Everyone welcome to open Drum Circle

To promote Indigenous and Dakelh languages, knowledge, culture and history the Omineca Arts Centre hosts the Khast'an Dummers as they present an Open Drum Circle on most Sundays.

"We just like to get together and drum, learn the songs and learn the cultures and share among different cultures," Jennifer Pighin, local artist and Omineca Arts Centre organizer, said.

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"We've had people from different cultures here. They were from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and people from all over Canada, too. We even had one man from the Czech Republic. It's interesting to learn how the drum has roots in many different cultures."

The Open Drum Circle is a place where people join together to learn local and Canadian songs, Pighin added.

"We sing songs from across Canada that were gifted to us or shared with us that are open for people to drum and sing," she said.

Part of the circle is going over drum and song protocol. Pighin said organizers share a bit of information each time because it can be extensive.

"Some of the main points is to recognize the drum is alive and it needs to be treated like you treat yourself and when you're drumming you don't hit it any harder than you'd hit yourself because it's made with the skin of an animal," Pighin said. "We make the connection to the land through the frame that was built, the sound that reaches through all of us and vibrates to the energies of the Earth and to each of us. It's a very healing power."

For song protocol it's important to acknowledge the song's origin, meaning and which clan it belongs to and how to sing it.

Pighin was able to speak to Martina Pierre from the Lil' wat First Nations who has given to the people the Women Warrior Song or the Strong Woman Song.

"The song must be sung slowly and while you're singing you have to think about the female spirit that lives in every blade of grass, rock, plant, animal, human being and harness that for meditation so you can ground yourself in that so you are standing strong in the female spirit that is being connected through you and through the song to everywhere in the world," Pighin explained.

While some people would just enjoy the beat and hear the sounds this process involves a bit more.

"We try to make sure people know the meaning of the song and why we choose the songs that we sing," Pighin said.

The next Sunday Open Drum Circle is on Aug. 25. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Admission is by donation.

For more information about the Open Drum Circle visit Khast'an Drummers on Facebook and for a full schedule of events at Omineca Arts Centre or to host an event using the venue visit ominecaartscentre.com.

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