Little Drummer Girl
Yesterday, while lounging at Bora Bora Beach Club, I heard the Burundian drums in the distance. Burundi is known for its drummers; with tall, waist-high drums and large stick mallets, they create driving rhythms to which they perform a warrior dance (very similar to Intore dances in Rwanda). I have heard that there are even bands of drummers and dancers that travel to other countries to perform.
I hadn’t seen the drummers yet, so an acquaintance convinced me to go check it out. We left Bora Bora and walked down the shore to the public beach, where they perform every Sunday. The audience was mostly Burundian. The drummers were dressed as warriors, in the Burundian colors of red, white and green. One drummer would dance at a time, and a young boy came out and danced, too (which was very cute, because he was trying to act like a tough warrior). The dancers jumped high off the ground, often landing in a lunge, arms outstretched, and rolled their heads.
While I was taking pictures, one of the drummers handed me two large mallets and invited me up to try the drums. So up I went, banging on that drum as hard as I could and trying to keep up with the professionals. (I gave myself a nasty blister in the process.)
After playing for a while, my arms were killing me, and I passed the mallets back to the drummer. We gave them a round of applause and some francs, and headed back to Bora Bora for a Primus beer and a bandage for my hand. It was quite an arm workout!