African Drumming With Mr. McCamley

Jim Donovan founding member of Rusted Root and Professor @ St. Francis Univ, Mr. McCamley, Mamady Keita West African (Guinea National Ballet) Master Drummer, and Dr. Dan Trevino.

Jim Donovan founding member of Rusted Root and Professor @ St. Francis Univ, Mr. McCamley, Mamady Keita West African (Guinea National Ballet) Master Drummer, and Dr. Dan Trevino.

Kaitlyn McGonigal, Author

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Since 2001, Mr. McCamley has been teaching African drumming to the students in his World Cultures class. He chooses this to be his last unit of the year, in order to release tension from tests students take in the spring. Many students enjoy the lesson for this reason. Last year, Mr. McCamley also started the African Drumming Club for activity days at West Branch.

Mr. McCamley learned to drum himself, in the late 90s. He was a big fan of the band Rusted Root, which is why he got into African drumming. The band would hang around during the opening acts of their shows, which was how Mr. McCamley met the members. After attending many of their concerts, Rusted Root drummer, Jim Donovan remembered Mr. McCamley. Jim informed him he was giving lessons on African drumming, so Mr. McCamley decided to sign up.

One day, Mr. McCamley got an awesome email from Jim asking if he would like to sit in at a solo concert.  At first, Mr. McCamley was unsure of participating; however, after showing one of his students the email, she encouraged–almost demanded–him to participate.  Getting to perform with Jim Donovan was a great honor for Mr. McCamley, being such a big fan of Rusted Root. Mr. M says, “the cool thing about African drumming, is that there is not as large of a barrier between the performer and audience.” He also shared that there are a lot of African rhythms that have simple accompanying parts along with more complex rhythms, making the African drum a great entry instrument.

Mr. McCamley not only shares this talent with his students, but also his family and friends. He is truly an inspiring teacher.