By Taylor Flynn
Liz Broscoe – long known as Tahoe’s “DrumChik” – has been drumming professionally for 35 years. Currently she is a member of the Wesley Orsolic Band, a traditional jazz, funk and blues group, a regular on the local circuit with gigs at places like Genoa Bar, Steamers Bar and even larger venues including the Tahoe Biltmore. But she also plays with rank amateurs, non-musicians like you and me, who can also take advantage of the many benefits of drumming.
“Hand drumming came into my life about 20 years ago,” said Broscoe. Since then, she has introduced scores of Tahoe folks to group drumming on African hand drums through her class at Lake Tahoe Community College. It’s the kind of drumming that is great for learning basic rhythm while also gaining an understanding and appreciation for the benefits of a communal gathering, where each individual alternately blends in and stands out to create that special oneness. It’s about being a participant in the rhythm of humanity. It’s about wellness. It’s about fun. Broscoe’s locally famous LTCC class continues to this day, and she also teaches at schools, at juvenile detention centers for at risk kids, at private parties, and for companies looking to benefit from the team building aspects of group drumming. The main type of drum Broscoe likes to use in these settings is the West African Djembe, a skincovered goblet-style drum that stands roughly two feet tall. And herein lies the dilemma. A cheap, knock-off drum may be OK for a beginner, but leaves no room to grow and inspire. A fabulous hand-made, greatsounding professional Djembe will put you back about $900. Not exactly a price tag every beginning drummer can afford or is willing to spend. So, Broscoe decided that what the hand drumming world needed was a mid-priced drum – one with all the benefits of a professional model but for half the price. A hand-made drum with great sound that a person could hold and hug and grow with and cherish forever. So when her favorite drum maker approached her about designing a drum with her name on it, that was a, some might say, tall order. And that tall order has resulted in the Drumchick Drum. Each Drumchick drum is hand made by Matt Hardwick, owner of Drumskulls Drums in Santa Cruz, CA. “They’re the best in the world, I think,” said Broscoe of Hardwick’s drums. Hardwick, Broscoe says, has spent years traveling to and building relationships in Africa to source the very best “ingredients” for his product and, hence, hers. Each Drumchik Drum is made with authentic African carved “shells” (the drum’s wooden base) and high-end, African sourced “hats” (the leather top). “Matt has networked with African companies, makers and artisans for years and those connections are long and hard won,” said Broscoe. Equally important is Hardwick’s skill assembling each drum into a work of art. “The craftsmanship in putting them together is also long and hard won,” she said. The result is a drum that is second to none. In a word, “Bitchin’,” she says laughing. Liz Broscoe Drumchik Drums are available in one place and one place only – her website: www.drumchik.com.