I started running the Drum Cafe in Winnipeg in 2006.
I am very passionate about African drumming myself. Born and raised in Winnipeg, I spent 4+ years studying drumming in Ghana; not only do I motivate companies and organizations through Drum Cafe's team building programs, I love to share my knowledge of this music and culture with school students throughout our province.
During the pandemic, everything to do with live music was shut down - no Drum Cafe events for 2 years, which was very difficult. It is only now that restrictions have mostly been lifted that we are seeing more live events being planned. There is definitely the desire for people to connect with one another once again and the demand for team building is on the rise.
A typical team building event involves a significant amount of preparation; discussion goals and objectives with the client and working out logistical details such as when and where we can load in the drums, communicating with the venue manager to make them aware of what we need and will be doing, organizing for the vehicle needed for the transport of the drums plus organizing for my team members who will assist with moving the drums and subsequently facilitating the show.
All of that effort becomes worth it once we start playing on the drums and see the positive reactions of the participants as they realize they get to participate as well - some start tapping on the drums, some are somewhat reluctant, and others are moving their bodies to the beat.
Whether it be 100 participants or 500 participants, by the end of our session the energy in the room is extremely powerful, everyone has shared this wonderful experience and those who were initially reluctant are most often the ones who have loosened their ties and are up dancing to the maraca dance.
The reason we in Winnipeg did not go to virtual events during the pandemic is because this atmosphere simply cannot be replicated online. The power of the live drums is both felt and heard and the interaction between the participants and facilitators is what really brings people together - just as communities are drawn together in the villages of Africa during musical celebrations.
I am anticipating that as things continue to return to normal, as people become more comfortable being around larger crowds, we will see a return to a strong demand for our unique team building programs not only in Winnipeg, but across all of our global locations.