Shamanic Drumming

Shamanic Drumming is Run by Rafael Ayala also known as Rafasemilla. He was born in Colombia and moved to UK in 1994. A community worker and cultural activist until 2010 when he started his medicine journey in the Amazon rainforest, Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta and Montes de Maria in his native Colombia. As community worker he worked in many projects using arts as a tool to empower young people and the most vulnerable in society. Drumming and dancing was his tool to create a safe space for many to gather to learn, share and support each other. His drumming has taken him to different parts of the world and allow him to be part of different music projects.

Next Drumming Circle

Shamanic Drumming- Afro-Colombian Sounds (workshops)

Will explore the magical and ancestral sounds that travelled across the sea, mountains and rivers from Africa to Colombia and all over Latin America and the world . The grief and sorrow of the african made slaves melted with lament of the native americans. Thus, the African drums and Indigenous flutes were forever married to give birth to the Cumbia, Mapale, Puya, Bullerengue and Currulao among other Rhythms. These beautiful sounds that sailed on the waters of time bring us memories of the past, and richness of our heritage.We are seeking to rescue the Shamanic elements in our culture and heritage, creating a space for spiritual expansion & uplifting healing and bonding experience for all.

We are all drummers by nature…..Our heart is the most accurate drum!

We will be connecting to the heart beats, gradually increasing its pace through the drumming journeying and reconnecting to our consciousness.



Workshops will cover drumming, maracas, marimba techniques and also for the first time in the UK participants will learn to play the kuisi bunsi and the kuisi sigi (colombian gaitas).

In our drumming circle you will do:

  • Call and response

  • Search for your natural beat

  • Group drumming interaction

  • Learn hand techniques for the Alegre (Joyful or female drum)

  • Tambora/bombo techniques

  • Maracas/Guasa/guache techniques

  • Gaitas: Female and Male

  • Marimba

and remember not previous experience is needed!!!!


CUMBIA (atlantic coast):

Cumbia is a Colombian music genre popular throughout Hispanic America.

The Cumbia originated in Colombia's Caribbean coastal region, from the musical and cultural fusion of Native Colombians, slaves brought from Africa, and the Spanish during colonial times in the old country of Pocabuy, which is located in Colombia's Momposina Depression.

Cumbia began as a courtship dance practiced among the African population, which was later mixed with European instruments and musical characteristics. Cumbia is very popular in the Andean region and the Southern Cone, and it's still more popular than the salsa in many parts of these regions.

MAPALE & PUYA (Atlantic coast):

The dance was introduced by African slaves brought in ships by the Spanish, the slaves came mainly from Angola. The dance represents an erotic courtship between a male and female couple characterised by its frenetics acts towards each other. The couple dances to a fast rhythm of cumbia music (original from Colombia) also originally of the African slaves brought to Colombia. The movements are based on the Mapale Fish movements when it was out of the water. From Colombia, the Dance spread to the South American and Central American Pacific coastline from Panama all the way down to Peru, including Ecuador.

BULLERENGUE (Atlantic coast):

The Bullerengue, is a music and dance from the Atlantic coast of Colombia and Panama Darien executed by the current descendants of the Maroons that inhabited this region. The word "bullerengue" means maternity pollerón or skirt, where the current survival customs were created. In the black cultural environment, it is defined as a dance of only women, of undoubtedly African ancestry, apparently not attached to customary rituals of Palenque de San Basilio, forming part of the acts of initiation of girls to puberty.The pace is well marked, autonomous, purely African, executed by drums, without any reference to the melody. The young women enter the yard in a row, clapping with their hands up, with a short step, similar to the cumbia and in an upright position. There are several figures, using the skirts, symbolizing the offering of fertility.

CURRULAO (Pacific coast):

The currulao is a folk musical rhythm Colombian indigenous to the Pacific Region . Its origin is closely related to black culture in the region. Currulao The word refers to the word "Cununao" referred to African drums and play an important role in the folklore of the Colombian Pacific Region, thecununos. Also part of the typical dances of Colombia. Patron of the dance is Afro-Colombian communities of the Pacific coast. Introduces features that synthesize the African heritage of slaves brought in colonial mining for advanced work in the river basins of western territory. In implementing the currulao is possible to observe the characteristics of a sacramental rite steeped in ancestral strength and magical content.


A kuisi (or kuizi) is a Native Americanfipple (or duct) flute made from a hollowed cactus stem, with a beeswax and charcoal powder mixture for the head, with a thin quill made from the feather of a large bird for the mouthpiece. Seagull, turkey and eagle feathers are among the feathers commonly used.

There are male and female versions of the kuisi (or gaita, the Spanish for pipe). The female kuisi bunsi (also rendered kuisi abundjí in Spanish) is also commonly known as a gaita hembra in Spanish, and has 5 holes; the male kuisi sigi (or kuisi azigí) is called a gaita macho in Spanish and has two holes.

Players often use wax to close fingerholes and alter the sound of the flute, blocking one or other tone hole on the kuisi sigi, and on the kuisi bunzi either the upper or lower fingerhole so that only four holes are in use at any one time.The change of wax from one fingerhole to another alters the fundamental tone and series of overtones that can be produced. A photograph of the paired flutes of the Cuna Indians of Panama shows that their hembra has only four fingerholes.

Tutorial Videos

Videos to check Out & Practice