Barbara Gail, a renowned expert on hand-drumming and dance, will be coming to Greene County next month to present her workshop “Women, Rhythm and Ritual.”
The workshop will be held at a private residence in Afton from 6:30-9 p.m. on May 13 and is open to all women. It will be the first stop on Gail’s spring 2022 tour, which will focus on the tambourine, a small, jingled, frame drum with a history that spans millennia and continents, a news release says.
“The tambourine is much more than what we see and hear in popular music, simply striking to make the cymbals sizzle,” says Gail in the release. “The jingled frame drum is actually a powerful, trance-inducing instrument, steeped in a rich, spiritual women’s history for use in ceremonial procession and in unifying a community in celebration. From cool jingle rolls to mesmerizing rhythms, there’s so much sound from one small drum.”
Known as an alchemist in the arts, Gail has been “spreading the joys of rhythm and movement, hand-drumming and dance to people of all ages, abilities & challenges, professionally since 1993,” her website says. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a minor in dance from Hampshire College.
“Women, Rhythm and Ritual” describes Gail’s transformational ceremonies and workshops using the drum, song and dance, the release says.
“A contemporary twist on an ancient women’s tradition, this beginner drum class is infused with deep feminine connection, beauty, and meditative, healing drum magic,” the release continues.
Gail’s workshop will include hands-on instruction on holding the tambourine and playing its basic strokes, a guided rhythmic meditation, song chants, a drum ritual, group multi-rhythm drumming and more.
Space is limited. No musical or drumming experience is required, and tambourines will be provided for participants to use during the workshop. Tambourines will also be available for purchase before and after the workshop, along with copies of Layne Redmond’s book, “When the Drummers Were Women: a Spiritual History of Rhythm.”
The cost is $50. An early-bird discounted price of $40 is available through May 3.
The workshop will include a presentation of the history of the tambourine and other frame drums with ancient artifact images from the late Layne Redmond’s “When the Drummers Were Women” collection. Gail’s workshop is based in Redmond’s tradition.
Redmond, an internationally renowned frame drummer and teacher, authored the highly acclaimed, seminal book, “When the Drummers Were Women: a Spiritual History of Rhythm,” now translated into several languages.
“Layne documented the history of women who drummed, danced and sang in the temples and in the streets, in ceremonies and celebrations, thousands of years ago throughout the Ancient Mediterranean World,” said Gail. “These women harnessed rhythm, sound and movement to rouse community consciousness and attain spiritual awareness for healing and divination.
“The face of women’s spiritual drumming has been and continues to be transformed internationally, thanks to Layne.”
Gail’s upcoming tour follows on the heels of her appearance at the 2021 Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention, the largest percussion organization and four-day convention of its kind in the world. At the event, Gail represented Redmond, her friend, teacher and mentor, during a ceremony to posthumously induct Redmond into the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame.
For more information or to register for the upcoming workshop, go to the event page at fb.me/e/1zIAoNCMM. To learn more about Gail, visit barbaragail.com.