In his portfolio from a 2003-2004 Fellowship, Nicholas Kotei Djanie–a drummer, dancer, teacher, and performer–provides an interesting reflection on how drumming can be a tool for reconciliation. Djanie describes how we are connected through music–that when you drum with someone your breath begins to match theirs. He also discusses how drumming is inclusive, and breaks down barriers. Everyone’s part, everyone’s voice, is important. Drumming, he claims ” reaches deeply into the person, broadly throughout a community or organization. It links to spiritual powers in the mysterious realms of life. It offers an embodied experience of the interconnectedness of all people. It is a powerful resource for reconciliation” (Drumming and Reconciliation, 2). I think that Djanie has beautifully expressed the power of making music as a tool for reconciliation. It is a power that has been acknowledged throughout time by various artists and activists, but one that we still don’t quite embrace. Music connects us, and it is through this connection that we can find the common ground that allows us to work for reconciliation.
(The above video is an example of a traditional dance/drum piece performed in Ghana.)