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Drums are Jamaica's heartbeat

Posted by Patricia Borns  July 7, 2011 07:37 AM

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The headliner band had gone home, the DJ was taking a break, and 2,000 Jamaicans in the audience had wandered off for fish and festivals at Jack Sprat’s on Treasure Beach. But that didn’t stop the music, as two young drummers spontaneously combusted on an empty grandstand, playing real good for free.

Spiritually as well as musically, Jamaica can be explored through its drumbeats, whether buying souvenir hand drums in Negril, or experiencing a kumina ritual on a guided tour with Maroghini, former percussionist for reggae icon Jimmy Cliff.

Thanks to a new wrinkle in Jamaica’s tourism, Rastafarian drums and drumbeats are part of a groundswell of Rasta homestays and tours. Even the famously remote hideouts of the Maroons (runaway African slaves and Taino Indians) have a new website – and an opportunity to hear drums in the communities of Accompong, Scotts Hall and Moore Town.

Too lazy to leave the beach? Try a local radio station on your smartphone. Jamaica’s drums are everywhere!

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