The Winter Drummers Are Ready

Alex De’Athe, one of the Samhuinn 2015 Winter Drummers Group Organisers, talks about creating the group and preparing for explosions of rhythm…

After blowing the doors off the Open Meeting in August, sixty people put their names down to join us on this journey. Sixty. That is 300% oversubscribed.

Cue a series of open rehearsals that made all concepts of space, heat, standing in a circle, and earplug usage laughably redundant. Warm-up exercises and rhythmic clapping games of such scale that the floor shook without drums [STAMP-STAMP-knees-knees-body-body-click-click-CLAP-sliiiiide-click-CLAP]; basic patterns on bass drums that sounded like finished pieces just by means of sheer volume. This was a pretty clear indicator of the path ahead – if winter was on its way, it was going to bring a force like unleashed thunder.

Such enthusiasm for joining our ranks however did have its difficulties. Whilst we got to select from the absolute cream of the BFS drumming community, along with new faces showing such hunger and passion for what we were trying to achieve, it also meant a brutal and highly emotional choice at the end. We said during the selection process that we could easily draw names from a hat and end up with a crew to rival any we had played with before. We also acknowledged that we could form three groups from the pool we had available. We had to say no to a lot of strong contenders and good friends that night, but after an exhausting evening of phone calls, we had an undeniable dream team: a tight mix of solid drummers, inexperienced players with potential that shone through, and just good people with whom we wanted to share the experience.

We’ve gone dark since then, practicing hard in our underground winter cave; piecing together a setlist that will make cold stone crack, and sheets of fire rain down from on high. If you would like to see a preview of what is to come, we are playing at the Equinox Party at The Tank on Friday 25th September, around 11pm.

Bring earplugs if you value ever hearing again.

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