Halibana a celebration of drumming
By Angelica Ingram
Aug. 30, 2016
You don’t have to be an experienced drummer to participate in the inaugural Halibana drumfest procession and community drum circle taking place this weekend.
That is the message organizers are hoping to promote, as the drum festival gets ready for its final and biggest event.
Halibana, which started at the beginning of August, has included weekly drum circles at Rails End Gallery, an exhibition of drums from the Kabwata Cultural Centre in Zambia, costume making workshops and more.
An initiative of the Abbey North Drummers, Halibana is a celebration of drums and the power of drumming, said Joe Truss and Chris Cullen, two of the organizers.
“Haliburton has a kind of drum culture, it’s unique in that way,” said Truss.
The organizers point to medical research that shows the health benefits of drumming, which can help those recovering from strokes and sufferers of chronic pain, among other things.
Involved with Abbey North Drummers since its inception in 2006, Truss and Cullen said the opportunity for a festival presented itself.
“It was our idea together with Laurie Jones and Roger Gibbs,” said Truss.
Gibbs has involvement with Toronto’s Caribbean Festival, which was formerly known as Caribana.
The final event for the month-long festival will be a participatory procession through Head Lake Park, which anyone can join.
“We have a drum cart that’s under construction,” said Truss. “That drum cart will have drums and drummers on it and it will lead the procession.”
The procession will also have people in costume as well as other percussion instruments. The parade will end at the Head Lake Park bandshell, where a drum circle will form.
“One of the key aspects of the project is it’s about community engagement,” said Truss. “This is about having the community participate ... the objective is to get different parts of Haliburton society together.”
The event is open to all levels of drumming, even those who have never picked up a drum before.
And you don’t have to have your own drum to participate, although personal instruments are always welcome.
“Instruments are available,” said Truss.
The drumfest procession begins at 2 p.m., with participants asked to meet at Rails End Gallery at 1 p.m.
“As far as we know there’s no other drum procession carnival like this,” said Truss.
From Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 there will be costume making, drum decorating and processional drum rhythms taking place under the Rails End tent from 12 to 4 p.m.
On Friday, Sept. 2 from 7 to 9 p.m. a Halibana concert featuring calypso music will take place at the Head Lake Park Rotary bandshell.
The drum circles have been well attended all month, drawing between 20 to 30 participants, said Truss.
“The weekly drum circles build the audience, builds the participation,” he said. “The drum circles really are a central part of the whole thing.”
The gallery was chosen as a central location for the festival to use drums as a bridge between art and culture.
Halibana has been co-ordinated through volunteer efforts and with a minimal budget.
The couple hope to grow the festival through grants and funding opportunities and make it an annual event.
“We want to build a program,” said Truss. “Next year it will be a lot bigger.”
For a full list of events and more information visit www.facebook.com/HalibanaDrumFest or www.railsendgallery.com.