When the humble among us do great things reflecting a path to the greater good for the collective, those deeds are usually the gifts inspired by the ancestral realm reminding us of their guidance, living in us. Every time we find ourselves in the past attempting to remember stories of our true selves or jump into the future imagining where we can be as a people, we come closer to the possibilities which motivate what we have to do now.
An inspired mind planted a seed in 2011, and the idea of Global Day of the Drum (GDOD) was harvested. The traditional role of the African drum was re-imagined and acknowledged as an instrument of communication and regeneration on a global scale. The event invited the world to participate in synchronized drumming for (18) minutes in a two part sequence played simultaneously in various time zones at specifically coordinated times around the world. Diverse ethnic groups were invited to participate and celebrate with each other in respect to special segments prior to and after the ceremonial drumming during GDOD events.
The acronym “GDOD” is the short name for this collective initiative, as a figure of speech for continuity via the analogy of “beating our own drums”. GDOD literally forms the word “GOD,” and the word “Do” is at the center of the acronym, which is modern mantra (a motivational metaphor for “doing our own thing” and being independent),”beating your own drums” in the Global Afrikan vernacular.
The GDOD project has seven basic components which encompass various aspects:
– Healing/Spirituality and back to the roots healthy living
– Re- Education, Training and Re-training
– Research and Development
– Innovation and Entrepreneurial activities
– Economics Empowerment and Sharing
– Performance Tourism and Peace Commerce
– Live streaming and Global Broadcast
The core aspect of GDOD is the utilization of rhythmic and trans-vibrational experiences of the sacred African drum as a healing mechanism and to bring our issues to the center of world consciousness. GDOD attracts students, drum and dance enthusiasts, pan-Africanists, nature lovers, artists, environmentally conscious people of all ages, performers, scientists, writers, historians, lecturers and many more, who love freedom of expression and therefore a true rhythm and pulse of the global community it serves. This constant infusion of participant support gives GDOD the innovative energy which keeps the initiative at the vanguard of the global peace movement. GDOD has developed into a global franchise with partners in several countries around the world.
The inaugural event created and inspired by Barbadian director/choreographer and international artist Ian Douglas was launched in Guyana and Suriname and took place on July 5th, commemorating article 64/169 of the United Nations declaration of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent (IYPAD). GDOD continues to be celebrated in July under the cultural enterprise and aegis of the Ian Douglas Foundation and Global day of the Drum incorporated. The creators of the annual Global Day of the Drum remind others that it is not often when history, creativity, and innovation converge.
Drumming was banned for more than three hundred and seventy five years on the island of Barbados and has returned as a positive, powerful ancestral creative expression. The GDOD approach to the African drum is to seek to understand the sacredness and science of the drum beyond the pleasures of simply learning and passing on rhythms. Representing conscious inner communication with the divine as a resource of renewal, reciprocity and prosperity, the resurgence of the drum is a natural continuum and stimulus for self-empowerment and nation building.
The Global Day of the Drum event was conceived as an international peace and healing initiative, a pan African holiday incorporated into the spiritual and cultural customs of the present times. GDOD projects are created to reinforce interdependence as a people and to bring enterprising cultural solutions to old development problems. One such project is the lunar drum cycle which compliments the annual event giving participants a monthly gathering and an occasion to be together under the light of the full moon in a special way, beating Afrikan drums, focusing on aspirations, and reconnecting with an aspect of our divinity.
Now approaching its fifth year, GDOD remains an amazing journey and is becoming an international brand. Under the theme “Reparation of the African Mind”, the 2014 event reflected a GDOD re-imagined. Inspired by the rediscovery of living principles which have sustained our spiritual, social and communal well-being, this event included fasting preparations for drummers and participants, ancestral venerations, and country specific entertainment and events featuring drummers, actors, dancers, visual artists, craft-persons, vendors, poets, healers, storytellers, and singers.
In accordance with the UN General Assembly recommendation of 2013 to 2023 being the Decade for People of African Descent, the Global Day of the Drum signifies much more than drummers having synchronous annual sessions all over the world. The drumming continues an ancient ritual/celebration, revived for this time. The GDOD initiative is an interactive experience, transforming time in positive experience and surviving organically with the rest of the pan-African community. This model connects the hearts and minds of Africa and her diaspora and gives the GDOD initiative a unique responsibility to the integrity of its programming.
NOTE: The Annual GDOD Event and its trademark is a wholly and exclusively owned entity of the Ian Douglas Foundation (IDF), a cultural enterprise NGO founded in April 2006 and registered in 2011 by Ian E. Douglas. Douglas is creative director, choreographer, international artist and former dance Officer of the National Cultural Foundation of Barbados where he is from. Douglas’ work seeks to express and articulate the philosophy, experiences, perceptions and introspection of people in the African Diaspora. Conceived to be a production company for the conservation for the research and restoration of the African heritage in the Barbadian/Caribbean culture via contemporary performance, IDF brings together artists whose works reflect “the Caribbean aesthetic”.