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Women Not Allowed to Drum?

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Time Zone: EST (New York, Toronto)
Messenger: RastaGoddess Sent: 3/14/2016 7:32:54 PM

According to the Guidelines from the elders in Jamaica:

“Nyahbinghi Queen is not permitted to play the drums at an Issemble but is permitted to use the Shaka or Timbrel”

Did you know the first Nyabinghi drummers were women? Given that historical fact, InI sometimes wonder why RasTafari has elected to stay very patriarchal or male dominated on this subject.

The African warrior Queen Nyabinghi was believed to be the reincarnation of the Lioness Kemetic warrior goddess Sekhmet. Queen Nyabinghi was known for playing her powerful, mystical trance drum. Her Ugandan female followers, called bagiwas, were so fearsome in victory that the invading colonialists had them branded as witches performing rituals with the drum. The drum was eventually outlawed. The Nyabinghi rhythms of resistance have long played a major role in Rastafarian culture.

"… The drum is therefore a divine tool of the Supreme Being, a womb or beginning of created life."

The name Nyabinghi was a synonym for Sekhmet. Though the true details of her life has been subsumed in legends, Queen Nyabinghi was the archetypical Priestess-Queen of a province of Upper Kush (Ethiopia-Egypt), who rebelled against the oppressive life-denying evil regime which disrupted order and stability in the motherland through the instrumentality of foreign occupation, external manipulation and local collaboration.

How Prof-I brings nyabinghi to the 21st century

It’s been decades since we’ve heard a proper, authentic nyahbinghi album, with a delicate African touch on top of that. It’s also the first time female rasta drummers are represented, ‘Empresses’ as Prof-I prefers to call them, equal to man in every aspect of life. For these reasons and many more ‘Iyahbinghi Redemption’ truly is a unique album.

“In many cultures around the world, a drum represents the heartbeat of mother earth. It is the essence of the female and a way to connect with the divine mother in a rhythmic fashion. Drums are feminine, their beats replicating the inner rhythms of the earth and the cycles that change our seasons, our tides and our lives. Female drummers, whether they choose a djembe, a drum kit or a doumbek, are part of this connection.”

Messenger: JAH Child Sent: 3/15/2016 12:06:28 AM

Beautiful reasoning siStar
Give thankhs for Life.

I wonder the same thing Iself, why the Kings choose to limit females from playing harps in the Nyabinghi circle. The only reasonable answer I come up with is that this rule is connected to the idea of ritual separation, that Womban are separated from man for 3 out of the 4 Strongs (weeks) of her cycle, in order to respect and give observation to the energy, rest, and meditation that a womban needs during her cleansing and the recovery time. If the womban only join the group for chanting 1 Sabbath per month, then she is not realistically available to play harps, except maybe on the one Sabbath. But I imagine groups like to have a set of people who are always going to be available and ready to hold the ceremony, every Strong, lest the Sabbath go unobserved for lack of consistency.
If the womban not observing the separation (or only observing the separation for the one Moontime Strong, and not the full 3 Strongs), then I see more likelihood for womban to start to get involved in playing the harps.
Personally I would need a lot of practice on the drums before I am ready to lead the ceremony as part of the Hola Trinity of harps. Haha I need confidence not to mess up the beat.
The skins used on drums is another reasoning, but personally I would rather find an alternative to the animal skins also. I&I dont feel right about using the flesh products, even tho the harps are possibly the most uplifting and sacred thing that could be done with the flesh. When I go to assembly I realize they are using animal skins, and I&I not gonna argue with that, but if I have a drum of my own, I will try to find one with a plant fiber drumhead.
Iytal Womban... Give thankhs
Empress Menen I love and RASpect everytime

Messenger: Evison Matafale Skræling Sent: 3/15/2016 8:57:21 AM

Very much enjoyed this reasoning as it sparked one between I & I queen womban first night. I do not agree personally in I own humble little feelin about keeping anyone from d drum who wants.
Would them say no to Neferneferuaten Nefertiti or Hatshepsut from d harp?

