Random DCenes: Just Beat It

You won’t find Malcolm X Park on any map of DC. Only long time locals call Meridian Hill Park that. And it’s on Sundays where you’ll find the legendary drum circle.

On really nice days in the summer, you’ll find dozens of drummers playing to hundreds of onlookers including a number of dedicated African dancers.

On a chillier late winter day like last Sunday, only the die hards are out. You can count them all on your two gloved hands.

It’s easy to get caught up in the thunder of up to 50 drummers playing at a time, but with more intimate numbers, you can enjoy the interplay between the musicians. What they lack in people they make up in enthusiasm.

On this particular day I catch the leader of the group in an especially whimsical mood, yelling and jawing over the din of the rhythmic rumble. He playfully riffs on familiar songs despite or maybe because he doesn’t quite know all the words to them.

This song starts off with some James Brown. Then into Stevie Wonder. We hear the end of “Do I Do” right before he launches into a mini-Michael Jackson medley.

Unfortunately, my camera battery dies before his Sesame Street tribute.

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2 Comments

  1. March 4, 2011 at 12:15 am

    […] I don’t want to neglect the blog so I thought I’d keep with the drumming theme from last week and spotlight my favorite swing drummers of today. I’ve been telling myself that this would […]

  2. October 18, 2011 at 1:33 am

    […] nights, The Jam Cellar in the Josephine Butler Parks Center. Late Sunday afternoons it is home to DC’s legendary drum circle. Even without the people or the music, you can see one of the city’s most dramatic fountains. […]


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