Final Address

Out of the darkness all I could see was a pair of menacing eyes and pale dead hands reaching out to whip me, slash me and eventually kill me. Every night it was the same nightmare. And my only wish from that point forth was to one day see the light. I wanted a life without fear. I wanted freedom. Now, having fled my old life in Wilmington, Delaware, I stand here today in Chatham, Ontario with my own weekly newspaper where I have published my opinions on internal politics in the black community. I have dedicated my whole life to full integration and racial and sexual equality. But, its hard to voice my opinions when few care to take the time to hear me out. My thoughts on slavery and equality seem to get lost and buried beneath what people have decided the most relevant or important news of the day. For as long as I can remember, in Canada, that news have always been confederation. Some agree and some don’t, but that will never be major focus. Confederacy or not, it won’t have any effect on the equality or freedom of my race. As long as the white males are okay, nothing else matters. That has been the mindset of those above me, since I was a little girl, but I chose to look beyond that. I chose to break open the cardboard box of narrow-minded ideas that cloud our brains and see clarity. They say that that have been granted what they call “freedom”. A word, that to them, means a life without harm. But to us, this word does not only signify safety, it signifies the right to act, speak, and think as one wants without any limitations. Thats what I stand for. There are nights where I question whether I will ever see a day where African Americans are treated as equals to those currently in power. But at least I can rest in peace knowing that I made a difference and gave our race a head start on their journey to true freedom.

Provincial Freeman – News Report

Dear Reader,

A couple days ago another poor escaping fugitive was killed. He was aboard the Pennsylvania, at Richmond, with high hopes of reaching a land of liberty and freedom and escaping his oppressors once and for all. To his dismay a group of infuriated men armed with clubs, crowbars and other deadly weapons marched about the boat determined to find him. Searching every corner, this group of men would not stop until they found him. Until they could kill him and show their dominance. And they did. That day we lost another black man to those who torment us because of our race and we need to stop this and stand up for ourselves and each other. If we don’t do anything now, we are setting up future generations to live the same life of pain and misery. It’s time to show our nation that nobody owns us. We may be black, but that is no justification for treating us like slaves. And let me tell you, if the roles were reversed I don’t think white people would see justice in that either. Who knows, maybe they would fight even harder than we have, granted how needy and entitled they all are. Together I do believe we can become one, because we are connected by the same feeling of fear and hopelessness this man felt, one you can’t ever understand until you feel that sensation yourself. As a child I was once in this situation and to this day the memory still haunts me. Im sure many of you readers have experienced similar situations and can understand. So please help me. Help us save our people.

Mary Ann Shadd

In-Depth Post #6, First SoundCloud Upload

Given that my previous most was approximately one week ago, I can’t say much has really changed. However, we did move our band practice to Friday so that there would be something new to discuss for this weeks theme of concepts and alternatives. But before I get into that, I have an exciting announcement! We have officially posted our first song on SoundCloud! It is not yet perfect, and I will admit the sound quality is lacking, but we have put in a lot of effort to get to where we are and we hope you will enjoy our rendition of Today by The Smashing Pumpkins.

As a band it has taken us quite a while to get to a level at which we are fully comfortable on our instruments. But now that we have found the rhythm and the feel for our instruments, as well as playing in a band, we will have our 5 songs done in no time. Next weekend I will be posting a follow up blog post with our second recording of ‘Today’ with our vocalist Anika Venkatesh, who as unfortunately unable to make it to our last rehearsal. Fingers crossed that by then we will be able to figure out a better balance for our playing, so the recording won’t sound as heavy on the drums :)

Moving along to concepts and alternatives, which is actually a harder topic for me to write about. I still haven’t met with my mentor in a while, so I will have to refer back to meetings we have had before spring break, as well as things I have learned from my bandmates. These are also two very broad topics, so I have chosen to focus as equally on both as I can and provide a couple examples to give you a bigger understanding and insight on my learning.

Now, starting with concepts, a lot of concepts with drumming have to do with technique, timing, and rhythm, and less to do with the actually patterns and drums played at each given time. Some of the main concepts I try to focus on and remember while Im playing is to relax, count in my head (feel the music), and keep my heal up. Unlike piano and other instruments I have played, drums isn’t about perfection its about feeling the music and keeping a tempo for your band to follow. If you slip up or hit the wrong drum, just keep going, the likely hood of the audience noticing is very slim. That is, as long as you don’t lose the tempo/beat. As I have said before you are keeping the tempo that the whole band will follow, which brings me to my second concept of counting in my head. I have discovered that the easiest way for me to keep the beat is to hear the song in my head and follow the beat I think it would have. As crazy as it sounds, it has really helped me, and I think my progress has shown in the recording above. Lastly, I said to keep your heal up. Obviously that isn’t as big as the other ones, but when playing the drums you want power over the drum kit. Especially with the rock songs we have chosen to play. And because I don’t have a ton of muscle in my legs, it helps to keep my heal off the ground when hitting the bass drum, so I can control and give as much force as necessary. I remember the first day when my mentor reminded me almost 6 times to lift my heal up.

Alternatives are a bit less straight forward. I can’t list alternatives, as there hasn’t been a set rule or rules that I follow. Alternatives just arise here and there during my mentor and band sessions. A lot of drumming is coming up with alternatives. In other words, ways to make it easier on yourself and/or the band. This comes up especially often when reading other peoples drum notation because everyone’s is different. When I read over drum notation written by someone else it will generally work with the music, but there have been many times with the music unclear, or to hard for the level I am at, which is where alternatives come into play. During band practices I can’t say to my band, “Oh, sorry, I won’t be able to play today, as I can’t play this music.” It is disrespectful to the band and puts us all in a position where we can’t get anything done. Instead, I need to come up with alternatives and ways to adjust the piece to fit my ability. Some alternatives might be simplifying the music by taking out some sixteenth beats and replacing them with eighth and/or quarter beats, as well as changing a rhythm to something more suitable to the rhythm the rest of the band is playing at the time. I do believe it is becoming easier for me to come up with my own alternatives without my mentor. And it excites me to see the progress.