Monday, July 19, 2010

Flash Drum Jam

Ever since viewing the youtube Brussels Train Station dance event, I have been thinking about how that would be applied to a drum circle.  Finally, I have an idea that I want to share with you guys.  It's called the Flash Drum Jam!  Here's the gist of it:

The Flash Drum Jam is an exciting and inclusive means to draw attention to any business and/or cause.  Drumming is infectious.  The beat draws people to its source.  If you watch the crowd gather, soon you will see people swaying to the beat here and there dancing will break out.  Everyone loves rhythm.  But, it is much more than that.

Although it is certainly drumming and rhythm, The Drum Jam creates a community of people.  It does this through the inclusive nature of the event.  Each Drum Jam has a professional facilitator who engages the audience and cajoles many of them into joining in the actual drumming.  Rhythm is part of all of us and even the meanest of the tone deaf can be easily taught to be a productive member of a Drum Jam.  This engagement quickly changes an inquisitive crowd into a participative audience that is rapidly creating its own entertainment.

The event breaks down socio economic and cultural barriers, even language barriers.  It links all present into a community.  They participate in a shared a transformative experience and that creates a MARKET!

It's a "flash" event because it just springs into existance in the middle of any place you can imagine.  A shopping center, a mall, anyplace people gather.  I'm going to try one here in DC.  We have applied for and been provisionally approved for a permit to run one in LaFayette Park ... right next to the White House here in Washington, DC!  We will do this in association with Food and Water Watch, an aggressive environmentally engaged non profit and The Milennium Goals Foundation in support of food security.  This should make national press, that is, if we do it right!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Drum Out Poverty Day, Saturday, June, 12, 2010

Drum Out Poverty Day is Coming!

 This is the last week before the Drum Out Poverty event here in Washington, DC.  We've done all we can to promote it and I think we're as ready as anyone can be to make this happen.  The only thing we may be short is event day volunteers.  It has been a learning experience for me and the rest of us.  I've done events before but never with such few resources ... funds have been very limited for this kind of a public event.  We have a number of sponsors, but only TD Bank and Giant Foods have actually contributed cash ... the other sponsors are "in-kind," for example Comcast gave us a 4 minute interview on their "local Newsmakers" edition but we have no idea how many people actually see it.  Dominoes Pizza is providing some pazza's and soda and Col Brooks Restaraunt is giving as a few dinners to auction off, but cash needed to promote and provide payment for talent has been virtually non existent.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


We were recently contacted by The Millennium Goals Foundation, a UN affiliated non profit dedicated to supporting the UN Goals of eradicating poverty by 2015.  It seems that the developed countries (US Included) have NOT put up the funds they promised at the original summit conference.  The Foundation wants to remind these countries of their pledges and to move them to honor their obligations.  That is where the Drum Circle comes in.  They reached out to us because of our original effort to link drum circles in Nairobi and Washington, DC.  We are visiting them in NYC at the UN today, Thursday, May 13th.

Our conceptual plan for the UN involves linked drum circles in all the recalcitrant countries at their national capitals.  We wold simulcast on both internet and global video from a central locations with a celebrity host (Bono, George Cluny, etc)  This will gain us global coverage by all media.  We should start with Drum Out Poverty Day in DC and build from there.

Watch this space to see how our thoughts are accepted, of ... not!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Update: Brookland Drum Circle - Drum Out Poverty Day

Progress against milestones -   We have produced a site plan.  Most likely have one more site walk through before we finalize the plan.  We also have the approved application from Parks and Recreation for the site and time slots requested.  We have confirmation from Councilman Thomas's office (Neil Rodgers) that he is aware of the event but the Parks and Rec folks cannot find the application (it is DC don't forget)  I emailed him a PDF  of the completed and approved application immediately.  We still need confirmation and assurance from the Councilman that he will contribute fees and equipment as promised.

Sponsorship:  We have completed our "package" and have distributed it to a number of local businesses.  We are quite optimistic as to potential outcome.  In addition, we are talking to Councilman Jim Graham and plan to reach Kwami Brown as well.  Councilman Gray's office will also be contacted so as to create a sense of community momentum.

Program:  We intend to have a professional community drum circle facilitator from REMO.  We heard from the Drum Circle Facilitator and will see if we can secure him and his drums for the event.  REMO is supporting us there, but I'm not sure of a financial commitment.  I need to secure that commitment.  There will be two Pavilions: The Children's Pavilion and The Djiembe Pavilion with appropriate demonstrations and timed events.  The principal event will be a facilitated community drum circle.

