So much to say……

and where to begin? How about with this image? If ever a photo summed up a trip then this is one of them.

Sunset Magic, Port Dixon, Malaysia

I have had the most amazing time in the last 4 weeks. I was invited to deliver a presentation at the 2nd Asian Facilitators Conference in Port Dixon, Malaysia by my good friend and drum buddy John J Hagedorn. We had met at an Arthur Hull Drum Circle Training in Scotland in 2009 and sealed a growing friendship with a climb up Tinto and a dram or two. I was very happy to be included at the conference alongside Arthur Hull, Lynne Kleiner, Rowan Storm, Syed Ibrahim, Edwin Nathaniel, John himself and Zorina Wolf.

Asian Rhythm Facilitator’s Conference

The conference turned out to be life changing in many ways. I had prepared a presentation on ‘Seeding Community Drum Circles’ but on reflection chose to alter it at the last minute. The audience make up was not ‘professional drum circle facilitators’ but more  new and upcoming rhythmatists working with children and special needs groups.

I decided to present a number of activities ranging from pre school(3-5) through to Y6 Primary (11 yrs old) All of the presenters were inspiring. Al of them.

My presentation was fun to deliver and well recieved. In fact an organisation which was represented at the conference , has booked me to train their staff in October over two weekends in the art of Expressive Rhythm Stories.

drumming in schools
Expressive Rhythm Stories in action

Fantastic huh?

Around the conference John had built in a number of workshops including a Playshop with Arthur Hull. Being a regional organiser for Arthur meant I could get this workshop for free so I ended up putting aside 3 weeks to take in workshops and conference.

I arrived just in time, though a little jet lagged, to take part in Lynne Kleiners Music Rhapsody Training. I had such a good time.

LK Class
Lynne Kleiner Training Group Malaysia

Lynne is the consumate professional, a wonderfully gifted musician and a fabulous teacher. I got to play lots and to learn about her approach to teaching Music. As a drummer I have always shied away from the idea I am a musican ( Cue drummer jokes!!!) but working with Lynne has helped to bring about a realsiation of how musical I actually am. As I have my own educational rhythm based programme to deliver I am not sure I will switch entirely to Music Rhapsody but if I was a Music Teacher in a school full time this would be the model for me without a doubt. I hope to see Lynne deliver a training in the UK at some point in the future. Watch this space.

After Lynne’s training we all headed to Port Dixon for the conference and once we were done there Arthur and myself headed of to Malacca for a couple of days break prior to the Playshop. We had a lot of fun there, clowning about like Laurel and Hardy or Abbot and Costello and discovering that not only were we compatible in the world of the drum circle but that we could ‘Hang’ outside of it too. Unfortunately Arthur caught a bug which made him cough a lot. Then, very sweetly, he gave it to me.

Rikshaws in Malacca
Malcca, Jongur Street

We also met up by chance! with a group of drummers one of whom followed us back to Kuala Lumpur to take Arthurs Training. Arthur got through the worst of the cough before training began and we had a fabulous two and a half days of drum circle goodness. By the last day I had hit the physical wall with my cough and the final community drum circle passed by in a blur of some kind. I was sick. Arthur by then though was in fine fettle and saw off another leg of his Asian tour in style.

Training with Arthur
Arthur in full flow

That night I was medicated like never before thanks to Arthur and John..sleeping pills, chinese medicine, vitamins and Single Malt Whiskey…just to be sure 😉 I slept very well and long.

Sadly the illness prevented me from attending the Afro Cuban workshops with Steve Thornton. Shame, as they sounded like a lot of fun.

The upside was that I was well rested for two days of drum programme with Prudential at KL Pac with John, Arthur, Rhonwyn and myself.

We were scheduled to work with a group of 6o 11-17 yr olds. When the buses arrived they were 7-17.

Take a deep breath. Change all the plans. Begin again. Fortunately, we had between us,75 years worth of experience and we were cool with throwing out the plan. We had a fun and challenging two days.

Paul in circle at KL Pac
Paul facilitates at KLPAC
paul teaches at klpac
Paul teaching at KLPAC

So that left a couple of days to chill in Kuala Lumpur, drink Single Malts and try catch a few rays before heading back to the UK.


You know I’m coming back right?
I hit the ground running back here in the UK with two full days of Expressive Rhythm Stories lined up.

One day to re set jet lag and away I went. Both days went well but to be honest I was kinda sleepy. I rested a day or two and then after helping my son Lewis with some car stuff, hung out in Hebden Bridge for Summer Solstice. Much fun was had.

Two more days of Expressive Rhythm Stories, an evening with my old Rhythms of the World class in Hebden Bridge ( Thanks to Filo for organising that) and then a Samba session with a local primary.Pheeew.
This morning was supposed to be a meeting with the bank but it has been postponed till Friday

Tomorrow, after the bank meeting, I head back to Scotland to teach a full day of ‘Rhythms of the World’ on Sat June 28th before coming back South to Yorkshire to complete the current Expressive Rhythm Story (ERS) project…Two more days of that before heading to Merseyside to Drum and Dance African style with Sens Sagna in a Primary school and then back for one more day in Yorkshire of ERS before it’s the weekend…best friend’s Stag…no rest for the wicked 😉

Not too far down the road we have the following to look forward to.

July 8th/29th Wiston Summer Programme. Expressive Rhythm Stories and Rhythm Trail.

July 19/20 Stainsby Festival Drum Circles…My favourite gig of the year.

July 27th Sign Circle Festival Drum Circle

Aug 2nd Full Day Rhythms of the World workshop @ Kinning Park, Glasgow 1000-1700 CANCELLED

August 17th Community Drum Circle, Corn Exchange, Biggar, 1100-1300

Drum Workshops for Tinto Everest @ Wiston Lodge Sat Aug 30th

September 4th New Term for Rhythms of the World @ Kinning Park, Glasgow.

Sept 6/7 Arthur Hull Playshop Barcelona ( On the wishlist)

Sept 13/14 Tinto Music and Arts venue @ Non Stuff Festival, Wiston Lodge

Sept 16th Findhorn Universal Hall: Community Drum Circle with Arthur Hull

Sept 22-18 UK Playshop with Arthur Hull @ Wiston Lodge

Oct 8- 22 Malaysia Trip: Expressive Rhythm Stories Training Program.

Life is Full and I am always happy with that.

Stay well.

Keep on Drumming.

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