From the drum: joy and healing

  • In time: Kathryn Maroun, back row, and the Bermudaful DrumHers will lead the pack at this year’s The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge tomorrow and Sunday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    In time: Kathryn Maroun, back row, and the Bermudaful DrumHers will lead the pack at this year’s The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge tomorrow and Sunday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Ten benefits of drum therapy

According to the experts there’s a lot of good that comes out of drumming.

Below are ten benefits according to Christiane Northrup, a women’s health expert and bestselling New York Times author:

• It makes you happy

• It induces deep relaxation through a reversal in stress hormones

• It boosts your immune system

• It helps control chronic pain as it serves as a distraction from pain and helps produce endorphins that act as painkillers

• Drumming circles create a sense of connectedness

• Simply feeling the beat aligns your body and mind with the natural world

• It provides a way to access a higher power

• The act of drumming helps people to release negative feelings

• It puts you in the present moment

•It allows for personal transformation through self-expression and feedback from other drummers

Of one thing Kathryn Maroun is certain: sometimes you just need to bang on a drum.

She started taking lessons last year after a traumatic period. Lyme disease halted her career as a professional fly fisherman and producer of What A Catch, an award-winning Canadian fishing show.

In Bermuda, her house blew up — with her and her husband Louis in it.

Always “a cup half-full kind of person”, she managed. And then she lost her father, Donald Munroe, last May.

The “accomplished musician” played the saxophone and the banjo and was the lead singer in a Canadian band, The Second Profession. “I couldn’t imagine life without him and I thought his death was the most major thing that ever happened in my life — more major than getting blown up,” Mrs Maroun said. “But I also thought how this could define me; that how I deal with this terrible loss and shock would set the tone for how I go forward.”

It was around that time that she noticed a cardinal was following her around “singing the same song day after day”.

Mrs Maroun became convinced that “the father bird” was trying to tell her something and eventually worked out what it was.

At 51, with limited musical ability, she began lessons with Nick Wadson of Bermuda Drum Institute.

“I think [the red bird] was trying to tell me to find joy and healing in music because my dad was very musical,” she said. “I’d failed miserably at guitar, the recorder, the ukulele and thought the easiest would be drums. Music was good at keeping me in the moment. I found it’s very primal and very healing.”

Mrs Maroun added: “I experienced all of its health benefits. It’s been phenomenal. I feel a closeness with my dad every time I play.”

She began bringing people together to make music in honour of her father’s memory.

It led to the creation of Bermudaful DrumHers and Bermudaful Drummers.

Members will perform with three professional djembe drummers from New York as part of The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge tomorrow and Sunday, travelling the circuit on a flatbed truck to announce the runners.

There will also be drums at the finish line so people can try their skills and learn more about drumming.

It’s one of many musical events that Mrs Maroun has orchestrated.

Members of Bermudaful DrumHers and Bermudaful Drummers are invited to her full moon parties where they benefit from the expertise of professional musicians; the Marouns also sponsor the cost of instruments and trips to drum camps and events overseas.

Most remarkable she believes, is that it’s something she never considered before last year.

“It wasn’t in my wheelhouse,” Mrs Maroun said. “[At the full moon parties] we learn and drum and eat good food on the ocean and have a fire and it’s just beautiful.”

The couple moved here from Canada 13 years ago. In 2013, a gas explosion blew up their Ariel Sands villa and parts of the surrounding neighbourhood.

Mrs Maroun suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident, which experts say was caused by an oversight in the building code.

“This oversight allows for different metals to be used when connecting gas lines,” she said. “The metals cause corrosion and allow for tiny holes in the line to let gas escape.

“I was making home-made baked beans and said, ‘Honey, dinner’s ready!’ ... and the whole house blew up. I went to leave and the doorknob was gone.

“I didn’t realise all the wall was gone as well and that we could have just walked out to the lawn. I was in shock. It caused a traumatic brain injury and blew out the bones in my ears.

“The blast expert said that with that level of blast, we should have not survived.

“Cars down the road were lifted up, doors and windows of our neighbours’ homes blew out, I was blown out of the kitchen.

“Years later, I still see the aftereffects; I have a lot of health issues. But drumming, music, rewires your brain. It brings me so much joy and keeps me in the moment.”

Her hope is to become one of Bermuda’s unofficial ambassadors as she travels the world with music this year.

Plans are already in the works for a festival in June that will feature on Drum Talk TV, a show with a Facebook reach of 20 million people per month, and will include the stars of a documentary about female drummers, Beat Keepers: Women with Rhythm.

Mrs Maroun is thrilled to be able to give back to her adopted home.

“Canadians don’t have a Hawaii or a Florida and this is a two-hour connection to any major city centre,” she said. “The houses are cheerful, the people are wonderful, warm and welcoming.

“I want to go out into the world and bring [the people I meet] back — all the people who are coming in June, the documentary people, the Drum TV people.

“My Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts are all promoting Bermuda and inviting people to come here.

“I do it because we’re marooned on an island and that’s OK,” Mrs Maroun added. “It’s a beautiful place. Where better to come and drum by the fire on the beach? And they’re coming in numbers.”

To learn more about Bermudaful DrumHers and Bermudaful Drummers look for Bermudaful DrumHers on Facebook, on Twitter and #mydrummylife on Instagram

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Published Jan 17, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 16, 2020 at 10:36 pm)

From the drum: joy and healing

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