Promotion:  Lack of funds and time has limited our promotion and outreach.  We have been limited to personal contact and even more limited print promotion.  This week we plan to print 2,500 postcards, produce several PSA's (public service announcements), and work with Dance Place along with the political structure ... councilmen and the ANC's.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Status Update: April

So ... we have the completed application for the Drum Circle back from DPR (parks and recreation)  along with the costs of the specific equipment necessary to make this happen, (stage, generator, sound system, etc) the cost will hopefully be born by our councilman with whom we are partnering on this event.  We really can't move forward much more until we have a confirmed date from the city.  Meanwhile we continue to meet every Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 pm here in Brookland to keep the communications links open and update the planning process.  So far we have:  me as slave driver, Martinez Bengly (Il Gato, The Messenger) as program, Carl Bruce - Logistics and planning, and Roxanne Carter as overall event manager and sponsor relations.  There is, of course, Linda Yahr, CPA as chief pocketbook watcher.  Rosie Dempsey, communications expert just provided us with a promotional plan outline and we are in process of adopting that to our overall program.

I plan to publish all documents relevent to this event here and on Facebook and Linkedin as well.  That should begin to happen as soon as we have confirmation of our date:  Saturday, June, 12, 2010.  We are also about ready to reach out to REMO drums once again for short term sponsorship.  I am working on the package for them along with a proposal. ...

In regards to the global drum circle and fund raising event, we are planning on waiting until after the completion of the Regional Microcredit Summit in Kenya next week before engaging in that discussion.  We WILL be in attendance in Spain next year however and will begin that process shortly after completion of our trial event in June. ... watch this space.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Drum Out Poverty

Surely a gallant effort, but the global drum circle proved to be just to ambitious.  That, and the advent of the Haiti crisis simply overwhelmed our sponsors who are, mainly global NGO's who rushed immediately to Haiti and funding simply disappeared.  Well, we've had a month to lick our wounds (and our egos) and have decided to relaunch the effort as follows:  First, we will recalibrate our "Drumming An End To Poverty" event so that it runs in conjunction with the Global Microcredit Summit in Spain in 2011.  That is a year way and should provided us and our prospective sponsors, supporters, and volunteers plenty of time to get organized.

In addition, we also have decided to add an innovative, unique, and exciting feature to the mix.  We will run a series of "Drum Out Poverty," events right here in Washington, DC and in our own community.  We will run these events in cooperation with other local drum circles, most notably the famous and long running (30 yrs) Malcolm X park circle.  (I have played there every Sunday for the last few years)  Working with these folks will give us the coordination and relationship building expertise necessary.

So now the question has been asked, what does drumming have to do with poverty?  This is our vision ...   Every year, according to the UN's leading authority on poverty, 8 Million people die simply because they cannot afford to stay alive! ... just think about that for a moment.  Eight Million People - Every Year!

The heart beats within all of us.  The heart is the primal drum of life.   What could  be more compelling than to imagine the stilling of 8 million hearts.  ... those drums will never beat again!  How totally appropriate that voice in our drums should speak out for those who will never speak again.  How fitting it is to dedicate our "drums" to memorialize these lives   How righteous is it for us to use the voice and spirit in our drums to raise the alarm, to Drum Out Poverty!

 The great Ghandi once said that,"... poverty is the worst possible form of violence.".

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Page From the Obama Fund Raising Book ...

Our experience over the last few years has been informative and frustrating, but it has convinced me that Sustainability is not just something for us to bring to the LDC's (lesser developed countries) and the economically disadvantaged.  It is the best advice we can give ourselves.  Those of us who have the light of social responsibility and mission burning within us need to take aggressive responsibility for our own development.  We have to be our own funding agency.  It is as simple as that.  One cannot do good if one has not done well!  It has always been thus, if someone gives you money for a program they will determine how and where you spend it. ... and for reasons too many to catalog here, those reasons will usually not mesh well with yours.  It is an application of the golden rule of money.  "He who has the gold, makes the rules."

