but entertaining Lecture/Demonstration - “Hands on” Playshop.

The family-friendly Community Drum Circle was held at the same site not long after the drum class. Peter and Helga hoped and expected around 100 people to show up, so we set up a 3-row 70-person circle with extra stacked chairs and drums/percussion in corners of the auditorium. This kind of set up assures that the center rows of seats are filled up before adding more outside rows.

By the time I finished doing "Drum Call” and handed over the circle to Peter, Helga and Benjamin to facilitate, the room was packed with 150 excited drum circle spirit contributors.

Everyone all played their parts well and some great rhythm magic was made that night. Thank you Helga and Peter for all your good work in the trenches. You know how well you have built community during an rhythm event, when half of the community stays behind to ‘roady.'

As the "Master Packer,” Ben stood in the back of the big van as we handed him whatever type of REMO drum that he called for. We packed up the GEWA DrumAbout tour van in no time and now we are ready to travel South for the outdoor cultural festival in Kassel Germany.

Life is a dance...   Arthur