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How the World Connects Through Rhythm – Arthur Hull [Podcast]

drumming Nov 01, 2021

SHOW LINKS:

Arthur’s Biography: 
https://villagemusiccircles.com/about-vmc/about-arthur-hull/

Village Music circles: 
https://villagemusiccircles.com

Village Music Global: 
https://www.villagemusiccirclesglobal.com

Drum Circle Facilitators Guild:
https://www.dcfg.net/

Rhythm Research and Resources:
https://www.rhythmresearchresources.net/

What's it like to experience your first group drumming experience, or "drum circle"? 

Today I talk with award winning rhythm ambassador, author, and music facilitator Arthur Hull. Arthur travels the world inspiring community building and self development through drumming. His Village Music Circles program now has 35 certified facilitators working in 22 countries.

We discuss why rhythm is able to connect so many people and what's exactly happening in a group drumming experience. Why's it so easy for anyone to get the health benefits?

Arthur explains what led him on his mission to connect people through music and he reveals the one thing that happens at drum circles that can be a breakthrough transformative experience. 

 

Highlights:

6:42: What IS a drum circle?

14:07: Why Arthur has dedicated his life connecting people with rhythm 

18:27: How group drumming breaks unhelpful social norms, like perfection

23.02: The brain benefits of drumming

26:38: How rhythm helped a woman with Parkinson’s disease

28:20: A profound story of rhythmic “release and healing” for an 80-year-old woman in a German circus tent.

36:57: What inspired Arthur to facilitate a drum circle before leaving for Vietnam.

49:30: How Arthur’s participants “taught” him to become a better facilitator

52:30: Arthur Hull on his legendary teacher/mentor from Nigeria, Babatunde Olatunji.

1:00:10: How Arthur has ensured a legacy for community drumming by training a worldwide network of facilitators.

1:10:50: The surprising reason Arthur has a massive ball of string.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Jim Donovan:

Hey there. This is Jim Donovan. Welcome to the show. I am so glad you’re here. Today, we have a very special guest. He’s a good friend of mine. His name is Arthur Hull. Arthur is a worldwide rhythm ambassador. This guy has been teaching people how to lead drum circles for decades. He has been in Asia, over 34 countries, Europe, North America, South America. He is really the preeminent voice for the drum circle movement for the last several decades. I’m really pleased to have him here. He’s also been written up in Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. And today we have him here on the show. It’s a great conversation. I can’t wait for you to hear it. And let’s get started.

ARTHUR HULL:

And we do this deep-listening process where everybody’s playing a trance groove but by the end of the sixth-day program, we’ve had six late nights or five late night program. So, they know about trance groove. They’re not going anywhere. And somebody listens to where they’re sitting in the chair. And then they put their drum off to the side. Everyone else keeps drumming. They listen again as they slowly stand up and hear the difference between what it sounds like when you’re sitting in your chair, when you’re standing, and then they step one at a time slowly listening to the circle as it changes–

Jim Donovan:

Wow!

ARTHUR HULL:

… until they get to the middle. Then they face their empty chair, close their eyes and figured out whatever strategy they need to figure out to where they fit in that circle. And then with their eyes closed, they turned around once. Sometimes they’re turning around three times and they think it’s only once.

Jim Donovan:

Like that?

:

With their eyes closed. And with their eyes closed, they find the empty chair.

Jim Donovan:

Whoa!

ARTHUR HULL:

Then with their eyes closed, they point to the empty chair. And then they open their eyes and find out that they’re pointing somewhere else. The objective is not to hit the target, the object is to do the exercise for deep listening–

Jim Donovan:

Now, did you think about it on the airplane or something?

ARTHUR HULL:

That’d be nice. And so at the end of the process, we just put our drums down and sit there for two to three minutes because we’ve been playing for 45 minutes stress drum without being facilitated, right?

Jim Donovan:

Right.

ARTHUR HULL:

And it’s a great meditation and at the same time it’s a great learning process, and then we start talking about what the experience was for us.

Jim Donovan:

I love that. I love that.

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah. Okay, hi.

Jim Donovan:

Hey, it’s so good to see you. How’s things been? Are you in Santa Cruz?

ARTHUR HULL:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Jim Donovan:

Okay.

ARTHUR HULL:

Yup. In other words, we’re safe.

ARTHUR HULL:

We’ve had a hundred or so cases and three or four people passed away. But down south in Monterey, the party city, there’s 500 cases and so on and so forth. I am old. I’m obese. I have a part of a lung missing–

Jim Donovan:

Oh, my.

ARTHUR HULL:

… from my–

Jim Donovan:

I remember that, yeah.

ARTHUR HULL:

… military days. And so I’m a target. So, Diana does not let me go out. I’ve got a wonderful compound. And I’ve got a community to work with via the Zoom and everything else. We have our international meetings on Mondays. And I got plenty of Legos.

Jim Donovan:

I hear that you like the Legos, that is awesome. We’ll talk about that.

ARTHUR HULL:

And I’ve rebuilt my pond for the eighth time. So this is pond number eight. And the coy are happy and so am I. So, yeah, I’m in good stead. Everything is fine. Getting off the road actually is after 30 years, okay, is wonderful. And I’m not feeling… “I’ve got cabin fever.” I’ve got so much work to do. But I’ve run out of excuses about writing the next book kind of thing, right?

Jim Donovan:

Right. I knew that you would be putting your time to good use. And I haven’t traveled overseas as much as you have, but I get the being out of the vehicles, being out of the highway and just like really sinking in to the home vibe. It’s definitely a transition from “bzzzzzzz” to like “whoa!” I like it too. I like it too. I wish it wasn’t under these circumstances, yeah.

ARTHUR HULL:

And how are you doing?

Jim Donovan:

I’m doing well. Everybody’s healthy, that’s the first thing. I’m healthy. And like you, I’m finding different ways to do the work I do. And I really miss playing live music, that’s been a bigger sadness. But I was able to get together with my guys last week outside in a big socially distant circle and we actually played a little bit and that felt good. So, I’m very fortunate. I don’t have anything to complain about.

ARTHUR HULL:

Right. A lot of our drum circle facilitator community are experimenting with social distancing drum circles and coming up with different ideas that do work, so cool.

Jim Donovan:

Yeah. It’s good stuff and you know a lot of the people that will listen on the podcast. So we now have, this is our first Zoom video that I’m doing for our podcast, so this will be on YouTube, which I’m stoked about. And then the people that listen on the podcast, on Spotify, in Stitcher, and all those places… They’re going to be listening in it and a lot of them, I think, maybe have never been to a drum circle before. I haven’t talked about it on the show yet and I wanted you to be the first.

