Tips, Tricks and Road Stories


Djembe Drums Make Great Music

June 8, 2012; KSue Lovastay Drumastay

I have been playing Djembe drums for about nine years now. Several years ago, after starting out playing in drum circles, I had an opportunity to join an open music jam and play along with other musicians. I got hooked instantly on playing with bands and at jams of all kinds, and making music with my Djembe.

I just replaced my favorite drum at my local Sam Ash Music Store in Clearwater, Florida and picked out the same exact Toca Synergy Free Style Djembe drum I have been playing for about six years, as the skin finally started to get little cracks on the rim edge. I wanted the same drum because I love its tone and how well it complements the rhythms of blues, rock, reggae, world, alternative, fusion and so many other styles of music that I play.

The weight of this 12-inch PVC drum, which I strap on to play while standing, is perfect for me and gives me the freedom to move with the rhythm as I play. This Djembe is a rope-tuned drum, but I have only had to re-tune it about twice a year at the most, which is pretty amazing considering how much I play it. I play it out at events at least three to four times a week, both indoors and out, in addition to playing at home.

The Sam Ash Music Store in Clearwater, Florida is great. I had a minor issue with my new drum, based on my personal preferences, and they did everything to help me, including giving me a follow-up phone call.
My learning technique—after learning the basic bass, tone, slap techniques—has been to listen to music CDs or watch various styles of bands on YouTube and play along, using a simple listen/feel/play approach, and just getting out there and playing.

After going out and sitting in at various blues jams, open mic nights and meeting and playing with many wonderful musicians, so many awesome opportunities have opened up for me. I have played with some well-known musicians in my area, and sat in at their gigs and jams.  I was recently invited to play some songs on stage with a well-known band at a Biker Fest, and I have played at four fundraisers with Ladies Sing the Blues, an organization that puts on benefit shows for different causes, where I accompanied the band playing for 18 women blues singers who sang several songs each. We recently raised around $5,000 for the neonatal intensive care unit of a Sarasota, Florida Hospital. As a result of my djembe playing, I have been invited to perform at many fun gigs with bands playing everything from blues, to reggae and rock.

My love for playing the Djembe has brought so much joy and many great new friends into my life. When I’m playing, I am totally in the moment and enjoying every minute. I love the versatility and creativity it gives me. I was recently paid a high complement when a very fine musician I have played with posted on my FaceBook page that I was a credible musician! My circle of friends and musicians know me as KSue Lovastay Drumastay, a name I coined which means, “the love of the drum in me, salutes the love of the drum in you.”

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KSue Lovastay Drumastay rocks the djembe
KSue Lovastay Drumastay rocks the djembe