The Drum Beat Journey project takes us on a musical pilgrimage with a group of Chicago bucket drummers. This story is about growth and perseverance through challenges, building community, and understanding one’s history.
The film documents the lives of Demetrius, D’Quan, Dontay, and DaMonte, four young African-American men from the heart of Chicago’s tough streets who travel to Senegal. Using the bucket drum as a conduit, they release intense emotions and explore their inner imaginative spirits. This life-changing event takes them to a place their minds never deemed possible.
“Armed with no more than a bucket and a pair of sticks, they hit the beat every day, entertaining the masses to earn a living and provide an escape from the harsh realities that plague their lives,” says Elilta Tewelde, the visionary mind behind the project. This journey serves as a rite of passage, as it further enhances their sense of spiritual and emotional well-being, and allows them to directly link their passion for bucket drumming and their African heritage.
The drummers participated in a two-week drumming workshop with Senegalese Griot Percussionist, Medoune Gueye (aka Papa Dame.) Chicago filmmakers (Co-Directors & Producers) Mallory Sohmer and Kate Benzschawel came aboard to lead production and tell the story.
Funded by Chicago, IL (March 2016)