And so, for someone who’s never been, could you just talk about what the heck is a drum circle and why might somebody want to attend?

ARTHUR HULL:

Absolutely. Is the interview started now?

Jim Donovan:

It can, yeah.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay, I’m ready.

Jim Donovan:

I figured you’re just ready to go?

ARTHUR HULL:

My God! For someone first walking into a drum circle situation is in some ways probably awe-inspiring…  It’s a whole different kind of environment. And other ways scary and intimidating at first, depending on the kind of circle. And the word, “drum circle,” okay, has a lot of different breakdowns and connotations. In the old days, not so old, “drum circle” meant hippies in the park smoking dope and you got to go through that sometimes.

Jim Donovan:

[raises hand] Not the dope part, just in the park.

ARTHUR HULL:

Just in the park, okay. And free form, we could call them free-form anarchist drum circles. People get together and they jam out whatever they got and the rhythm goes until it falls apart, and then it starts up again. And, “Hey man, that was cool, let’s do another one.”

Then there’s culturally specific drum circles, which means, usually you’re not invited unless you know something about that culture, Afro-Cuban drum circles in Berklee… African-oriented, West-African djembe kind of stuff…

Now you got to walk in with some knowledge about culturally specific rhythms, and about playing parts and holding on to that part to create a musical representation of a particular culturally specific rhythm that’s connected to a song, that’s connected to a dance, that’s connected to an activity. Because you don’t drum unless you dance, and you don’t dance unless you drum, or you don’t dance and drum unless you sing. And usually the rhythms from Africa have a purpose.

Jim Donovan:

Yeah, and they’re old. They’re very old too.

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah, very old. Harvesting, planting, flirting, making babies, having babies. Hopefully in that order, maybe marriage should be in the middle.

Jim Donovan:

Somewhere.

ARTHUR HULL:

Marriage ceremonies and that kind of stuff. And it doesn’t just pertain to Africa, it pertains to lots of difficult cultures, rhythmic cultures I call them, all over the world where–

Jim Donovan:

I like that.

ARTHUR HULL:

… rhythm is just a part of everyday life. You don’t just go to “rhythm church” on Sunday, okay?

Jim Donovan:

Right.

ARTHUR HULL:

But the kind of circles that I’m involved with normally is the facilitated kind, so that there’s someone who’s advertising and putting this event on and they are helping to facilitate the connection of the rhythms. And that to me is the safest circle. The safest circle is a family-friendly community drum circle that’s facilitated. So, if you walk into it, it looks like everybody’s doing their thing and that’s exactly what they’re doing. And the facilitators helping facilitate that connection, the deeper listening.

And in some ways through experiential training that you don’t necessarily recognize or realize, they’re showing you how to listen to each other, how to collaborate, how to cooperate. They’re bringing the volume down so you can listen. They’re asking certain sections. They’re showcasing certain individuals and asking everyone to stop and listen to the connection of the song of maybe all the low drums.

So now you hear the low drum song amongst all the other “noise” and you go, “Ooh,” right? And then he brings everybody—or she—brings everybody back into the music. And you’ll never not hear the low drums again. So you’re being educated. So, good facilitators teach without teaching. And so now, a beginning beginner comes in and sits down at a drum circle, it doesn’t matter what they’re playing.

Eventually, if it’s a facilitated drum circle, they’re going to be introduced to all the different sections… low drums, medium drums. “All the percussions, keep on playing. All the drummers, stop!” And you go, “Whoa, I didn’t hear that before!” And then they bring all the drummers back in, you go, “Whoa!” And all of a sudden, “Hmm… there is spice in the food.”

Jim Donovan:

Yeah. It’s like they’re getting an ear training but it’s not. We don’t call it an ear training, we’re just playing.

ARTHUR HULL:

Right. And you find out that you can’t make a mistake. And in fact, if you do make a mistake and it sounds good, please repeat it.

Jim Donovan:

Exactly.

ARTHUR HULL:

And that you could stop and scratch, you get up, go to the bathroom, come on back, it’s not a performance and you don’t get judged. And everyone wants you to collaborate with what rhythmical spirit you have regardless of your rhythmical expertise, or musical. So if it’s only one note, you’re going [drum mimicking], that’s good enough. And in fact, that’s perfect. Less is more in a drum circle.

Jim Donovan:

Yeah, and–

ARTHUR HULL:

And that’s here in between the notes.

Jim Donovan:

Absolutely. And one of, I think, the most important parts that I’ve found is that idea of that it’s fail-proof. Where you come in, you can be yourself, and it’s okay if you mess up. I’m sure you’ve encountered this too. But the people that come tend to, the newbies, especially tend to be a little shy, sometimes anxiety ridden about being perfect. As a classically trained musician, that’s what was ingrained to me, either it’s perfect or it’s not good enough, and it’s wrong. And there’s a lot of that in our culture.

ARTHUR HULL:

And a beginning beginner walks in and thinks that they have to perform and that they will be judged. I’ve got a write-up—I’ll send it to you—and it’s the unwritten laws of drum circles, right? All the kinds of things that is normal, interactive, socializing in a drum circle that you would do. And then it gets to the place where it’s talking to the hot-shot drummers going, “Yeah, short blast of grace and beauty are wonderfully accepted, but leave space for other soloists as well.” That kind of stuff. How to listen as much as you play, all those other kinds of things. But what I’ve added to that is a short list of suggestions for beginning beginners.

Jim Donovan:

Love it. Love it–

ARTHUR HULL:

So, I’ll send that to you.

Jim Donovan:

Please do.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay.

Jim Donovan:

You’ve dedicated so much of your life to the community drum circle. I see that word “community” in everything that you do. What is it that is so important about connecting people? Why is that so important to you that you’ve dedicated a large part of your life to making that happen?

ARTHUR HULL:

It gets down to the basics that this is a way to connect with community. And it’s also a way to connect community. It’s a way to build community. And it also brings you to the now. So, number one, it’s a meditation because what you’re playing is appropriate for that moment. And then the next moment, the rhythm goes through its changes because everyone else is going through their changes and now it forces you to be here, now, in that next beat, that next moment.

To respond to and listen to and get that connection that goes beyond, “Oh, hi, hello, how are you doing, nice to meet you,” kind of stuff down to the essence of sharing your rhythmical spirit. And your rhythmical spirit comes from a place in you that is as old as you are, okay?