I would be blessed to Binghi w any d queens dem who want in this time.
Confusion remains from the intentional removal & downpression of the Female half of life by many evil ones over ourstory.
OVERS the same rights and justice for all regardless.

Great vid & pics I had not heard THANKH D I RastaGoddess.

Messenger: RastaGoddess Sent: 3/15/2016 10:48:39 AM

Give thankhs unto di I's! Good reasonings!

Sistren, I'm glad you brought up the issue of a woman’s moontime in relation to drumming, as that seems to be one of the main reasons why women have been forbidden to play. I personally am not a drummer, by choice, not by "law". I am a dancer by nature, therefore I respond to it rather then play it. That being said, I have often thought to myself "if wombman can hold life between her legs for 9 months, why not a drum? If the first heartbeat Rhythm is first played in our wombs, then surely it can be played with our hands.

The heartbeat of the drum is also the heartbeat of the great mother

In menstruation and birthing rites, certain drum rhythms caused the womb to contract, aiding the flow of menstrual blood ...

"Menstrual blood was believed to contain the essential energies of the feminine and creative energies" - Redmond, L. When the Drummers Were Women: A Spiritual History of Rhythm.

"In every ancient Mediterranean civilization I studied, it was a goddess who transmitted to humans the gift of making music. In Sumer and Mesopotamia it was Inanna and Ishtar; in Egypt it was Hathor; in Greece, the nine-fold goddess called the Muse. Musical, artistic and poetic inspiration was always thought to spring from the Divine Feminine. One of the main techniques for connecting to this power of inspiration was drumming."

The Biblical lands have also yielded numerous images of women playing the frame drum. Old Testament texts refer to the tambourine as the toph, which as been translated as the timbrel and the tabret. Exodus 15:20, “And Miriam, the prophetess, sister of Aaron and Moses, took a timbrel in her hand, then the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.” In some legends it is said that Miriam parted the Red Sea with the shamanistic power of her drumming.

For 3,000 years women had been the primary percussionists in the ancient world. As Europe pursued this policy of disallowing women to learn music, they effectively barred them from the professions of composing, teaching or performing.


I found di I's reasoning on not using animal skin quite interesting. I wonder if the sound and vibration would be the same as using synthetic skin? I did see that they make "vegan dums" though.

RHD Eco-Friendly Vegan Djembe

Messenger: Voodooruuts Sent: 3/15/2016 1:08:35 PM

In Igbo culture Wombman were the traditional players of their "Udu drum", a clay pottery drum.

It may stem from biblical patriarchy or other African cultures (where men were traditional drummers) that were carried over from Africa.

In certain traditioal African cultres maybe most, a sacrificed animal is not seen as being killed because life cant die but the energy is transferred. So when an animal's skin was place on a hollowed log that animal's energy/life is said to be contained within the drum.
All is All.

Messenger: RastaGoddess Sent: 3/15/2016 4:18:33 PM

Yes I VoodooRuutz! Interesting @ clay drums.

And di I make a good point regarding the energy/spirit of the animal/skin.

InI prefer not consuming them, but I personally do not have a problem with the uses of animals, such as drum skin, or leather, etc.

I done seen nuff things, sacrifice of goat, be sensitive about it, but respect those who are still.

Messenger: Evison Matafale Skræling Sent: 3/19/2016 8:10:12 PM

Prof I Reason on Empress Warrior Queen Nyabinghi Drumming

6:15 When this topic comes up
Give Love

Messenger: RastaGoddess Sent: 3/20/2016 7:40:19 AM

Nice!!!! Give thankhs Evison!

Messenger: jah b Sent: 3/24/2016 11:54:03 PM

Eye have a djembe eye feel dat if da animal died of natural causes eye would use da animal as a give from god.

Eye might trade it in for a vegan drum tho, dats nice to know about da vegan drum!!

Peace and blessings

Messenger: zion mountain Sent: 3/28/2016 4:26:15 PM

Greetings Fari

I man once brought dat reasoning amongst I Idrens n sistrens and I was called not know why women are not allowed to play drums.

Also here we strictly dont use any animal product so drums are made of carnivas though in cultural n traditional ceremonies,drums made of animal skins are common

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Haile Selassie I