At its simplest it's a fun ice breaker. At its best it's an energizing, therapeutic, motivating team-building event that could increase a company's productivity.
Drum Cafe is an idea that's part performance, part interactive experience and brings African drumming to corporate events. On May 3, Jay Stollar and his team gave djembe drums to 315 delegates at the Registered Psychiatric Nurses World Congress.
The five-member percussion team begins by demonstrating African drumming and within minutes the entire room was smiling and playing to a common beat.
"It works because of the drums," said Stollar. "The drums have that sense of rhythm that everyone has in them. They can connect to it and relate to the rhythms of the drum."
Drum Cafe Winnipeg is part of a larger organization operating worldwide. Stollar says it originated in Johannesburg, South Africa, after apartheid, as a way to unite diverse people.
More than 300 participants quickly learn to play the drum (Andrea Ratuski/CBC)
At the Registered Psychiatric Nurses World Congress, participants came from all over the world. Isabelle Jarrin is the chair of the organizing committee, she said the experience was perfect for the conference's theme of diversity. "We're hoping it will energize the room. It's also a diversional activity and a fun activity and it just goes to that idea of diversity."
Givane Vargas is attending the conference from Brazil. "It's amazing," he said, drum in hand, "because it makes you feel like everyone's here for one purpose."
"The energy just goes from low to high over the course of the show and by the end of the hour we have the group pumped up, smiling from ear to ear and we will have them dancing," Stollar said.
"We get a real sense of satisfaction in seeing all these people who are not realizing they're going to be making music. We see them build in excitement, having a great time playing an instrument that we all love to play ourselves."