A drum circle is any group of people playing (usually) hand-drums and percussion in a circle. Other instruments and dance can also be incorporated into the drum circle. They are distinct from a drumming group or troupe in that the drum circle is an end in itself rather than preparation for a performance. They can range in size from a handful of players to circles with thousands of participants.
In order to work to complete my ND football experience, one of my girls invited me to the pre-game Friday midnight drum circle. I imagined some of the drummers from the band sitting on one of the quads (think big green lawn) letting the rhythms build into the cool night air. My conscious mind knew that this was wishful thinking, but my subconscious dreamed of an African drum circle building energy through the night.
What actually happened?
SR arrived at the steps of the main building at 11:15pm to save us a â€˜seat.â€™ RH and I arrived by 11:35pm to find that SR was, literally, standing on the outside part of the steps of the main buildingâ€”a cement ledge about a foot wide. People behind her and in front of her, but true to her word, there was space for all three of us to stand after being helped up by a rather large man. By the time that the entire drum line of the ND marching band showed up at midnight, there were probably more than 2,000 people gathered on the steps and the lawn, and ND security had to work to clear a circle for them. What followed was 30 minutes of ND cheers mixed in with drum circle improve. The drum line was a circle; it was a swarming, dancing group of percussionist. The crowd sang, clapped, and made all the motions of the traditional songs; they cheered the drum circle and soloists. Through it all, the energy built, and I could not help but be swept up in the moment with the crowd.
African drum circle? No.
A cultural experience? Yes.
Would I recommend it? Definitely.