Region/Concept: The Caribbean, Movement (Drumming)
Sub-Concepts: Reverberating, Outpouring
Description: In the Dominican Republic palo drums connect the human body to cosmic rhythmicity through repetition of basic sounds, fusing the sacred with the profane.
The drums have an irrefutable connection to thunder. They both reverberate, or relentlessly vibrate, and in this way extend into space, folding it into its sound. The incessant reverberation is their presence through which they conquer space. One could say that palo drums are tamed thunders, which is the only way that the human body can take them in without exploding. Even with these subdued thunders, the body is already taken to its limits. For it is hard not to move accordingly in the presence of the roaring drums. They are capturing chosen degrees of thundering so as to make them closer to the human heartbeat. The result is the production of the cardiac beat. Repetition turns it into an ecstatic body, transformative for the sole reason that it necessitates stepping outside of oneself. A rare demand in today’s world. A primordial demand since the world started by stepping outside of itself: a thunder and a lightning that opened up the infinite unfolding of the galaxies. Thunders we hear during storms are good reminders of that initial crack through which the flow of life ensued. Most creatures still cower when they hear it, unaware why, unaware of their own sensibility to the cosmic vibration. But it would be wrong to think of palo drums as merely a domesticated force of nature, thunder pacified. Rather, it is a force of nature molecularized into controlled tonality that then permeates the listeners and turns them into dancers (a higher form of listeners). Let us not think of this drumming as an obscure practice. There is a geo-affective thread that connects drums to thunders, all the way to that initial rupture, the coruscating sound of cosmic outpouring. In the beginning there was not light; there was a clang.