Festivalgoers sway to rhythm of drums African, Caribbean beats, dancers, music lessons featured at city event

September 22, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

The beat could be heard for blocks yesterday -- dozens of drums thumping, being played in a circle on Baltimore's 27th Street.

The drums were part of the second Baltimore International Rhythm Festival held yesterday at St. Johns United Methodist Church at 27th and St. Paul streets. The daylong festival, sponsored by the Baltimore International Rhythm & Drumming Society, was a celebration of drums and drumming.

Hundreds of people gathered along East 27th Street, playing their drums or dancing to the African, Caribbean and other rhythms.

PTC "What's special about this festival is that you're not just watching somebody perform. Everybody is participating, adults, children," said Rory Turner, president of the rhythm and drumming society.

The festival included workshops for adults and children, and performances by rhythm and dance troupes and percussion bands.

But the circle, which was new at this year's festival, was the most popular event. Anyone could take part -- just bring a drum and join in. Those playing other instruments, like Woody Lissauer, 37, of Baltimore, who brought his violin, flute and guitar, were drowned out. Still, he asked, "What's better than a rhythm jam? It certainly creates a sense of community more than anything else I know."

Tony Martin, 40, of Baltimore said: "I only meant to stay a few minutes, but I've been here for two hours. It's kind of hard to pull away."

As the beat resonated from the circle, members of the Aurora Dance Troupe, a group from Howard Community College, spontaneously jumped in the middle of the ring, dancing to the beat and receiving cheers from the crowd.

"This is a wonderful festival," said Ellyne Brown, 31, a Baltimore resident and member of the troupe. "You can't help but start to move. It's like it's in your soul. Your spirit just comes out."

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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