The Drums Called You Here

Driving around on a hot summer Sunday afternoon deep in thought I hear African drums in the air. My destination was an abandoned warehouse, but the rhythmic pattern became louder. My curiosity is driving me in the direction. I remember saying to myself the warehouse isn’t going anywhere I can take me time. On the outskirts of North Trenton in front of a home in a gated yard, two men are playing the drums. I parked across the street, grabbed my camera put out my cigarette and exit my car.

gate outside of front yard

I slowly approach the group of about 5 people that are on the porch. Two people in the front yard playing the drums. One man who was outside the gate dancing. They acknowledge me with a head nod and continue playing the drums. Once they stop I introduce myself “ Peace, my name is Habiyb. Do you mind if I take photos of you”? One of the drummers stood up walked over to the gate and shook my hand. “My name is Abdul come on in young brother” is what he said. I went on to tell him how I was driving around and I heard the drums. He turns to me and tells me in his lowkey soft voice “ the drums called you here”. Abdul tells me how he and a group of friends get together most Sundays and just play the drums. He feels like it’s putting a good vibration and vibe in the air of his neighborhood. A neighbor poked his head out the door speaking loudly to Abdul. Abdul shouts back “man bring your drum out we got the photographer out here”! The neighbor bolts out the house with more drums to play on. I introduce myself to the third drummer, we shake hands while he sits down and gets in position.

Drummer 3 brings his drum outside

They sit back and begin to play the drums together as a unit to that same pattern. I slowly walk around and take candid photos. After about 20 minutes of playing, the pace slows down to a complete stop. I walk around and trade contact information before departing way. The streets have a soundtrack I walk to. Rather it is the music coming out of a passing cars sound system. The sirens from a police car or nearby ambulance or sometimes the drums. Two weeks after meeting Abdul I tore my ACL, MCL, and LCL while out shooting. I’ve been thinking about Abdul and how he has been. Once I’m back on my feet I plan on dropping off a framed print to Abdul. If I ever lose my way to where he is, all I have to do is listen out for the drums.

Abdul Playing the Drums

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