A CHANCE meeting 12 years ago, when he was selling furniture at a stall at Durban’s Stables Market, in Jaco Jackson Drive, has led to a new entertainment concept that will be officially launched at the fleamarket on Friday evening.
It is an interactive drumming initiative which, hitherto only casually presented at the fleamarket after hours, when drumming fans would gather for informal jam sessions, is now to become a regular feature at the venue every Wednesday and Friday evening, when the market runs from 7pm to 9pm.
The African Drum Shack, as it is known, is the idea of Kloof resident Jonathan Pimenta, owner of a stall of the same name at Stables Market, specialising in various percussion instruments from all over the world.
He first became interested in African drums in 2000, when he borrowed, then bought and sold, drums from a West African man who sold them at a Stables Market stall alongside a furniture stall Pimenta operated then.
Pimenta became so passionate about djembe drumming that he decided to ditch the furniture, sell drums and become a member of a popular six-member Durban band, Maisha, which performs African and world music at a number of festivals and at local Afro-jazz events.
Pimenta’s interest also extended to teaching percussion and rhythm on an ad hoc basis to school pupils in Durban and surrounding areas – something he continues to do and love.
His idea for The African Drum Shack drumming initiative at Stables Market started to grow soon after he opened his stall there, and people who bought drums from him would meet on Sundays, after the market closed, for drumming lessons and to jam in the walkways between stalls.
Having proved a bit of a crowd-puller since, the number of jamming drummers having grown from a half dozen to as many as 80, Pimenta got the market’s management keen on the idea of having the drumming initiative operate during market hours – and the result was not only a nod of approval, but also a newly erected shelter, where up to 30 drummers can be accommodated on special seating in a space 9m long and 6m wide.
It is to be found alongside Pimenta’s newly relocated African Drum Shack stall at the end of the third walkway from the entrance.
The idea is for visitors to the market to try their hand at a percussion instrument, under Pimenta’s instruction, and for the shack to also provide regular entertainment from Pimenta’s team of regular performers, six of whom will be showcased at Friday’s launch.
“We are hoping to encourage an informal family vibe here – inviting everyone from moms and dads and kids, to grannies and grandpas to come along and try their hand at drumming,” says Pimenta.
Friday’s launch programme will feature performers on Zulu bass drums, African djembe, djun-djun drums and various percussion instruments, “including bells and whistles”.
In addition, fire jugglers and dancers will be on the programme, along with a special performance by bassist Nathan Isaacs and singer-guitarist Leigh Hondy.