African Drum Circle brings worldly beats to the library

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Thu., Aug. 11, 2011
Gabrielle, Caitlin and Kristin Thayer enjoy an evening out with Joe Knox (left), their father and grandfather. Photos by Kitty LeShay.
Gabrielle, Caitlin and Kristin Thayer enjoy an evening out with Joe Knox (left), their father and grandfather. Photos by Kitty LeShay.

Conga J, also known as Jami Ray, recently brought his collection of drums to the Stafford Library so that patrons - both children and adults - could experience their rhythms. “Rhythm is a big part of life, from a person’s gait to the spinning of the earth around the sun,” Ray said. The Aug. 9 African Drum Circle was one of many programs featured at the library this season in keeping with the summer reading program theme, “Many worlds, many stories.”

“Music is a universal language which allows people to commune with each other. Every society throughout history has drumming in their culture. A sad song in English is the same in Arabic,” Ray explained.

He began his career in music 10 years ago, and in addition to acquiring more than 40 drums - some of which he has skinned or reheaded himself - Ray has become a jack of all trades, playing several instruments. “Sharing what I love is what I enjoy the most about doing these programs,” he said. And his audience seemed to enjoy beating on the drums.

Many of the participants take advantage of most or all programs at the library. Veronica Halloran brings her two girls, as well as her extended family and friends, to many of the programs offered. “What I really like is that it is quality programming which is free and anyone can come,” she said.

Debra Galotto, the library’s program director, has her eye out for interesting events to offer patrons. “We hear from other libraries about performers and look for their recommendations,” she said. “All our events are listed at StaffordLibrary.org and are free of charge to the Stafford community and residents of other towns,” she added.

Conga J allowed his audience to choose their own drum and instructed them in various beats and sounds. As he led the group, the sound reverberated throughout the library.

The next “Many worlds, many stories” event will be an Indian dinner at 6 p.m. on Aug. 25, to be held at the library.


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