purveyors-of-the-old-west-navajo-drumsLoretta Veach, founder and owner of Mojave Drums in Meadview, Arizona, says “rhythm is something that all people have inside them.”

And she’s willing to prove it at one of her drum camps, held in the shadow of the Grand Wash Cliffs, near Lake Mead (off U.S. 93 between Las Vegas, Nevada, and Kingman, Arizona).

If you attend (accommodations are tents, RVs or area motels), Loretta will not only teach you how to make a hand-held drum from a gourd, but she and her staff will also guide you and the other campers in playing your creations in a drum circle. Loretta believes that through drums she can “provide an opportunity for people with varied cultural backgrounds to share an experience which has roots common to us all and to see firsthand that people everywhere are much the same.”

Loretta has been a gourd artisan for 10 years, producing intricately carved and painted gourds. In 1999, she expanded her interest to include making and then playing gourd drums. In January 2003, she turned her hobby into a business, launching Mojave Drums, which sells finished drums and gourd-drum kits in addition to hosting its drum camps and retreats.

So go ahead and let your internal rhythm pour forth. Attend one of Loretta’s drum camps and follow the advice in Dobie Gray’s 1973 hit song, “Gimme the beat boys and free my soul / I want to get lost in your rock and roll / And drift away.”


— R.G. Robertson

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