Jim Donovan:

Yeah. I like that.

ARTHUR HULL:

For a lot of people who first encounter a drum circle, it just washes away all of the social training that they’ve been given that stops them from being able to express themselves. It’s like “women should be seen, not heard.” Okay. Or “you have to be a musician to be able to contribute to an ensemble kind of thing like this.” No. Okay, all of these other things.

So it gets into the place where they can start doing what they did as a small child. And if you look at small children, who are toddlers, who haven’t been socially trained yet… “Grow up and act your age”—I’ve heard that—and I’ve also heard, “But I am acting my age!”

There’s a natural rhythmical exploration of the world, from self to the world, that they come up with their own little songs and they don’t even know their songs, they haven’t even called them songs yet. And they’re doing their little dance and they get a wooden spoon and all of a sudden everything is an instrument, right?

Jim Donovan:

Yeah.

ARTHUR HULL:

And to bring that fierce innocence into a drum circle at the age of 20, 30, 40, 80, doesn’t matter, and to get to that place where it’s an ageless thing where you become part of something that’s bigger than you. And in that bigness, there is beauty and grace and music.

Music? Music in a drum circle? How could that be? Is this just supposed to be noisy fun? Yes. Okay, but within the noise, when there is connection, the quality of the music that’s being created in that connection has nothing to do with the rhythmical or musical expertise of the player.

The quality of that music has everything to do with the quality of connection that those players are making. It doesn’t matter if there’s a beginning beginner person in a drum circle event… You don’t know that and you don’t have to know that. You’ve got a facilitator who’s coming in because the rhythm is being disconnected because some egos are getting in the way or disconnecting because there’s a disconnection and helping reconnect the group back into collaboration.

Jim Donovan:

So, really, what you’re doing and what you’ve been doing for many years is breaking some of the norms that in some ways aren’t helpful. Like the norms of perfection or the thought that I should be perfect or the “be seen, not heard” or “act your age.” Those things that we have come to believe are the right thing in some ways really limit us especially in terms of feeling free enough to express and to get the benefit of that expression.

ARTHUR HULL:

The right things in the right places, but not in this place. And so, all of a sudden, you’re given an environment where judgment is thrown out and experimentation is encouraged, failure is encouraged.

So, there’s a Japanese word called wabi-sabi. And we could spend a whole program on just the definition of what that is, but “it’s perfect in its imperfection” is one point of view to look at this.

In America, everything has to be chrome and shiny and perfect. And all the lines meet perfect and all the designs and so on and so forth. And there’s this element of nature that gets taken out of perfection.

And within an in-the-moment music drum circle, imperfections is what helps create the expression and expansion of musical exploration and connection.

Jim Donovan:

Right. And it’s wild because–

ARTHUR HULL:

Oh, if somebody write that down, that was good.

Jim Donovan:

No, we got it. It will be in a transcript.

ARTHUR HULL:

Oh, okay.

Jim Donovan:

And what you’re talking about, judgment and failure. In all the students I worked with throughout the years, younger people and older people too and everybody in the middle, those are like top two biggest fears that I’m going to be humiliated somehow, that’s I’m going to not be good enough somehow. And so, if I think there’s a chance of that, forget it, I’m not going to do that, which is… it’s very sad.

ARTHUR HULL:

That mindset. You walk in, “Okay, I’m going to do it, but I’ve got that mindset.”

Okay, so there’s this. So I taught at the UCSC, University of California, for 16 years. And I taught village music on the hill overlooking beautiful Santa Cruz.

Jim Donovan:

I would have taken that class.

ARTHUR HULL:

My favorite class in the world. If I ever retire, that’s where I’m going back to.

And the students are students and they’ve gone through the school system and now they’re in college. And now they see this guy on the hill who’s doing a fun drum class kind of thing. And so they come up with that mindset of, “I’m a student, you’re the professor, okay, here we go. And I’m going to do my best to learn and so on and so forth.”

And, yeah, I’m teaching culturally specific rhythms but I’m actually teaching the universal principles of hand drumming by using some of these rhythms with those universal principles—like the clave built into it, and upbeats and down beats, and shuffles, and all that other stuff. And this is what it ends up like, it looks and feels like so on and so forth. So, at the beginning of every class, I make them jam. Just jam out, mingle. Do what?

Jim Donovan:

“Write it on the board!”

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, we don’t have a board, we’ve got an oak tree that we’re underneath. And then we do all the study that we need to do and culturally specific and starting to learn how to play clave and then put the clave on the drum and turn it into a rhythm and so on and so forth. And then at the end, I washed it all away by having them jam again.

Jim Donovan:

I like that.

ARTHUR HULL:

And so slowly but surely they understand that there’s this… it’s personal expression aspect of it that’s not built in to the culturally specific aspects of it. And you can get relaxed and merge the two together.

Jim Donovan:

Yeah, that’s beautiful. And so, when people do this, people that are drumming regularly—you and I know because we do it—but what kinds of things health-wise might had helped them with? What have you seen?

ARTHUR HULL:

I am 73 years old and I still have a brain.

Jim Donovan:

Yeah, you do.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay. And I attribute a lot of that just to the acuity of paying attention to the minutiae of the details in a drum circle, and being able to be a participant. “What have I got to contribute to this moment at this time?”

And so, it is a meditation that helps fine tune and take the “fuzziness” out of your attention span and your focus. “What’s important? Where is this music going? And what can I contribute to that direction of that particular force?” So, there’s a certain aspect of…

Jim Donovan:

It’s higher-level thinking. It’s critical thinking, in-the-moment critical thinking. That’s it.

ARTHUR HULL:

And that’s just one aspect to this. Listen, here’s my recommendation. Ask Christine Stevens.

Jim Donovan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). I’ll do that.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay. I mean, you can spend on that question alone the whole interview, okay?

Jim Donovan:

Great.

ARTHUR HULL:

And in regards to the aspects of, you come in off the street, you’ve had your day and now you’re participating in a drum circle. And you come to this experience and you’re not sitting in an audience being entertained. It’s not a movie. There isn’t a band onstage. You are part of the band. And there’s no written music passed down to you, okay? You are writing that music with the collaboration of everybody else in the moment. So, it’s asking all of who you are to be all of who you are in that moment.

