Trea Jensen of Eastend made a visit to the Grand Coteau Heritage and Cultural Centre earlier this summer to lead West African drumming circles that were aimed at helping teach others what these drumming sessions are all about.
The talented Eastend artist has made many similar trips to Shaunavon in the past, providing area residents with a truly fun - and almost liberating - activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, even if they don't have a musical background.
West African drumming is an activity that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy, including those trying it for the first time. The experience, however, is much more than just hitting a drum.
“With the West African percussion, there's a really cool connection to the land," said Jensen. "All the patterns that are played have some kind of connection to ritual, like a wedding or a funeral, farming, seeding, harvest, and fishing - those life events that we all experienced. There's a drum pattern for all that, and it's part of the community, its part of the celebrations.”
The drumming can also have other positive effects for participants as well, including health benefits.
“It builds healthy right and left connections with your brain and builds new neural pathways in your brain," she explained. "It also helps with coordination. It is the same thing for music in general - music influences can help people with Alzheimer's or dementia for example."
Drumming can also help reduce stress for the mind and body, and is another form of exercise.
Participants in a drum circle can also gain the benefits of taking part in a group effort, and the positive feelings that come from a shared experience.
“Drumming does bring a sense of joy and a sense of wellbeing," she added. "And you don't even have to be drumming to get those positive sensations. I encourage people, even if they can’t drum because for some physical reason or they feel paralyzed with trying something new, to just sit and feel the rhythm.”
Jensen has been drumming since 1998. She started after watching a performance at her daughter’s school, and later signed up for lessons.
“We were all excited to learn African drumming, because it's so infectious," she said. "It just gets into your being and creates joy and excitement.”
After lessons Jensen joined a drumming group in Calgary and continued to do the drumming when she moved to Eastend.
Trea, an acclaimed artist based in Eastend, is also involved in other programs, including activities at the Eastend Historical Museum.
For example, the museum will be hosting a Creative Collage on Canvas workshop on Saturday September 11th from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Then, on Saturday, September 25th from Noon to 4pm the museum will be hosting a Luminary Lanterns session.
For more information on those activities or to register call 306-295-3375.
To learn more about West African drumming and more about what Jensen does, visit her website treajensen.com
Jacob Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shaunavon Standard