New Brazilian drumming org starting spring semester

A new Brazilian drumming organization, Zabumba, will begin at the start of spring semester.

Founded by Egzon Sadiku ’16 and Jonah Lazarus ’17, Zabumba will offer students the opportunity to learn how to play an assortment of Brazilian percussion instruments. These will include surdo, a large bass drum; repinique, a two-headed drum; caixa, a snare drum; agogo, an instrument similar to bells; tamborim, a small, round drum played with wooden drumsticks; timbau, a large conical drum; and ganza, a shaker similar to maracas.

Students will also learn samba, a musical genre developed in Bahia, Brazil with diverse roots tracing to Rio de
Janeiro and Africa. It has historic and cultural ties to the West African slave trade and African religious traditions and is now a widely recognized symbol of Brazil and the annual Brazilian Carnival festival.
Sadiku, originally from Kosovo, developed his passion for Brazilian drumming while studying abroad in Italy for two years in high school. By the time he left, Sadiku was leading the drumming ensemble along with his teacher.

Ironically, the new ensemble will not include the zabumba, a bass drum also used in Brazilian music. Sadiku says he named the org Zabumba because the word carries energy, which will hopefully draw more students in addition to the 30 who are already signed up.

“I’m joining Zabumba because I love music,” Hannah Bonestroo ’17 said, “and this is a perfect opportunity to learn a new instrument.”

Sadiku says the ensemble will eventually play in concerts and street performances, throw Zabumba Kagins to connect with the Macalester community, and volunteer at events like marathons to connect participants to the Twin Cities.

It will be important for Zabumba participants to practice regularly. In Italy, Sadiku sometimes played for six hours at a time.

“With practice comes speed, and there will be times when you need to play fast,” he said. “If you don’t know how to play correctly, your shoulders and hands will tire quickly. I’m hoping that students will be able to play consistently for at least two hours.”

While Zabumba became an official org this fall, its “new org” status meant that it couldn’t get chartered for funds until the spring. Because the initial $200 given to new orgs is not enough for the instruments, Zabumba will need additional money to be approved by MCSG.

Even if the instruments do not arrive in the first week of spring semester, Sadiku plans to begin rehearsals right away, where students will become familiar with basic rhythm patterns through clapping.

Then, once the instruments arrive, Sadiku says participants “will jump right in.”

Additional issues include finding storage facilities and a rehearsal room. A tentative idea is to store the instruments in Dupre and practice in Kagin.

During the warmer months, Sadiku hopes to practice outside, where the group can expose the rest of campus to samba and maybe draw new members.

“The band is free,” Sadiku said. “We welcome everyone, no experience necessary. Zabumba is all about learning a new culture, hanging out with new people, and hopefully finding a new passion.”

Interested students should email Sadiku ([email protected]) to be placed on Zabumba’s mailing list.