African Drumming and Dance classes come to Nambucca Heads

As the sun sets over a quiet Tuesday afternoon in Nambucca Heads, a new groove starts pulsating from the Community and Arts Centre.

An eclectic group of rhythm addicts has gathered for their weekly fix.

The popular West African drumming and dance workshop by Kaya Boom - which Bellingen locals have been taking advantage of for years - has made its way to Nambucca Heads.

Kaya (Kai Tipping) is no stranger to the Nambucca - he started drumming workshops in Bowraville a few years ago and has been involved in many local organisations and events from hip-hop production with the Youthie, to presenting at 2NVR, to the River Festival, where he organised the drummers, stilt-walkers and fire-twirlers in the twilight parade. He even received an Australia Day Award for services to the community.

But he's just settled in town and is keen to drum up the community around him.

The calling of the drums has a unique power to bring people together. They engage a primordial feeling inside us of wanting to be together, united.

Kaya Boom

"And drums are universal - they're accessible to people of all ages and all social backgrounds."

Students regularly get the chance to perform as part of a band at local community events and festivals.

Recently students from his classes performed at a fundraising event at Mylestom Hall to help a local refugee family.

Not only can drums build more cohesive social relationships, fitness and coordination, there's scientific proof they can also make you smarter.

Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm's Professor Frederic Ullen concluded there was a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving.

"The rhythmic accuracy in brain activity that is observed when a person maintains a steady beat is also important to the problem-solving capacities measured with the intelligence tests," he said.

But there's no need to be a rhythmic genius to have a go; with varying levels of experience in his current classes, he assures that newcomers will not feel out of place.

Instruments are provided so there's only a need to bring your enthusiasm.

Kaya himself brings a refreshing new energy to the Nambucca Valley, and hopes to help reinvigorate live entertainment here.

"I'd love to see the main street shut down for a big festival," he said.

"It's time to lift the game and keep things happening. Nambucca is ready for the next wave."

Events coming up

During the school holidays, Kaya is holding some free drumming workshops for kids through the Macksville and Nambucca Heads Library.

The Nambucca class is from 10-11am on September 30, while the Macksville class is at the same time on the following day.

Bookings are essential and can be made through 6568-1422.

There will also be a dance and drum extravaganza at the Federal Hotel over the old Bellingen Global Carnival weekend (October 4).

All current drumming students are invited to perform alongside his band Samba Soul, with Capoeira performers from Newcastle, and a troupe of belly dancers.

To find out more about any of these events or the drumming classes at Nambucca Heads, visit the vibelife.com.au website or call Kai on 0406 164-690.

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