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Million Women Drummers Gathering Global Initiative

PO Box 97 Saugerties, New York 12477 *





Our Mission

To cultivate a "new mindful model" for a sustainable future of Drums and the Trees they are made from through education, information, consciousness raising and Tree planting with live music. To build diverse community networks of local "MWDG Branches" that will engage all those who care about the future of wooden musical instruments and environmental sustainability. To preserve and sustain our drums, wooden instruments and our musical traditions for future generations.


Statement and Purpose

To honor Women's Drumming in celebrations worldwide. Affirming that as women drummers we hold sacred our relationship to Trees and Drums. Inspiring and motivating women's leadership with the cultivation of community projects and events that combine drumming and Tree planting.

To inspiring and initiating new women’s drumming mythologies and traditions while preserving our ancestor’s lineage. Supporting, strengthening and sustaining our local and global women's drumming traditions, the instruments we build and the music we create.


Increase community awareness and sensitivity regarding how Trees are used for making our instruments through education, local and global creative collaborations and partnerships. Exploring creative options in green sustainable technologies for making quality drums and other wooden musical instruments.

Create sustainable community partnerships. Networking with local and international drum and dance groups, environmental organizations, youth and elder programs, businesses, healthcare and wellness centers and with artists and musicians.


The Million Women Drummers Gathering Global Initiative envisioned and initiated by Ubaka Hill in 2007 with advice, guidance and support from the MWDG Advisory Council and community members who care about the future of Trees and Wooden Musical Instruments.

"Yes, Drummers Care About The Future Of Trees"


A Vision of Ubaka Hill ~ Winter Solstice, December 21, 2010

It Is Our Time ~It Is Our Turn ~ It's Our Legacy

The Million Women Drummers Global Initiative is a call to the heart of women drummers, all drummers worldwide for conscious action, appreciation and celebration. Women drummers worldwide know and feel the significance of our sacred integral relationship and alignment with the rhythm, pulse and cycles of life. We are on a continuum of women’s drumming traditions and practices and each of us are at the front of a long line of our women’s drumming lineage. We are the current custodians and authors of our legacies, traditions, legends and mythologies. The preservation of our lineage includes honoring our elders, teachers, mentors, pioneers and visionaries, and documenting and archiving our knowledge of drumming, our instruments and our cultural and musical developments. Tradition and mythologies are alive in the people and adjust through changes of time to meet the needs of the current people and the environment of their time. We are awakening, remembering and illuminating our intrinsic nature of tending and befriending our Earth kin, each other and ourselves. It is our turn to give birth to new traditions, to self authorize, to co-create, to determine and direct the present and future purpose of women's drumming from the sacred to the secular ~ according to us!

We are the visionaries, the wise women drummers, the medicine women and the midwives of our time, which is now. We are the current women drummers, blending the past with authentic new traditions and mythologies according to us. We are the Ancestors who women drummers of the future will seek for guidance, information and direction, as we have done with our own ancestor’s trail. We are “drumming out the rhythms of our ancestor's feet”.

~The Heart of The Matter ~

We are women who love to drum and who love Earth’s Trees. Drums in many cultures are considered the heartbeat of the Mother, the Divine Mother Goddess, Mother of Nature, the Womb, Inner World, Divine Feminine Principals, and often times referred to as “she”. Women’s relationship to music, song, dance rituals and celebrations with drums and other handcrafted instruments are interwoven with the natural environment. There is an instinctual knowing, intelligence and understanding of these inter-relationships, thus informing beliefs, rituals, traditions and mythologies. In the past there was also a context, for example, a reason to drum or dance a certain song. The context was the culture’s experience of the environment and the needs of the people to acknowledge, appreciate and celebrate the nourishment, gifts and blessings of the natural and supernatural worlds. However, in many societies and cultures women were not allowed to continue to drum, to create and interact with the empowering rhythms and resonant frequencies for healing, transformation, and well being of their kin. There are women though who have never stopped drumming during these times, who have maintained a living women’s drumming, dance and song, sacred and secular tradition and who are living in our current time.

Women are the highest percentage of participants in most drumming workshops, attending and participating as serious students of the drum and its music. There is a greater presence of women drummers for girls to witness, experience and model. They will know that they can choose to drum no matter their age, economic class, education or ethnicity. Women and girls are drumming as they are, with all that they are. We now have all women professional and non-professional drum and dance performance groups, drum teachers, drum circles and facilitators, workshops, retreats and international teaching tours for women drummers led by women drummers, women owned retail businesses, authors, crafters, and career professionals; all responding to the upsurge of drumming interest because of the needs of individuals for connection, expansion, community and cultural enrichment. Many are drumming for recreation, transformation, and to just feel better one day at a time. There is an increase in research of the bio-chemical implications and the healing properties of drumming. There are books, videos and CDs about how to drum. There is a particular interest in women’s drumming by graduate students, scholars and women’s mystery schools. We now have the music of women drummers on CDs, DVDs, interviews and in academic papers.

As a result of this upsurge, there has also been great a boost over the past 10-15 years in drum making and manufacturing businesses throughout North America and globally. This means that women’s money has increased economic gain for many manufacturing companies of drums, percussion instruments and accessories that are not woman-created or woman owned, but profit the most from woman and girl/child consumers. This is happening simultaneously wherever women are drumming in the world.

