Perhaps my story will resonate most with the lives of many young women who have lived through a troubled childhood, a difficult adolescence, early marriage, motherhood, seeing personal dreams and goals scattered by circumstance and isolation, and the lack of consistent, positive mentorship.
My life as a drummer begins in Edmonton, Alberta. Music was always enjoyed in my home, where my brother and I lived with our mother. At age four I began to play piano, followed by voice lessons at a Provincial Conservatory. In Grade Six, when I participated in an audition to become the drummer in our school band, I discovered a sense of natural ability that was exhilarating. I knew just what to do and with each increasingly complicated rhythm my teacher challenged me with, my confidence and inner joy soared. Nobody was more astonished than me. I did not know what a "calling" was, at the time, but I knew that drumming made me feel happy, secure, and in control, with a sense of empowerment and belonging that I had never felt before. I was encouraged by my teachers to consider drumming as a serious career goal. However, conditions of my life were altered, and as I entered my teen years, I also began a long and empty departure from my new found gift.
I was to marry young, and soon thereafter, gave birth to my first daughter. This precious event coincided with a re-awakening of my sleeping creativity, and tentatively, I was drumming again, and enrolled in advanced college studies in music with jazz and percussion majors. My second daughter was born in special circumstances, and required my full attention. But again, I returned to my strength. Discovering hand drumming and the traditional rhythms and culture alive within that community, opened a new door for me and I began to study West African, Afro-Cuban, and Middle Eastern techniques. I was also becoming aware of research into the relationship between health and drumming, and took advanced courses in that field. The next step was to use all of my training to begin teaching and sharing my love for drumming with others. My third daughter was born in China, and I journeyed there to bring her home. This gave me an opportunity to drum for her on the Great Wall of China. All the while, my sense of personal direction was maturing with a great longing to create music.
My struggling marriage came to an end and a new phase of my life began. I worked very hard to come to terms with my drumming and the responsibility of my young family. I decided to create an Instructional Drumming CD that would express some of my associations of personal strength with drumming. But there was a desire to take my work to the next level, and record a performance CD of my own compositions. "Fearless & Feminine: A Voice of Intuitive Rhythms" is the result. Drumming, as featured instrumentation rather than accompaniment, is unusual, an oddity, and in that sense, female drummers share a common history, being considered a novelty rather than musicians.
In many ways, being a female percussionist defines me, a woman with an a-typical vocation, chosen in childhood to find balance, security, happiness and empowerment during difficult times. Years later, answering an inner voice, I made the same choice, for the same reasons. There is also a sense of satisfaction and challenge to excel in a field that is traditionally gender dominated by men. I would like to demonstrate to my daughters, how to see opportunity beyond the barriers of conventional thinking. My intention is to help expand the confidence of anyone and everyone who might dare to follow their own dreams, no matter how impossible, it all may seem.