What happens is, if you had a fight with your girlfriend, you’re worried about the rent, you’ve had a particular problem that you haven’t been able to solve at work, or there’s some emotional contextual], or nearly gotten into an accident coming to the drum circle. It’s like, “Ehhh!” and you the “Ehhh!” in your life. And you bring it to the drum circle and your drum it up, it’s gone.

And all of a sudden, your life, regardless of who you are and what was going on before, has improved a little bit on some level.

Now, if you want to go to the really, really deep stuff, talk to any drum circle facilitator and they will give you a handful of stories that will make them cry while they’re telling you it and make you cry while you’re listening to it. You go, “In a drum circle?! Really?” And all of them are different. But you go to… you understand tithing? Give 10% back to the church–

Jim Donovan:

Tithing, yes.

ARTHUR HULL:

… in your life?

Jim Donovan:

Yes.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay. Well, as an ex-retired Mormon, thank God, my tithing goes back to the church rhythm. So I find myself doing an orphanage in Mumbai or a Parkinson’s disease center, my favorite one is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Or a special needs—they call it “for spastic children” school in Taipei.

There’s a lady who just passed away that I saw at the Parkinson’s Disease Center in Kuala Lumpur when I would do my tithing drum circle there. And full-on Parkinson’s, full-on, you just couldn’t hardly hang on to the mallet and the hand drum that she had. And then I go, “One, two, let’s all play.”

Jim Donovan:

And she’s in?

ARTHUR HULL:

She’s in, she’s in, it’s gone. Whatever is stopping her mind from connecting to her body to be able to control her body, it’s gone.

And then the minute I stop and I start talking, okay, she’s going! She helps me not talk so much in my own drum circles because I just love watching her be fully present. Now, what kind of technical aspect of medical research that’s been done around that? I have no idea and I don’t think there has been any. But we all have those antidotal experiences.

Jim Donovan:

Nice.

ARTHUR HULL:

Here’s the one that I know and I’ll do a shorter version of it. I’m in Kassel, Germany in the middle of Germany doing a drum circle for 300 people in the middle of this town in Germany which has a full-on drum circle community, a drum circle facilitator, so on and so forth. And we’re in a circus tent that’s on Monday night that’s in the park near the river. And I love the old German circus sense because you walk up the steps to the entrance of the tent and then it’s just a ring of seats going down and down and down the down.

Jim Donovan:

Perfect.

ARTHUR HULL:

Perfect drum circle, right?

Jim Donovan:

Yeah, nice.

ARTHUR HULL:

And so, I’m in the middle of a drum circle. We’ve already done drum call, connected everybody together, started moving into exploring and developing different rhythms with the group itself and dancing on the edge of chaos, which is so wonderful. And there she is. She appears at the entrance and she’s clutching a doumbek in her hand and she’s wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and she’s 80-years-old.

Jim Donovan:

Wow!

ARTHUR HULL:

And going, “What the hell?” And the only seat that’s available is my seat down at the first circle, okay? And so I bring her down and I put her in the seat, not sure how to play the drum a little bit, and I continued to facilitate the event. As the event progresses, I looked over and she is just washing away her mascara with her tears.

Jim Donovan:

Wow!

ARTHUR HULL:

Now, it’s not California so I can’t go, “Oh, honey, do you need a hug?” No, you don’t do that. That’s Germany, hah!

Jim Donovan:

Germany, it would be different, yeah.

ARTHUR HULL:

And she smiles and I looked at her and I kind of raised my hand, “You okay?” kind of thing in body language between. She just waves me away and continues to play and smile, and still continues to cry.

Now, that’s a story. I know that that’s a story. And I don’t know if I’m going to get that story or not because we know we don’t always get all of the stories that we do as when we’re facilitating these events.

And so, we have the drum circle, it was fantastic. She disappears in the crowd.

I’m outside the entrance of the temp saying, “Thank you for coming to Rhythm Church. I hope you enjoyed the sermon.” And I’ve got a line of people waiting for me to sign their, whenever, that kind of stuff. And for them to give me stories.

And here she is, out in the woods next to the river. And she’s holding the hand of a young man who I know, who’s a drum circle enthusiast who speaks English and I go, “I’m going to get that story.” And she’s waiting for everybody to get out of the way so she can tell me that story in private.

Jim Donovan:

Wow!

ARTHUR HULL:

That’s what happens. And here’s the story. Not even 20 maybe, early 20s. She married her childhood sweetheart. He goes off to the Eastern Front, Germany, World War II, dies.

She becomes a widow before she turns 20 and stayed a widow that evening, that night… 80 years old, always wearing black, living downtown in her apartment.

And she said, and this is what really got me, was that she felt the drum circle in the park before she heard it. And then she opened up her window and looked out into the park and saw that there was a circus tent and that’s where that was emanating.

She was curious. It drew her to it. And so she ends up at the entrance of the tent. And like a good German, my assistant shoved a drum in her chest and shoved her into the circle, and there she was, and she sat down and played.

During the playing, she got in touch with that place that wouldn’t let go of her boyfriend, her husband. Couldn’t let him go and so she remained a widow because of that, in mourning. And she created her own little ceremony and she drummed him away saying goodbye to him, okay.


And while she’s telling me the story, I mean, she’s bright, brilliant, beautiful. She was a little old lady— looking up with a bright, beautiful, brilliant blue eyes and talking so fast that the translator, a college kid, had to slow her down. And she was telling the story, this amazing story, about how the vibration of the circle reached into the hard place, made it soft so that she could say goodbye finally to her lost lover.

And I could guarantee you that she woke up the next day and went, “What’s all this black stuff? I should go downtown and buy some clothes.”

And I could guarantee you because the next year when I did that drum circle again, she was there… all dressed up, all kinds of pretty, at 81 years old, okay.

So here is that story behind that story. The vibration created by the community drum circle bypasses everything.

It’s like water seeking its mother, the ocean. And it goes around any blockage to the place that needs that vibration the most. If it’s a broken heart, if it’s a broken body, if it’s a broken mind\— it doesn’t matter. And it’ll go to that place and massage it and relax it. It made it heal it.

I’m not going to write up a prescription for you if you’ve broken your arm to go to a drum circle to get it healed, okay? And we have to be very careful about the use of the word “healing” and drumming in relationship to how about music therapists, okay. They have to be very careful about the use of word drumming and “healing” and yet, now, drumming is a part of their process and their protocol.

And so it goes to that place, the place in the heart and the place in the body, wherever it is, and massages it into softness. It’s a healing process regardless of how you define what healing is, and just makes the world a better place and makes it more accessible.

