The sounds of Africa heard at Durham College

Babarinde Williams, is a drummer from Nigeria who performed traditional African drumming circle at the Durham College's Oshawa campus.
Babarinde Williams, is a drummer from Nigeria. He performed a traditional African drumming circle at the Durham College’s Oshawa campus.

What sound can bring students and faculty all together to one part of the school?

It was the sound of drums beating from The PIT in the Gordon Willey building at the

college’s Oshawa campus.

Durham College’s diversity office and the Student Association partnered up to host a drumming circle in celebration of Black History Month on Feb. 18.

Allison Hector-Alexander, the college’s diversity officer, says the event was a huge success because of its location.

People can stop on their way and they don’t have to sit somewhere for two or three hours,” says Hector-Alexander. “You can come between classes for ten minutes, grab a drum and do it.”

Babarinde Williams, the head drummer of the circle, says this was his first experience performing at Durham College.

The vibe here is amazing,” he says. “Even though we started off a little slow, a little shy, once we got going it was crazy.’’

Williams is originally from Nigeria but has lived in Canada for the past 15 years. He currently lives in Ajax and has been performing drum circles for the past eight years.

I thought it would be a good opportunity because you have both the fun component of it and also the education piece of it as well,” says Hector-Alexander.

She says African and Caribbean drumming is connected to human emotion and plays a huge part of celebrations in these communities.

First year Community Services and Child Foundations student, Letasia Brooksmith, says the drum circle made her curious to find out what was going on in The PIT.

I heard the drums playing and I was like, ‘I’ve got to go check out that sound!’’’ she says. Brooksmith stayed for the entire three hour performance.

Hector-Alexander says the drum circle was an interactive way to get students to participate and learn about why to celebrate Black History Month.

In Africa we drum for everything and the drum plays a very integral role in the community so that’s why we are doing this, to give [students] a taste of what it means to be in an African village or setting,” says Williams.

The Diversity office also held a Professional and Mentorship day, which was an event that gave students the opportunity to meet Black Canadian professionals in the community as a part of Black History month.