Sunday, 22 January 2017

Another Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos & Videos





We all have an inner beat; but only some are able to express it outwards.

After last year’s A Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos & Videos, here’s another one full of passionate Magick and more beautiful people, which I have compiled through the period between end of January 2016 and January 2017.

For some of us, the smaller and cosier circles on Saturdays — also on public holidays — have become the preferred days rather than Sundays when it usually gets chaotic and the music could easily get too loud, sometimes out of tune. Nevertheless, the energy resulting from drumming would still reach you even if you are playing alone or listening to someone who does. 

Before the photos and videos, the following is a recent snippet from what I wrote about what goes on there:

It should be raining tomorrow in Venice so a few from the Circle suggested we go today. The weather and the sunset were truly perfect. I began playing all by myself then Ronald Mc Kinley joined with his tambourine. He was actually the second person to let me try his Djembe when I first arrived at the Drum Circle three years ago, so I was happy that he was jamming on mine and decided to capture this historical moment.

We had a great time despite no one else showing up from the drummers. Eventually Ron left, but not before sharing with me the story of the Rastafarian who moved the Venice Drum Circle from the Boardwalk to the sand and who taught Capoeira; as well as how the cops, the rules, and the whole area were way different in the mid 80s when he first moved. I learned afterwards that music has been in the area since Cubans played there in the 1940s. 

A tad later, David Healey appeared out of thin air on his bike and with his camera as he usually does. He snapped a few shots of myself before chatting for a good 15 minutes — being shot twice during his years in Vietnam, how they drum in Haiti, and how he lived all over the world before ending up here on the beach. When he knew about my age, he called me a kid... and I sort of had to agree with him and added that the secret to a full life is keeping the spirit of the inner child alive.

The magical thing in all this is that Ron is in his mid 60s while David is in his mid 80s. Also Steve Engel with his smile and eccentric hats is in his 70s; Italiano Pino with his congas is another in his 60s; and Edward Tillmon is yet another genuine Venice Beach oldtimer. And Lonny is 88, yes you heard that right.

So basically age is simply a mere number; it’s all in the heart and mind. And these guys are an inspirational living proof.

Then finally before leaving, I went closer to the beach to take a photo of the glorious sunset. Right then and there was a police car passing in front of me by the horizon. Since the sun was right in my eyes I couldn’t see the details; but the two officers inside the vehicle just gave me the peace sign, which I happily returned. It might have been officer Roberts or some of his colleagues. But yeah, the LAPD are now pretty cool with me as I am with them.

Do you see why I love it here?  

The interesting comments which resulted from posting the above on Facebook inspired a few of us to dig deeper into the history of the Venice Beach Drum Circle. As such, right before I left this time we were able to interview some old-timers and the final outcome should be one heck of a cool documentary. So Stay Tuned!

Now to the hypnotic wizardry to delight your senses and alter your consciousness. Enjoy...


The first Circle of 2016 after coming back from Egypt: Dancing Sonie, Edahn (far right),
and Alex (green shirt on the left) and the rest of the boys doing their thang
— February 


video
The video of that first sweet reunion with the Brethren

On the boardwalk before we carry on on the sand
Being watched by my buddy’s wife, Aleyda, and their kid Adel

Playboy — April
Stevetization Happy Nation The one and only Steve Engel
Shoot The Shooter The hilarious photographer David Healey
L.A Women Sunday Afternoon
 David Healey with Kat, Monique, and Freddy goofing around in front of the cops
Tribalise
The view we get to enjoy while there
Natalie and her captivating smile

The Children of Light including a doggino

Only two people are truly happy in this world; the crazy and the child. Be crazy to
achieve what you desire, and be a child to enjoy what you have achieved.

Photo credit:
Oliver Rossberg
Gotta love Kadi and his musical toys

A few of us were jamming by the Boardwalk after the Drum Circle when I see this dude
passing by. For those who don
’t know him, he’s been touring the U.S with his goat and he
actually became a funny Internet meme. So I stopped drumming and ran after him to get his
photo. He was a little worried from the cops but it all ended well. His name is Eric
Rockclub Brown and his goat is named Deer. Check his goatfunme” — May
The Others
Taste The Rainbow

video 
Do What Thou Wilt
With sweet Steffi from Belgium — June

Today’s Drum Circle may have been one of raddest, most phenomenal gatherings in quite
a while. Phantabulous energy. Amazing weather. Drummers in-sync. Shiny happy women
dancing. You simply cannot ask for more. Today I
’m a legitimate One Lucky Soul.
Uncle Omar in his element visited by the sweet Kiddos. I think I would actually
make a kool dad... if I wanted to.
Photo Credit: Hisham Abouseif

We all smile in the same language, but it’s wicked when it’s got an English
accent:
The lovely Sky Edwards.
Atusa in pink and Natalie further facing the sun in green swimsuit 

video
Celebración
Keeping the Beat with Paul (left), Tim (middle), Ronald (back standing),
and Scott (first right)
— July
You know the circle is kicking ass when cops come out of their cars while dancing and
filming us in full fascination. Zoe in the middle in a black & white dress.

