Drumming on the Edge, cont.
"I won a twist contest and my mother used to make me twist
when the relatives came over. She'd say, "Wayney boy, c'mon, show Auntie Pearl and Uncle Fat how you won that contest." She
still calls me Wayney boy when I call her up, but no more twisting. I never thought of myself as a musician until I started
drumming for bellydance shows with my wife, Dunyah."
In 1990, his wife formed a new troupe called Spirit of Mother Earthbut the group
was missing one key performer: a drummer. Undaunted, they bought Wayne a hand drum and immediately he started rehearsing with
th em. "I went to their practice nervous and apprehensive but I seemed to have a knack for the rhythms, and after a whole
week, they threw me into the show, and I got what I call 'drum fever.' Literally, it hasn't stopped since."
For Wayne, music unlocked something deeper, something spiritual. "I can see why
my ancestors--the Sami, or Laplanders--used the drum with the shaman to divine the future and travel to other worlds. Drumming
for days a at a time, in a trance." says Wayne. "Think of it. In the winter, no sun for six months; what power the drum created
for them. They would travel for days and climb a mountain just to see the sun peek over the horizon. "Entire histories were
written on the shaman's drum--who lived, who died, what the weather was like, when to hunt. I have changed as a musician because
the rhythms and drums are in my soul, bones, and blood. I hear the power of rhythm in music and now understand it. Sounds
are more valid to me than doctrine. Mickey Hart wrote a book, Drumming on the Edge of Magic. That says a lot."
Wayne believes that performing with Gypsy Caravan re-creates that feeling of someting
ancient and simple, something deeply spiritual. "Playing with Gypsy Caravan takes me to the core. No pretenses or frilly things;
it's zurnas, drums that go deep, and tribal dancers who have been there since the beginning. The costuming and dancing are
magic, and I'm drumming on the edge of it.
"My religion?" he asks. "Why I drum for temple dancers, that's an important part
of my spiritual connection. Gypsy has a great vision that is and will come true. Anyway I can help is my path. Rhythm and
dance without end. Amen."
For Wayne, the special bond between musician and dancer is especially satisfying
and spiritual. "Most drummers and musicians," he says, "are in their own heads, and that's typical in our society. But to
get to what I call the temple, dance and music worship together. Movement and mood, colors, heart-beating drums, souls awakening
together, remembering together." He believes that the musician is responsible for the dancer and the dancer is responsible
for the musician.
Wayne adds,"Honoring those around you brings you honor. As you exalt, so shall
you be exalted." He's currently working on the oud, and is building bagpipes. "with recycled material. Don't know why, just
going down that road." He says he'd like to do a CD of chants, rants, rhythms, trancey flutes and droney things, mostly improv
and mostly by myself."
Yet his dream, the one that has given him focus and inspiration, is essentially
tribal. "Before I was a musician," Wayne remembers, "years ago, I had a lucid dream where I woke up and began to fly around
a lake, spinning faster and faster. Spirits were playing the most beautiful music with me as we floated together--drums, fiddles,
bagpipes, flutes. It was my perfect moment in the temple.
I play to get back to that moment," Wayne concludes, "and those I play with are
the spirits. I truly believe that. Wow, I guess I've had a vision."
by Wayne Omar Gilbertson
Ancient spirits, awakening once again,
With the coming of the Light.
Ancient spirits, awakening once again,
with the coming of the Light.
Remembering all those who are there,
and how they loved them.
Drums, drums, drums,
Dancing the incantation
All is one
All is one shines the sun
Howls the moon
Blows the wind
Crashes the waves
Beats the heart.
Elemental angels whispering, shouting
For us to hear
Now! Now! Now! Now!
The wonder of it all.