Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion) took place with the usual boom this year. In the last few years I make it a point to go to the closest street to watch the procession. I am not a religious person but one of the reasons I go to see the procession is to see the ‘Dhol tasha pathaka’ (Drums parade). The adrenaline rush I get when I hear the drums roaring on the streets is unparallel to any other event I witness in such close quarters.
This year when I was watching the procession I noticed one change in the dhol pathaka. There was a girl member in our colony dhol (Drums) band. When I pointed that to my friend she showed me one more girl in the band and we counted, in that 15 member dhol pathak there were 8 girls!!! I felt proud and the rush was doubled to see these girls play the dhol.
I grew up thinking that even in playing music there is already a division made, such as girls get all light musical instruments like a flute or a triangle or a violin (by the way, I can play a flute) and boys can play drums or trumpets or any other musical instruments they fancy.
So the first time when I saw a video from the 1970’s of Karen Carpenter playing drums it was ‘the moment’ for me. The moment which broke the stereotypes for me about choosing a musical instrument based on your gender. Karen Carpenter was the lead vocalist and drummer for the band ‘The Carpenters’. And I wouldn’t mention her just because she was a female drummer but because the ease with which she played the drums made me realize that playing drums was a passion for her. Carpenter always considered herself “a drummer who sang.”
And then I saw Sandy West from the band ‘The Runaway’s’ performing live on drums for the song “Wild Things”. Once again, the intensity and the fire I saw in her performance made me realize that we have been conditioned into thinking what we can and cannot do. It was my weekly off so I decided to explore some world famous drummers and by then I wasn’t surprised to see a big list of female drummers who are not popular because they are female drummers but because they are one of the best drummers.
These women didn’t understand boundaries; neither did they hear any reasoning about how they can’t play drums. They just did.
This blog is not just dedicated to women who missed the opportunity but every individual who couldn’t play their favorite musical instrument due to those thousands of stereotypes they were bound by.
But it’s never too late. Pick up those sticks and start drumming, we will get there.
For our music enthusiasts, I am giving below a link of a video of Sheila E., another famous drummer commonly referred to as The Queen of Percussion. Watch her set the stage on fire with her mind-blowing drums performance.