My dear friend, Kevin Clauson, of Reach The Children, spent $10 Million of his own funds building schools, digging water wells, and making micro loans in Africa.  He did it his way without anyone second guessing  him, or dictating priorities. Unless, like Kevin, one has significant personal funds to dedicate to development, one must go to the philanthropic and donor sector hat in hand seeking funds.  When one does this one gets told how to spend the money.  We do not believe the traditional approach to funding can be successful.  It has NOT worked to date.  Why should it work NOW?    That's where Drumming An End To Poverty comes in!

Soon, we will announce the debut of "Drum Out Poverty," day!  It will be one day in the summer of 2010. On that day, I will attempt to organize all drum circles to meet in the name of 8 million people who die every year simply because they can't afford to stay alive!  One day's drumming dedicated to raising funds, NOT JUST FOR CHARITY ... but for Sustainable Development ... to give people the skills, tools, and investment dollars needed to build their own business, hire others and create viable healthy families and communities.

I will reach out to dum cireles thorugh any medium, any means available to us.  We now have a presence on Facebook and Linkedin under our name:  Drumming An End To Poverty and on Twitter: drum2endpoverty.  I will be updating this blog on a regular basis now, every few days.  Here's how you can help us if you feel the spirit move within you.

Help Make Sustainable Development Work - First, social networking!  Become a fan on Facebook, link to us on Linkedin, and follow us on Twitter for one thing!  Then, next follow this blog.    Send us the name and an electronic address for you, and or your drum circle.  Our plan is to send information on how we will organize get banners, Tshirts, hats etc and our model for funding you and us a s well.  Please let me hear from you.  I don't care if you read this today or six months from now ... we need every drummer out there.  We can do this.  Finally email me at:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reality Rushes In ...

 Given the significant resource requirements of the effort and the increasing escalation of the Haitian crisis,  I have decided to restructure the Drumming An End To Poverty event  to accommodate the new realities of the post Haitian crisis environment.  It is difficult, if not impossible to focus upon poverty in Africa when we have such a devastated economy right here in our hemisphere.  The Nairobi Microcredit Summit is, in fact, although important, a regional event.  Next year is the Global Microcredit Summit and given the present situation, we have determined to redirect our near term efforts to Haiti! We will then readjust our sights upon the 2011 Global Summit in Spain.

Even without the terrible events surrounding the "quake," Haiti was already a disaster for those 80$ of all Haitians who live below the poverty line there.  For us, the earth quake is a wake up call.  Unless we can rebuild the economy from the bottom up, the existing power structure will defeat any effort to create a prosperous middle class by sucking up all funding and diverting it to their purposes.  We need a plan to support the creation of new growing businesses, a plan to redistribute, not the money, but the opportunity in Haiti.  We need to level the playing field.

So, very soon we shall see a new website spring up where this one once stood.  It will be "Drumming An End To Poverty in Haiti!  We will hold the Drum Circle here in Washington DC!  We expect it to be held in mid-June.  It will be on a Sunday and held at, or near The Catholic University in NE Washington.  Proceeds from the event will go to establishment of a fund to support small business growth in Haiti.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Money Isn't Everything - Is it?

The work goes on ... the struggle continues , perhaps a bit presumptuous of me to quote Bobby Kennedy on such a relatively mundane matter as a Drum Circle but ...

When you understand that the purpose of this "event," is to raise global awareness and Funds for  a proven solution to world POVERTY!  I think Bobby would have agreed!  At this point we have invested in excess of $50,000 USD in the formation and creation of this exciting and potentially paradigm changing event.  When we pull this off we will have raised $5 Million dollars (from the video and webcasts) and demonstrated to the world that Micro Credit and MicroUP can REALLY END POVERTY.

AND ... the money will not come from large multi national foundations.  It will come in small denominations from people everywhere, just like Obama, we are reaching out to people like us..

 If there ever was a chance to leverage donated dollars, this is it!  As we mentioned in the beginning, we plan to use organizational sponsors for event logistics only and to use a popular direct appeal to both populate the sustainable investment Fund ... The Fund will be called:  GSEI (Global Sustainable Economic Initiative) and it will be used to both lend and invest in micro enterprises and small growing businesses around the world in developing countries ... places where no one wants to invest and in businesses that will never see Forbes magazine.  These are businesses that will create local jobs.  Businesses that will form the basis of a merchant class and a real economy where none exists.   Our intention here  is NOT to redistribute the wealth.  Our objective is to redistribute the OPPORTUNITY!