Jim Donovan:

Yeah. I mean, isn’t that what music has been doing for humanity for as long as we have record of it?

ARTHUR HULL:

Ding! And drumming is an extension of that.

And for a beginning beginner walking into a drum circle, they may not hear the music first. They might just hear loud, joyful noise. But the combination of low drums, medium drums, high drums and the different kinds of timbres and the bells and the shakers, and the woods, especially once they’re pointed out and showcased by the drum circle facilitator—teaching without teaching, okay—all of a sudden they start to hear the interaction of the different timbres and pitches and dynamics and start becoming a musician.

It doesn’t mean that at the end of the drum circle that they can go audition for a band, but there’s a certain sensibility of understanding what you’re contributing to, as you’re expressing your rhythmical spirit and sharing with everybody else.

We’ll never get around to your holistic questions but it doesn’t matter.

Jim Donovan:

Oh, we’re already in them, man. It’s great! This is great, great, great, great!

I think that one of the things I admire the most about you is that you decided somehow to make a system where a lot of people could help break those unhelpful ideas about expression and perfectionism and failure…

Like the system that you built over decades, it is magnificent and brilliant and it has touched hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people.

What I’m wondering is what prompted you to create this? Like, what prompted you to start leading drum circles?

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay. So first of all, Jim Donovan, thank you for that lovely compliment, okay?

Jim Donovan:

I mean it.

ARTHUR HULL:

I’ll pretend it’s true, but in actuality, the system was built around me. I was a young, a passionate egotistical fart, okay. That’s it. That’s the nice name for the word, “asshole.” And I had my passion, that’s all I had. It was all about my passion. I didn’t care about the rest of the world. Okay.

My first xylophone was the wooden steps down to the basement. And I knew I finally figured out that I really was crazy because when I flipped and slipped on my brand new church shoes that I was using to play the xylophone because the notes were lower at the high end of the steps and higher at the low end of the steps. And I was hopping around the steps to play the xylophone, and slipped.

I found out that in ecstasy of pain and ecstasy of music that my elbow hitting the steps and my forehand hitting the steps sounded better than my shoes, okay. That’s my first xylophone. At the bottom of the basement is this huge, enormous sheet metal furnace just covered in metal to protect me from being burnt up and it just had so many wonderful sounds. You hit it and the size of the big side would rumble the whole basement, okay. And that was my first musical instrument.

My first teacher was a mockingbird who would come to the willow tree in our backyard and sing when I got home for lunch from school—which is only a couple blocks away—until I learned his song and started singing them back, and he flew away. And I got upset.

My dad told me, well, that’s what mockingbirds do, they sing their territory and they’re challenging other mockingbirds. And I was really sad that I scared my teacher away because he taught me all these [bird chirps] great little things. And I sat underneath the tree eating lunch without him for a week. And he came back.

And when he came back, he practiced. And he added [bird chirps] onto his other songs, okay? And he was looking for the guy who chased him away from his territory with his new songs, okay? So that passion that I had, I took into the world and found out I didn’t fit. Especially in Utah, in the Mormon society where they wouldn’t let me twist with Chubby Checker.

Jim Donovan:

Oh, sorry.

ARTHUR HULL:

Too much lower bottom movement.

Jim Donovan:

Keep it all right up here. [points to upper chest]

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah, yeah, right, right. So, rhythm has been my passion all my life before I knew it was rhythm, and music has been my passion all my life before I knew it was rhythm.

And so, here I’m in the military getting ready to go to Vietnam and taking my breaks in San Francisco and going to two places: Hippie Hill, right outside the panhandle overlooking the park, to play with the Hippie thunder drummers. And no offense intended, they were hippies, and they were thunder drummers, and they were proud of that terminology. Now, it’s a curse word, okay.

And at the same time, I was taking lessons from culturally specific Afro-Cuban drummers in the streets of San Francisco. And so, I was actually playing with two sides of the same coin. Where one side of the coin is you’re running all these aspects of how to listen to cooperate, collaborate and make music together with drumming, and playing parts that fit with other parts that fit within the timbres and the pitches of a drum circle that represented the musical culture from lots of different places, not just Africa or Afro-Cuba, okay?

And then, there were all these rules around how to be able to do this and a lot of them were music training rules, right? How to use your notes to make space for other people, okay, within the context of a defined pattern, a group of patterns that made a song that had a name, that had a history, that had a purpose, and had a culture.

The other side, you go to Hippie Hill and it’s like, “Hey, man, just let it all hang out.” “Rules?! We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!” And there’s all this free form expression that was amazing and the magic, what happened?

And then they would just fall apart. And then we all go, “Hey, man, that was cool. Let’s do it again.” And we would do it again until it would fall apart, and it always fell apart. And not always would there be magic, it was playing on the edge of chaos.

There was something in between the two that would happen. And I was 18 years old, getting ready to go to war, and these were one of the last circles I was going to do before I’ve suited up with my guns and stuff. And I just got mad because I was a young, angry man. And I got in the middle of a circle that was starting to fall apart at the Hippie Hippy Hill thunder drummer circle.

And because it was only two or three people who weren’t listening to us that was creating the disconnect and we were into some beautiful music. And I walked in the middle of the circle and I pounded my fist into my palm of my hand going, “HERE is the goddamn beat, dammit! Just listen to that.” And so, that was my first facilitation. It’s like the beginning of the movie where they throw the bone into the air and you discover that it’s a tool, okay. And I–

Jim Donovan:

Was preference caveman. Let’s high five on that, that’s all.

ARTHUR HULL:

Boom! And I sit down as the angry young man and that was the first time that this disconnected rhythm within that reconnected itself for an extensive period of time and I didn’t have to do anything. I’ll have to just pound my fist, here’s the bolt, dammit. And it was all done and it was the first time I actually heard an actual fade out to nothing rather than just a fumble bumble. That’s what we call “crash, burn and die” rhythm. And the guy next to me went, “Hey, that was pretty cool. Next time, use a cowbell.” I went, and that was the beginning of my career, but I didn’t really know what I was doing.

I didn’t even really know why I was doing it. And slowly but surely I started facilitating drum circles when there was an opportunity and when it was appropriate. From that, I found all the universal aspects of conducting, applied, but within a context of in the moment music where there was you had to allow for emergence to happen. And it wasn’t until in my UCSD days that I was actually got together a group of people who were apprenticing with me to teach them how to facilitate an in the moment music drum circle.

