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Rhythm Kings

D.R.U.M. not only wants the right sound, it wants the right spirit

"We're very eclectic," Gaidi says. "We got one song called 'Do You Believe?' that's got this straight-up, New Orleans, second-line bite. That's one of the pieces that I wrote. The thing is, there are so many elements that I don't know what to call [our music]."

"We offer those elements that can hopefully touch people," seconds Ali. "But we bring in other elements from points around the world into the situation. And that's the uniqueness that we offer. African-American element, South American element, it doesn't matter to us. We just wanna know, hey, is it good? And if it is good, will people be magnetized to it and get the spirit of what the music is trying to do and what the musician is trying to do with the music?"

Oh yes, spirit -- that's another important part of the D.R.U.M. aesthetic. Although Gaidi is the group's founder, he claims there isn't a team leader or a physical guiding force running the band. Instead, everything is up to a higher power. "We are spiritually focused -- a spiritually based group," Gaidi says. "We let the spirit guide us when we're making moves."

D.R.U.M. has been touring since 1993, performing in New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio and other locales around the country, though mostly in the South. When he's not with D.R.U.M., or spending quality time with his bride, dancer Oshun Bunmi, whom he married last November, Gaidi teaches at the Alafia School of Percussion, which is located right down the hall from D.R.U.M.'s new practice digs at the Midtown Art Center. The members of the band also created an indie record label, D.R.U.M. Music, a few years back, and on it in 1995 they released their first album, Ancient Sounds of the Future.

D.R.U.M. Music has also released Patake, a storytelling tape done by Gaidi. But it's the fuel of the drums that Gaidi and his boys want to pass on in their music. It's the sense that anything can be achieved from the standpoint of music as long as there is a good beat and you can dance to it.

"Coming from D.R.U.M., I would say it's universality," says Gaidi. "It's the oneness of all the humans on the [planet]. Because the drum is the only universal instrument on the planet. Out there, there are cultures in the world that don't have strings. There are cultures in the world that don't have brass or woodwinds. [But] everybody in the world has got drums. Because it's the universiology of the human heartbeat, and the rhythm of life."

Ah, the things you can say when you're not suffering from heat stroke.

For info about upcoming D.R.U.M. performances, call 527-0725.

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