~ Drums Are Our Earth’s Trees ~

Ancient peoples frequently represented the Tree as the female personification of Nature, who under various names and different attributes embodied the concepts of life, fecundity, and of universal restoration. Trees have always held a sacred and important place in many of the world's mythologies, religions and in goddess traditions and cultures. Trees also have many folkloric and literary associations, and as a symbol have different interpretations in different cultures and at different times. The Tree is also known as the Tree of the Universe, Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge and the World Tree. The World Tree that embodies the concept of the Universe is in most traditional cultures. For example, World Trees are a prevalent motif occurring in the mythical cosmologies of the pre-Columbian cultures. Shamans and medicine people experience the Tree as a pathway to other worlds.

Some of the many references to trees are "wood of life", the food of the people, the Goddess herself, and the elixir of life. Allat, is one of the three Goddesses in ancient Saudi Arabia. The valley of Wajj was considered sacred to her where Trees were not allowed to be cut. There is the Yggdrasil of the Norse Mythology, the Christmas Tree that is derived from Germanic mythology, the Tree of Knowledge of Judaism and Christianity, the Bodhi Tree in Buddhism, the Tree of Life, the Tree Goddess of Egypt, the Stretching Tree of Hawaii, and Celtic Runes. The massive Oak Tree is sacred to the Celtic/Irish tradition. In many cultures, Trees are said to be the homes of Ancestor Spirits, Sprites and Fairies. Haitians have a special spirit of the Tree and forests - Gran Bois who is always called to a ceremony to give his approval when new drums are made or being 'coucher'. The Vedas make mention of the Tree whose foot is the earth, and whose summit is heaven. Recently the movie Avatar, gave mainstream culture a giant Willow-like Tree that is of extreme spiritual significance and importance to the survival of the indigenous people and life on their fictional planet. The power of communicating and of renewing life has also been attributed to Trees. Medicine women, wild crafters and herbalists have maintained knowledge and wisdom of the medicine and teachings of the Tree and Plant nations. Trees contribute their very essence to create shelter, furniture and hundreds of useful objects that enhance our lives.

~ A Global Drum Call To Conscious Action ~

Most folkloric drums and percussion instruments in the world today are still made of wood. We are sometimes disconnected from the fact that this wood is and was a living Tree. Some instruments are made with more than one Tree as in slated drums versus one single Tree trunk. The increase of hand drummers over the past 20 years has also increased the amount of living Trees being cut to make drums for commercial profit. This includes all the wooden drums and instruments that are played by professionals and drum circle drummers alike. Some sacred traditions of tree selection have been lost due to the immediate need of poor and impoverished ethnic villages and communities. Some of our Earth’s Trees are registered as endangered; some forests and woods are over harvested and landscapes are sprayed with toxic chemicals or destroyed by careless or intentional fires. Uganda has recently banned the cutting of their endangered Trees that have been used to make their royal drums for generations.

The Trees most used for making drums and instruments are hard woods such as Maple, Ash, Oak, Rosewood, Teak, Mahogany, Walnut and Cherry. There are a number of indigenous Trees used to make drums and other musical instruments from Central and South America, Siberia, Alaska, Europe, Asia, the South Pacific and Africa. In West Africa, the Lenke Tree, considered rare, is the preferred Tree of master djembe drummers. Thousands of ethnic drums and other wooden instruments have and are still entering the US and western countries from sacred forests, farm lands and old growth woodlands, which represent millions of cut living Trees.

We have become more aware of the importance of Trees in regard to the health of our natural environment and of our mind/body environment. Living with living Trees, we breathe better, feel better, and we live better with all creations. We see increased campaigns for environmental awareness and businesses going “green”. There are many local, national and global campaigns that include replacing the Earth’s Trees as a direct response to deteriorating and unhealthy environments. The first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize is Wangari Maathai because she inspired her villagers to plant over 3,000 Trees in her home country of Kenya in direct response to devastating commercial deforestation. In addition, a recent study in Oregon explores the sociological relationship between Trees and neighborhood crime. According to the findings, streets lined with big Trees are likely to see lower crime rates. San Francisco, CA is also studying the relationship between Trees and social behaviors in inner city neighborhoods.

People who drum are benefiting from the cut Trees that have become drums. Drumming is now included in school programs, hospitals and geriatric care, team building and mental, emotional health and physical mobility therapies because of the positive benefits that rhythmic drumming has on brain wave activity. Because of all the benefits we all receive from Trees; drummers, crafters, manufacturers, corporations and musicians have a direct responsibility to the sustainability of Earth’s Trees by appreciating, nurturing and replacing them to insure a future with living Trees.

One Drum ~ One Tree

One drummer who has one drum can plant one Tree! The Million Women Drummers Gathering Global Initiative is a conscious call to heal the heart of our nations with a resonant balm of Love, and to replenish the Earth’s Trees. This is a call to take responsible action for co-creating a healthy reciprocal balance with nature. We are gathering together to make ready the ground of the women drummers and the path of all drummers from the sacred to the secular, cultivating and reconnecting with our intrinsic nature in alignment with a new paradigm of expanded conscious awareness. The best reasons to plant one Tree are simple- to express our gratitude for Earth’s Trees and to actively participate in the sustainability of our natural environment,, to create drums for the future of our women’s drumming traditions worldwide.

The Earth’s Trees and animals are gifts to us. The drum is the sound of the power of a single woman’s voice joined in a unified voice for balance, equality, healing, transformation and peace, in the name of love of all our relations and our future. Wherever we are in the world of rhythm, our sacred synergistic pulse of life is the heart connection to all humanity, to our Beloved Planet Earth and her Sacred Trees, now and deep into the future.

It Is Our Time ~ It Is Our Turn ~ This Is Our Legacy

Million Women Drummers Gathering Global Initiative

Ubaka Hill ~ New York
© 10/31/2010 ~ Uploaded to Website on 12/21/2010


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