By that time, I was taking drum circles into schools and into corporations, into personal growth programs, and I was just experimenting. A fearlessly experiment to see what would work within what contexts and what wouldn’t work. And I had people come up and go, “How did you do that man? Wow!” And I would really have to say, “I don’t know.” To me, it was just a kinesthetic thing that I was learning. I didn’t actually think about what I was really doing or why.

And also, I wasn’t thinking about how would I teach someone else how to do what I did. And so, I had to start thinking in that regards, in that way, in order to teach and break down a system of application. And my intention in the beginning was, well, I’m going to teach people who are already drumming, who already have drumming sensibilities and “rhythmical contextualization,” oh, that’s a big word!

Jim Donovan:

Big.

ARTHUR HULL:

And show them how they could make the rhythm accessible to non-drummers and be able to actually make a profession out of it because most of the drummers I knew were starving musicians and nine bands, right? You did routes, you only had one band and you actually had a job.

Jim Donovan:

Well, before that was what you talked about.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay. And how to be able to adapt these technologies and what I ended up calling “protocols,” two different kinds of populations like kids in school, corporate training, stuff, all that kind of stuff, which I was doing. I was making a living out of doing that.

And that’s when we started doing the three-day drum circle facilitator trainings and then started our first Hawaii. This would have been our 25th Hawaii this year in a roll, a six-day program that we do in Hawaii. Hey, life is a dance…

But what happened was, my ego got smacked by… It wasn’t just drummers that were showing up, it was people who were caregivers in some way, music therapists, kids at risk counselors, school teachers, okay, because that was what I was doing. I was going into these places as a job to facilitate opening ceremonies for conferences, for music therapists and for school programs and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And they’re going, “How do you do that?” And they started teaching me, okay, as long as I learned how to shut up and listen to them.

So when I go to a music therapy conference now, and I do a pre or post six-hour drum circle facilitation, I will do a game, a drum circle game of some sort, and then stop and say, “Well, what do you think about that?” And I pull out my pen and paper and let them talk to each other. And they would actually define what it was I was doing with inside their culture and how to make it work. Okay. We would do that except that we would make it this way. Okay, make it this way? Mm-hmm (affirmative), okay.


And so, it’s the community who has moved me into a particular emotional intelligence in relationship to serving community through this tool. And that it’s not about just getting in the middle of the circle and being the “great drum circle facilitator,” but learning how to serve the music, because the music represents the consciousness.

Jim Donovan:

Right. That’s beautiful. What a great story.

And I wonder, well, first of all, what I really like about what you said is that you found that maybe that when you were going in that you were the one being of service to the group which you were, but then–

ARTHUR HULL:

It makes surprise to my ego.

Jim Donovan:

Then I also heard you say that, that you allow the group to be of service to you.

Yeah, I mean, it’s the circle, that’s the magic of the circle if­­­—like you’re saying—if we’re open to listening as well as the giving and the listening allow that circle to really finish itself.

ARTHUR HULL:

I’ve been doing this for almost 50 years, drum circle facilitation. I’ve been training for about 35, 40 years. I now have 32 certified drum circle facilitators who are working in 22 countries, including America, who are doing the three-day training programs that I initiated and created.

Jim Donovan:

Great.

ARTHUR HULL:

These people helped me initiate and create these training programs. I didn’t pick them. They picked themselves. And they mentored me in this process and are my partners and my equals in this mission that we are on. And they’re there because they could speak truth to power and say, “Arthur, yeah, but no.” And have you–

Jim Donovan:

We need those people, right?

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah. You need those people otherwise you get what we call “Founder’s Disease,” okay, and we’ve seen lots of representation of that, okay?

Jim Donovan:

Yup. Indeed, indeed. I don’t know when this was in your experience, but I know that you studied with this beautiful human being, Babatunde Olatunji. And I wonder if you could talk about that a little bit, your friendship and things you learned. I don’t know a whole lot about him. I’m very curious about that, if you’re willing.

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah, I don’t know if I can talk about Baba without crying.

Jim Donovan:

That’s all right.

ARTHUR HULL:

Like most people, I’m in the college dorm and I hear Drums of Passion on the stereo and I’m going, “Wohohohow.” Back in those days, even in jazz, you didn’t find very much drumming going on or rhythm stuff except for the salsa, oriented jazz, and [inaudible 00:53:47], and so on and so forth. That was Babatunde Olatunji in Drums of Passion. I went, “Whoa,” right and it’s like, huh. And it was until about 10 years later maybe, maybe less, that we finally ran into him, that I finally ran into him and started working with him.


And he was doing these college circuit programs where he would take Drums of Passion and do a performance and spend the weekend doing workshops. And so slowly but surely, we managed to take him out of the performance mode and into a more workshop mode. And I just became a student of Babatunde Olatunji like everyone else. And we’re learning this and learning that and he’s an eclectic drummer mainly because he was the one who brought rhythmic culture from Africa to America that nobody knows about.

Because within his Drums of Passion band, he would bring Tito Sampa, Ladji Camara, and the list goes on and on and on. And they would work with him for a year or two and he would teach them how to operate in America and then they would go on and become who they are… Ladji Camara and Tito Sampa, and so on and so forth. And leave the band and he would bring somebody else in from Africa. And so he literally birthed the ethno-African rhythmic culture scene by bringing these master drummers into his troop, teaching them how to operate in America and move on.


And so I got to work with a lot of those people but stayed with Baba to the point where I started being the assistant. I helped him write a couple of rhythm books. And being a good Nigerian, he would come to his programs one or two hours later so that I would end up doing the beginning warm up rhythms for the beginning beginners and so on and so forth. And then all of a sudden, I was in his West Coast version of the Drums of Passion band.

What I discovered was, he wasn’t there to teach us African rhythms. He was there to teach us about life. And he worked on that level. And it was all about how to be able to be there for the community and support the community in that process and build community through rhythm, dance, and song. And he paid due respect to culturally specific rhythms. And at the same time, he did arrangements of those rhythms that made it more accessible to the western consciousness.


And so, he was teaching love. He was teaching love disguised. He had a little toolbox called “drum, dance and song Africa.” But he was teaching love. And so I became part of the band and would be driving them around to the gigs and roading for him and repairing his drums. And a relationship started up besides student and teacher, and then a friendship, and then a mentoring. Now, mentoring was that he would not be afraid to tell you the hard truths, okay. And with that, he became my father figure as well as my mentor in so many ways.