So, what am I asking for here!  Money?  Sure, if you can donate PLEASE do so, but just as important are your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas for finding socially responsible businesses who see that Corporate Social Responsibility is not just a catch phrase but a burning need to save the soul of capitalism in a time of critical global need.  Do NOT think your ideas trivial.  We need and seek every one of them.  Just respond to this blog under "comments' I  think or email me at:

Money is NOT everything, it is, however way ahead of whatever is in second place. (well, today anyway)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Drumming: Helping Me to Help You

Do you remember when Tom Cruise (as Jerry McGuire the Sports Agent) says to Cuba Gooding, "... Help me, to help you!"  Well, here we go again!  I think this Drumming Event:  Drumming An End To Poverty, the opening of the Africa/Middle East Regional MIcro Credit Summit on April, 7th in Nairobi, Kenya will be a success in that it will focus the attention of the world on the ugliness of Poverty.  This is the main objective of the event and the Summit.

But ... it will also do a few other things as well.  It will be the first REAL international event ... televised on the networks and on the Internet that features the Drum as the lead voice in the music!  It will also popularize the Drum Circle as a means for making meaning and community of purpose.  As a long time professional musician I have to tell you a secret.  If you play any instrument well enough to work with others to make music then you know this ... others, simply do not!

The strongest spiritual experience I ever, ever had was while playing in a small club in New York's Greenwich Village ... many years ago.  I will never forget it, but it was not the first time it happened to me and I hope it will not be the last.  That shared psychic connection ... that link of minds that happens only in church or during a linked musical community is a profound true, not chemically induced high.  Non musicians simply have to find it in other ways.  Music is the ultimate high and it can be a contact high ... sometimes when the groove is there, it transmits to the audience and you can both see it happen and feel it happen in concerts every once in a while.  It is great to feel it in the audience but let me share this with you.  There is nothing like being part of the force that creates it.  Ok... back to drums.

Learning to play a tonal instrument is an arduous and (in the beginning) tedious and boring job.  Only the talented,  dedicated and/or those with strict parents, make the leap from pain to pleasure.  From rank amateur to capable musician.  This is true of Drums also ... BUT  There is magic in the drum!  Anyone, anyone with a very small amount of training can be lifted out of the common world and transported to that linked community of magic.  The means is the Drum Circle.  The linked power of the basic rhythm is a strong carrier of the soul.  It is one of the best kept secrets ... the drum cricle is a transformative experience and soon it will be out of the closet.  The secret will be shared with all who take the time (and not a lot of time) to just go and do it.  This is why the drum is so much a part of so many religious and spiritual traditions.

When you play in a drum circle you make friends who are much more than friends ... you make community and that is one of the most powerful secrets you will learn.  Trust me ... more to come on this. but I'm tired (not delusional, just ... tired) Go buy a drum, send me an email, let's talk about it.

More to come ...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Here is the Strategic Vision

Now that we have launched the fundamental event:  Drumming An End To Poverty in conjunction and partnership with The Global Micro Credit Campaign, we can turn some of our attention to the future because this is far too much work to be a one time effort.  How do we make this and ourselves ... self-sustaining.  Our argument for economic development for the poor uses the old adage, "Give one a fish and you have fed them of r a day, teach them to fish and you have fed them for life."  We should be a shinning example of the that admonition.  We have two market development strategies that address that general issue of organizational sustainability.

First is the extension of the "Event"  Drumming An End To Poverty from the one day launch of the Regional Micro Credit Summit in Kenya, to an annual global event that can mobilize and focus the attention of the international community on this very tractable problem.  Micro Credit and MicroUP can End poverty.  Once and for all!  I am working on a five principles article for Microfinance Focus Magazine and will  post it here also.  This should happen within the next five days (one hopes) ... anyway, here's the plan.

It is our intention to hold a formal "kick-off" press conference within the next 30 days to formally kick off the promotion campaign for the Regional Conference and MicroUP.  At that time we want to also announce the officall launch of:  Global Drum Out Poverty Day.   This will be a day of world wide reflection on the large numbers of beating heats that are forever stilled by poverty.  To quote Jeffrey Sachs in his now famous UN sponsored study on world poverty (and referenced in our MicroVenture Support Position Paper available for download at:  "Every year 8 million perople die simply because they cannot afford to stay alive."  Not to relate the two but I believe it was Stalin who said, "... one death is a tragedy, but a million is only a statistic."

