Published in Macalester Today
SHOULD YOU VISIT CAMPUS on a Sunday evening and hear music that is definitely not the skirl of bagpipes, it might be Zabumba, a new Brazilian drumming group. Directed by cofounder Egzon Sadiku ’16, Zabumba—named for a bass drum used in Brazilian music—began rehearsals in February.
“Although Brazilians adopted the zabumba as their own drum, it’s very similar to the davul from Southeast Europe,” says Sadiku, who grew up in Kosovo. “I learned to play the instruments in a band called Banda Berimbau while attending the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy.”
Sadiku, a resident assistant this year, discovered that some of his hall residents were percussionists intrigued by this new form of drumming. One of them, Jonah Lazarus ’17 (Oak Park, Ill.), was particularly interested and brought with him a more formal music background.
After being chartered by the student government the group received funding to buy instruments such as the surdo (round bass drum), timbau (tall three-toned drum), the high-pitched tamborim and repinique, caixa (snare drum), agogo (cowbell), and triangle. The drums are played with sticks, hands, and mallets. Sadiku teaches his fellow band members all the instruments during two-hour Sunday rehearsals, where attendance has been as high as 25.
“At Zabumba we try to provide a safe, comfortable space where everyone can hang out, freely express themselves, and learn about a new culture through music,” says Sadiku. Among the group’s members are a native Brazilian and several students who have lived in Brazil; they share their knowledge of the country and its regions’ various rhythms.
Students are welcomed to join the band regardless of musical expertise. Sadiku hopes that Zabumba will eventually present its own concerts, including singing and movement. “It’s fun to play—I like to make people dance and smile,” he says.