I first came across Rob and his HeartBeat Community drum circle at the Liverpool Fire Arts Festival in May. The day was just getting into the swing of things and he was rallying people over for a final jam as his afternoon slot came to an end. I was waiting for my date to show up (oh God please show up) and wanted to look like a fun outgoing spirit/like I had friends, so joined in. There was only a small handful of us as most people had been distracted by the taster trapeze sessions. I felt shy, and the acoustics inside WARP – a huge industrial space now exploited by the arts – echoed my crap drumming (you would never think I’d taken lessons, or actually owned a kit). But I liked Rob and took his card.
I went along to sessions in Constellations and the Bombed Out Church over the summer months, but my favorite was next to Sefton Park lake, where we ate strawberries and cake from the Moon & Pea and strawberries and had a fire-spinning-jam-come-drum-circle for Petra’s birthday.
People of all ages attend Rob’s sessions, including miniature earthlings who just sit in the circle looking cute/make a racket next to their patient Dad’s ear over and over and over (come along and bang a drum in my ear over and over and over I will not be patient and will thump you – YOU, not the kids).
Most people have no idea what they’re doing, whilst others take along their own individual drum just to make the rest of us feel bad for buying a fridge magnet in Morocco instead.
Rob tends to start with a simple beat and encourage you to follow along, or just show off with complicated fillers as you please. At one point he might tip his box of maracas and bells and stuff in the middle (percussions, apparently) and in turn we’ll each choose a new toy, or just a bigger drum.
What I like about these classes is the emphasis on just having fun/really feeling the vibrationz maan, rather than technical precision. I went along to a different drum circle in the city but couldn’t keep up and felt like a twat being singled out to demonstrate what I hadn’t picked up as well as most people (everybody). The HeartBeat circles are laid-back; if you’d rather just chill and take the sounds in, that’s fine, and if you want to make lots of noise and show off how good/bad you are at keeping a beat, that’s fine too!
The HeartBeat Community has found a new home at Brink Liverpool, in the form of monthly circles. One of the city’s funkiest venues that made its name as Liverpool’s only dry bar, it caters to everybody from vegans to those who like (to eat) animals more than people.
Monthly sessions cost £5 and start from Saturday October 17th. See you there for a BANGING time! (Sorry).