 
We finally have a photo together: With the cool officer Roberts whom I wrote
an Article about. Photo credit: Steve Engel
— August
Brethren United
“Dave, do I always look that crazy while drumming or is it the camera effect?
You look even crazier.”

Another super shot by David Healey 


The Children of Light keeping the fire on by celebrating existence one more time — September
Edahn (far left), Ronald (middle conga), Edward on his bass guitar in the middle,
Pino (sitting down in a hat and dark shirt), then Alex (far right in white pants)
More Colours 
With Jody Joy who’s a pro drummer and who came to visit us with her kool hubby
and son, also Oliver on the right with glasses
Brighten Up
Irradiate
Conjunto The beautiful and vibrant Susana from Chile

Illumination Happy Nation
Celebrating Existence once again and again. Today we had a special visit from an exotic
beauty from Sudan and her equally stunning friend. Zainab Kuwa, we
’re sure pleased
to meet you.

Your vibe attracts your tribe
Janise, Zeinab, and Zoe having a girlie moment at one of One Lucky Soul full moon events
Full Lunacy



Coalescence” is not from the VBDC but a natural repercussion of it. Solo jamming on the Mediterranean sea where I go visit my family and friends Northern Coast
of Egypt in August of 2015. Below is the video. 

  
video
Solo sunset drumming on the Northern Coast of Egypt where people were first shy
and confused before eventually joining me with their kids after a few sunsets



video
Inter-generational drumming on the Mediterranean — another flashback from August 2015





 
Back to Venice Beach... Every weekend at the Drum Circle, Steve Engel comes up to me
while I’m in deep drumming and says something so random and intellectual, that I must love
him for it. Today’s connection point was: It’s really nice to have someone who knows how to
spell correctly and familiar with all grammar structure and language rules around Facebook.
Yes, thank you Steve. I think with the rapid advent of modern technologies, language as we
know it, or communication in general, may one day Beegone
!@#$%^&*()
you, Purple Man.


video
And The Beat Goes On
— September

One of the many YouTube videos I came across — October

In-tune with the rhythm of Mother Nature — November 


  video
A glimpse of the sanctuary
Having a Hunch with the Funky Bunch... and the sun, which chose to wear a Mickey Mouse
ear hat for the sunset partey
— December
Suntimental
Let the children lead the way and they will do a better job than most of us. You can add
some of Monique
s entrancing nail polish if youre into a tad bit of more colours.
 Sometimes you can only wonder if you found The Others or did they find you, or perhaps it happened simultaneously. Whatever it is, I’m sure glad that it did so eclectically happen.
With Joe, Steve, and Pino. And again remember, age is simply a mere number; it’s all in the
heart and mind.
Groovy


With Ronald McKinley jamming on my drum on that Friday I mentioned
earlier in the snippet
— January 2017

 The Boys @ Play” with Dan (left), Paul (first one standing), Eddy with colourful conga,
Joseph in purple, Pino (on conga sitting down), Alex last on the right, and Steve simply
celebrating all that. 

 
As raw as it could get: Shooting the documentary with Alex Mannone and myself behind
the camera two days before I once again leave L.A for a visit to the Land of the Pharaohs
Also with sweet Andy who has been around Venice since 1965 and has lots of stories
to share


video
And... its a wrap


To many more years of drumming, dancing, and celebrating Life and Existence. I hope you enjoyed viewing this photo-video article as much as we enjoyed making it happen. Maybe someday youll join us. And the world will be as One.



ALSO VIEW:

A Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos & Videos 

Tripping Through Venice Beach Art 

How Drumming Changed The Way My Brain Processes Music

Some People I Shot

Photos I Shot That Brought Tears To My Eyes

Countering Gentrification — Eating Cheap and Healthy in Venice Beach [With a List of Places and Their Menus]



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