It started as another way for her students to connect to music and wasn't meant to become anything more.
But the group of students to whom Liz Broscoe taught West African drumming was just too good not to share.
"I didn't mean it as a performing group. We wanted to do it to practice and maybe do it for worthwhile community causes in South Lake Tahoe," Broscoe said. "But we started to sound really good and it turned into more of a performance group."
Then five years ago, Java Djembe was born.
"Nobody but me in the group makes their living entirely through music. They are all school teachers or therapists or a professional of some kind," Broscoe said.
Saturday, the 16-piece drum and dance troop based in South Lake Tahoe, will bring West African rhythms to the Brewery Arts Center. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Performance Hall.
"A performance by Java Djembe is a true delight," said John Procaccini, BAC executive director. "Their energy is infectious and exhilarating, and we're thrilled to welcome them as a highlight in our fall concert series."
The concert is seen as a culmination of the assemblies the group has been doing at local schools over the past month, sharing the drums and culture with more than 2,500 students.
"We teach them about Africa and the drums. We talk about how the drum has no boundaries with gender or race. We let them come up and play and dance with us, so they get a little bit of everything," Broscoe said.
Broscoe's fascination with the hand drums came many years into her career as a professional drummer and started on a chance encounter.
"I've been a drum-set drummer since I was 18 and sat at many venues and on many stages," Broscoe said. "I went to this dance class and they had the drums. There was this connection that I had never felt being a stick drummer. It was more connected, deeper and more spiritual."
"It made me much more aware of being a drummer," he said.
In addition to the performances, Broscoe is also producing a show entitled "Durga, Goddess of the Drum" in conjunction with the Brewery Arts Center. It is a show about the journey of the drum from ancient times up through modern day, which will open in March.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
If you go
What: Performance by Java Djembe West African Drum and Dance Troop
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall, 511 W. King St.
Cost: $10 for all seats, $3 discount for BAC members, seniors and students.
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