His mission was to put a drum in every household, that was it. And he says, it’s not going to happen in my lifetime and may not happen in yours but if you stand on my shoulders and you have somebody standing on yours, it will happen in theirs. And we’re heading to that, that there is more and more drums in every household as we just start finding that it’s a tool for expression and connection that you don’t have to be a drummer to drum.

Jim Donovan:

Right. Exactly.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay. And so yeah, I stand on Baba’s shoulders. And everything I do, he’s still standing on my shoulder yelling in my ear when I’m heading in the wrong direction.

Jim Donovan:

What was one of the hard things that he told you? Do you remember?

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah. It’s not all about you. So when you get in the middle of the circle, right, you’re there to serve the circle, okay? And sometimes I see you forget that it’s about the circle. And so, you’re using the circle to serve yourself… your small self. Why not serve your big self? And that’s we meant by the community, and it’s like, “Whoa,” okay? You mean, it’s not all about me, but it’s all about me at the same time, really? That’s one of the slaps I got.


Another one, the first time I met him. I was a hippie thunder drummer. I was doing cultural specific drumming, but I was a hippie thunder drummer, which meant that I had calluses on my hands from here to here. In fact, in those days, I had to make love with my elbows because I couldn’t feel anything with my hands. You might have to edit that out for the younger crowd.


And we’re drumming and he takes a look at my hands and he says, “What is this?” And I’m very proud of my calluses because I’m the loudest drummer in the world, okay? Bam! Ooh! Okay?

And that’s what part of the hippie thunder drummer music about if they can’t hear you, right? And “What’s this?” And I’m about to answer him with all the pride that I have in the calluses that I’ve developed. And he answers me, “THIS is stupidity!” And the technical response to it was, “You need the calluses inside your pads, NOT on the outside, okay?”

Jim Donovan:

Yeah.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay. And it took me, I mean, look, we have habits. And so I had 15, 20 years of just pounding on the drum until I peed blood, right? Okay. And going, oh, well, peeing blood is just a part of being a drummer.
No, it’s a part of being stupid, breaking your capillaries in your fingers.

And so it took me as much time consciously drumming with technique to get rid of the calluses as it took to put those calluses on, okay? But luckily, I was drumming more often, consciously, than I was drumming unconsciously—so in real time, it only took a year to get rid of my calluses, even though it took 10 years to build them up, okay?

Jim Donovan:

That’s a good lesson. It’s a good lesson for all those people that are out there cranking.

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah, you got to love Baba, okay. You got to tell the hard truth sometimes.

And that’s one of the reasons why those 32 certified Village Music Drum Circle trainers are certified trainers because they speak truth to power and each and every one of them in their own way has looked at me and said, “See this?! This stupidity!” And I’d go, “I think you’re a candidate.”

Jim Donovan:

Thank you, you’re in it.

ARTHUR HULL:

Because, most of them, my relationship with them is about 20 years, and that’s a relationship that Baba had with me to get to that point where I could realize that my students are no longer my students, that they my teachers.

And they can do what I do because they’re following me or walking with me on this path just as good if not better than I do. When we were doing the training to make them trainers, we would do a TTT training, three-day training and advertise it as co-facilitation. We were lying, of course, because most of my teaching is lying in order to get to the truth, but you got to tell them the lie to get to the truth.

ARTHUR HULL:

And so, co-facilitation, but in actuality, I’m pushing them out in front and they’re following the training protocol and they’re teaching the way Arthur would teach and they’re saying the words that Arthur would say, but from their style and their perspective and everything else. And then when they were done with that section, they go, “Arthur?” And then I would stand up and I would either cover their ass with something that they missed, reinforce what they were saying because there was something that I needed to reinforce but they said it but it just needed to be emphasized a little more, or tell a story that related to what they just did.

So if I was telling the story, they can go, “Huh. If I was reinforcing or covering their ass without looking at like they made a mistake, just adding an extra element into it, I think it’d be riding fiercely.

Well, Tomoko Yokota in Japan, TomTom. When she did her training the trainer three-day training, she would stand up and teach my program better than me, and I was writing notes furiously. About halfway through the program, goes, “Arthur, Arthur, you’re writing all these notes but you’re not giving them to me. Help me here. What’s going on?” “I’m writing these notes for me. You’re teaching me how to do my program better than I can. So just keep on doing what you’re doing because it’s perfect. But I don’t want to tell you that because then you think that you’re perfect.”

Jim Donovan:

You got a long way to go, but what did you–

ARTHUR HULL:

Right, yeah, yeah. I have to lie to her a little bit, okay? So it’s a wonderful experience to follow your bliss, find out that you actually have a purpose that’s doing good within the community that is starting to build itself around you but building itself because they need the tool you have to offer them. And then find in that community other elders in training who are walking the path, who can do it as well as you, okay. So at the age of 73 in this process, I’m only doing the six-day trainings, and with my training partner, Jim Bono, the 10-day mentor trainings, the leadership trainings, in this process.

And now, all over the world, the three-day training programs, the Village Music Circle drum circle facilitator training programs are being done by all these people. And we’ll be sending you the certified Global Village Music Circle trainer webpage so you can see what country and where that’s all happening and how to make a contact with those people. And so now I’m only going to five or six countries a year instead of 10 or 14, okay. I mean, I would look as good as you if I didn’t travel so much.

Jim Donovan:

Bah, come on…

ARTHUR HULL:

Well, look, just look at the hairline!

Jim Donovan:

Yeah, I got a hairline that’s coming.

So, well, first of all, all this information that we’re talking about, so the website, the Drums of Passion music, I’m going to include all of that stuff in the show notes so that all the listeners can go to DonovanHealth.com/podcast and they’ll be able to find your podcasts and all the different things we’re talking about. There’ll be a full transcript of the entire interview so you can read it at your leisure.

ARTHUR HULL:

Thank you. That’s my new book.

Jim Donovan:

Yeah, there you go. I mean, take it, use it. It’s all good. And, I really want to encourage people when they go see that, I mean, to really poke around and check out everything Arthur has got to offer because he’s got a great blog where he talks about his travels and the things that he does with regards to facilitating music and rhythm and drumming with people. It’s such a wealth of knowledge. Before I let you go, I’m wondering, of all–

ARTHUR HULL:

There’s a couple of things you got to do before you let me go.