There is an unmistakable metaphorical link between the heart beat and the drum beat.  Eight million die from poverty and we will play drums for 8 hours each year to memorialize these needless deaths, to put a face on that statistic and to bring home the fact that we can reduce or eliminate these needless deaths.  We can beat poverty.  We can "...drum it out."  To do this we will like to existing Drum Circles around the planet.  Drum Circle participants are by definition engaged, socially and spiritually aware people.  This will be a logical step for them.  It will also heighten world awareness of both the problem of poverty and the sound of the drum beat to rally humanity to its cause.  We will also reach out to those who are to follow us in this work.  The university students of today whose historic engagement and sense of social justice has become a cornerstone of the enormous "volunteer," movement.  Drum Out Poverty drum circles will become a fixture at every College and University activities department, music department and, yes, MBA program.

This then will become an Annual event.  Sponsored and supported by the Drumming An End To Poverty partnership.  It will be organized, planned, implemented and strategically directed from this site.  You can be a part of this.  You can make meaning from this.  I know it has real meaning for us.  Contact us and ask how you can be part of the most significant human economic development program in the history of mankind.  I will quote an document written by a famous social thinker, Pope Leo XIII in his Papal Encyclical.Rerem Novarum  (paraphrase)  There can be no social justice without economic justice.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The First Workday of the New Year - Progress NOW!

I am sending an email to our Drum Out list asking all parties to use this blog to stay updated on developments.  It will be much easier and reduce the burden on me ... I will still use emails for urgent or fast response issues however, so, stay tuned!

I spent this week familiarizing myself with Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin ... Flickr is next.  our name on the Facebook and Linkedin sites are simply groups and uses the normal naming convention "Drumming An End To Poverty."  I'm writing to Walls and trying to get other like folks to respond and sign on to the story line and expand the Network.  It's slow going since I don't really know how to navigate and stuff.

I have a video we shot at the last Malcomb X drum circle last month but I'm learning to use iMovie and still have not got the skill to make it all happen.  The same is true of Garage Band.  I'm trying to get a drum track we recorded up on the site as a key to various sections, but I'm still slogging along on that one.

I hooked up with Joy Chang  She has lots of contacts and experience in Africa and drumming cricles there. I am asking for help from anyone I can identify as being in the drum circle arena.  We should all connect on this one.  I also linked up with Wayne Briggs from Atlanta, a show business and music industry executive.  He is in LA and will begin to engage his network as will.

This will be a week of engagement for me.  I am now ready to reach out to other drum manufacturers to see if we cannot get a consensus rolling here.  We have been unable to contact most people for the last few weeks because of Christmas.  I expect that to change now

Friday, January 1, 2010

Volunteers Needed with good social media ability

We have two excellent public relations and social media folks at consultants but we need volunteers for all other positions or a few someones practically full time.  We will convert the volunteer jobs to paid position AND we will give our volunteers first shot at them.  If you know Utube, or Twitter, or Facebook, Linkedin, Flickr any of these.  We need people to blog and invigorate the readership.  We need you if you have youtube skills and can use iMovie to edit short video and audio sequences.   This is a grass roots effort. Our intention is to actually run a global drumming event telecast on two continents with very little funding and lots of promise.

Our problem is innovation.  Everyone claims they need it, but few are willing to actually support it with funding.  Why, fear, I suppose.  They don't want to lose their jobs in this economy.  However, since we have no jobs we cannot fathom their conservatism.  We will raise the funds.  The Drum Manufacturers are starving for something like this and now we have it.  A chance to really do well by really doing good!  A CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) coup of biblical proportions, my friends.

We need help in all positions ... first come gets first dibs.  Development, Marketing, Donor and Investor relations, Marketing Communications, also, we need musicians who want to keekp t heir body and soul together.  These are only volunteer position for now.  As soon as funds begin to roll in we will convert to paid position in order of volunteer seniority.  Believe me if you cast your lot with us ... we will be loyal to you.

We plan to run this every year after the 2010  Regional Summit.  We will run a Global Summit in Spain in 2011 (so speaking Spanish will definately help)  This is not a short term dead end job for us, or for our volunteers.   Contact Jerry Peloquin, 410-227-0498 or, Linda Yahr at: 443.570.1657  Let's do this.