debiedjembe drummer

Get yourself a djembe and ride.

About Me Debie Djembe

I took up drumming as physio after a shoulder operation that was a little difficult,  little did I know that drumming and the djembe would become a way of being for me.


on a bunged up arm

Drumming for me is a way of being ok when you are not ok in a world that is often difficult. It is a way of being whole when your body has limitations.

My dominiant arm, I lost the use of my right arm in 2009 when my infraspinatus and rotator-cuff cable completely snapped leaving no residual fibres and an arm that didn’t work. it just hung there, this was due to my immune system working overtime,  a few different diagnoses the last one being Psoriatic Arthritis, Spondylitis, Osteoarthritis, and here I am. Fatigue is a huge bummer on top of the dysfunction this condition gives you. A disc ruptured while drumming a few years ago, I got that feeling of warm water flooding down my spine as im drumming away, brittle bones I guess.  It took me 12 months to get movement in my right arm after the tendons snapped this was achieved by sitting at my djembe placing my right paw on the drum skin with my left hand and willing it to lift, Neuroplasticity in motion, forming new pathways in the brain, and many moons doing this, gave me some movement, and it was tiny, the tiniest amount of lift but I knew id be ok and be able to drum again. After all the operations I still have difficulties drumming, drumming and hitting a bass is a thought process that sometimes doesn’t work, my paws stop at times and there is always pain until the endorphins kick in. I was surprised to discover when the arm was first paralysed that I also lost most of the connection to the left paw so it gets difficult for the finer movements and you cant become left-handed. I still can’t touch my nose or drink coffee with my right/dominant paw and its motion is very limited in lift and strength, it’s had the complete reverse shoulder replacement, a lat dorsi transfer, and a ruptured bicep.

My road to recovery has been a long one with many tears and many times I’ve wanted to give up. But in life when you have family you can’t just leave your mum and sister behind. So here I am a drummer with gumby paws and residual brain damage from dying under anaesthetic.

I love to drum, love my puggyboo, need another puggyboo in my life and love my family. I also love to ride motorcycles, care for joeyboos and build website.

I haven’t been able to ride since my arm was paralysed, but I recently got the urge to try, it took a lot to get to that stage perhaps even people being mean and then thinking why not after seeing Pink on a scout, what can ya lose to try to ride,  and I surprised myself with a sweet ride on an Indian Scout, and I am still smiling, I feel happy when riding, its a bit like drumming. With my drumming, I am appreciative to my teacher Mohamed Bangoura who has given me so much knowledge, rhythms, friendship and djembe techniques, to my brother Sana and all the masters and drummers I’ve learnt from. To my Drumbumba and Zim families who welcomed me with open hearts, the Deep Sea Creatures, Bob Karma, Kim, and those who travel my musical road, much love always.

Drumming truly is good for the spirit and the body.
How others treat you on your life journey is not a reflection of you, get yourself a djembe and ride.
There are lots of good people out there.
Those who struggle with living with disabilities, the mental anguish of I can’t, the physical anguish of it won’t, and then you find another way to do it, and you know exactly what im talking, I take my hat off to you every day