Typically all you can hear in Finsbury Park are the sounds of runners’ footsteps, trains passing through and the madness of Seven Sisters Road. Every Sunday, however, at the bottom of the garden in the Art Hut, the compulsive rhythms and infectious beats of drums being played at Djam bounce off the trees bringing a whole different vibe to the area.
Djam is one of many activities that are part of the Finsbury Park Art Club. It formed ten years ago when founders Anne, BJ and Shakespeare would sit in the park drumming away. Initially it was all about having fun and relaxation — which it still is — but it now serves as a way to bring the community closer together. Over the last decade it has become a thriving local organisation, providing a year round programme of inexpensive, inclusive arts and music activities. One of the founders, Anne Berwick, explains:
Finsbury Park has many communities. The Art Club, and particularly the Djam, offer a place that people from very different backgrounds can mix and enjoy being creative together. We've had people join in who can't speak English; some people have a collection of university degrees; and some can't read. The Djam gives a common language and enjoyment that helps build an understanding between people.
The Djam draws people into the Art Hut naturally, the sound of West African and Middle Eastern rhythms being played on African drums, congitas, bongos and anything else handy activating the inquisitiveness of passers-by.
It's free to have a go and anyone is welcome. Your hands may hurt after drumming in the circle but just follow their principle of consensus: “There is no drum master, everyone has an important part to play, anyone can start a good rhythm.”
By Selina Orrell
The Art Club runs various activities throughout the week including the weekly drum jam every Sunday. For more information contact general inquiries on 07779268449 or 'like' their Facebook page.