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She bangs the drums: Women Drummers International

Alexandra Augustin


When it comes to music made by women, some clichés still persist: Women sing, and men play loud guitars and heavy drums. Conga drummer Carolyn Brandy wants to change all that.

She’s been playing drums for more than 40 years. She plays with the percussion collective Sistah Boom! in San Francisco’s Dyke Marches, accompanies other musicians from all over the world on their records, and encourages other women to grab the drum sticks or simply use their hands and make some noise through her organization Women Drummers International.

Every summer, they come together for a big drum workshop in the Bay Area called “Born to Drum Camp”. Last July, 250 women participated in Bort Meadow. Every first Sunday, they meet up and drumm together in a smaller venue in Berkeley.


BRANDY: The drum wrongly was personified as a male instrument. The drum is female! The heartbeat, you know? That's what we pass on to our children. It's the first sound we hear

That story was produced by KALW’s Alexandra Augustin, a visiting journalist from Austria. The next Women Drummers International workshop happens on Dec. 4th at Ashkenaz in Berkeley.