Jim Donovan:

Oh, yeah? Okay.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay. What I’m going to be sending to you, I think I’ve already sent it to you in the email, is a URL for Rhythm Research and Resources that’s put together by Peter Shearer and Christine Stevens, they’ve been curating it. And it’s been sponsored by the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild

Jim Donovan:

Awesome.

ARTHUR HULL:

… which is an organization designed to bring us all together and help support us in our mission, okay? And just that alone, once you get into that resource website, you can find how rhythm benefits in different ways, different studies, and different researches covering anxiety, depression, child and adolescent trauma, psychological brain stuff, all that kind of stuff, okay?

Jim Donovan:

Yeah, beautiful.

ARTHUR HULL:

Yes. You can go to my website and get a lot of entertaining stuff and resources to the trainings that are happening around the world. But by tapping into the Rhythm Research and Resources webpage, you’ll get more questions answered than you thought you had.

Jim Donovan:

Sounds like my kind of place, absolutely. Thank you for that, I appreciate it.

ARTHUR HULL:

Okay, I’m going to turn off my background.

Jim Donovan:

Oh, hold on. I got one important question for you.

ARTHUR HULL:

Oh, I got 20 answers for any one question, you know that.

Jim Donovan:

That’s what I love about you. I can just sit and listen and enjoy. So, of all the things that you’ve done, all the thousands of people you’ve worked with, the stories that you’ve gained over the years and still are gaining, what are you most proud, like what makes you smile?

ARTHUR HULL:

Well, the preference in what are you most proud of, I could go to that. But then you added, what makes you smile, and I take a look at that process and I have to answer, my grandson, okay?

I’m proud that, as crazy of fool as I am, to be able to actually decide not to get a job and to follow my bliss to the point of having to, a couple of points beyond welfare and food stamps, to be able to find that place where you’re doing your bliss and sharing your bliss and making a living from it because it has a value to the community, okay?

That that feels good. But the fact that a guy who grew up as a drummer and a crazy drummer at that, okay, could actually raise a couple of children, keep his marriage intact, and actually have a grandson, okay.

Jim Donovan:

What’s his name?

ARTHUR HULL:

Oh, his name is Jameson, which is really a bad name. I wish, if they were going to name him after a whiskey, I had a lot of better quality names for him. But we’ll take a cheap Irish whiskey name.

Jim Donovan:

Hey, what is with the big ball of string behind you there? I got to hear about that.

ARTHUR HULL:

All right. This kind of wraps up our interview in a way. Look, in the beginning, once I finally got what this was about, and it wasn’t about me, and that all these people in this circle standing around at the end of a three-day training program had made essential connections, because we played together for three days, did all of these exercises that brought us to the place of being here now, and being truthful to yourself and learning how to follow the people who are following you and serve those people. What can I do to serve this?


I would take a ball of string, I would hang on to it for our closing ceremony, and I would make a little statement. And I’d roll it across the floor and someone else would pick up that ball of spring and they would hang on to a piece of it, make their closing statement, roll it across the floor. And they keep on rolling it back and forth to everyone, until finally, the last person made their statement and roll the string back across the floor again. I would pick up that ball of string, everybody was hanging on to that string connected to two other people in the circle, then we would hold the string up chest level and step back, and it would be a spider web.

Jim Donovan:

Wow.

ARTHUR HULL:

And the metaphor that I would create verbally and that was we’re all now really connected together, that we have… there are different walks in life. There’s a professional drummer and there’s an orchestra conductor and there’s a kids-at-risk counselor and there’s a music therapist in the circle, but we’ve had this experience, and we’re going to take this tool into our lives and serve our community, and at the same time, we are still connected, okay?


And I pull on one string and say, “I’m going to pull on just one string between me and Robert over there but notice everyone’s feeling it.” And that when you get into a community like this and you keep your communication open and your connection open, okay, that you can pull on that one string and the rest of the community can feel it. Very nice, great, great metaphor, worked really well, until we had 50 or 60 people.


And now all of a sudden, there’s all these statements and you start talking about the end of the program and everybody’s crying and you’re talking for five minutes, that’s a three-hour closing. Not only that, but I would have to rewrap up this stupid ball of string, okay, every single time. I am the greatest, when you get a string on all tangled up and everything, I’m the greatest knot detangler in the world after hours and hours of… and then I’m in the middle of the floor stepping on the string trying to untangle.


And some lady comes up and goes, “Oh, Arthur, here let me. You go say goodbye to your friends over in the other room. I’ll just wrap this up for you.” And I went, “Gee, thank you. And I went to the other room and said, “Goodbye and thank you for coming to Rhythm Church,” and so on so forth. And she comes out and she’s got a rusted doll made out of the string. Nothing in it is cut. It’s in my office, I wish I had it here. But I still got it. And I saw this and she said, “Well, it got a little tangled.” The arms are sticking like that. They had rusty hair and rusty legs and it was really, really well wrapped up and beautiful. That was the end of that.

Not only that, because the programs are getting larger, the closing statements are getting just, yeah. Okay. So, we came up with a one-word closing. And then everybody would bring a piece of string, three feet long, and that would represent their contribution to the process. And so, my daughter, when she was growing up, she had to try to explain to her friends what her father did for a living, okay? And she finally gave up and she said, “Oh, he collects string.”


Well, this is Asia last year, this is Europe. So I am putting in the string yet. This thing is heavy. It’s solid strength.

Jim Donovan:

Oh my God.

ARTHUR HULL:

I lose about five pounds every time I have to put up a ball of string into the big ball of string, okay. Okay.

Jim Donovan:

That thing is so much bigger to scale than I thought it was when you were closer to the camera.

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah, wait.

Jim Donovan:

It’s massive.

ARTHUR HULL:

Wait until I get all those other training programs in, okay. I would be 10 pounds lighter, okay? Yeah.

Jim Donovan:

Oh, that’s lovely. No, don’t get a hernia. Oh my god, look at that.

ARTHUR HULL:

I’ve already had a hernia from doing this. So this is my community.

Jim Donovan:

Bravo.

ARTHUR HULL:

And this is the entrance of our office. And it just reminds me, when I get all upset about processing egos and having to deal with the politics, the stuff that when you’re an elder in a community, you have to deal with, and I get all upset and mad, sometimes, I just look at the ball of string and go, “It’s worth it.”

Jim Donovan:

Yeah. Oh, Arthur, this has been so great. I so appreciate everything you’ve done for me personally, your book, Drum Circle Spirit, was my saving grace when I decided that I wanted to get out of a band and start working with people and I didn’t know where to start. You’re where I started and you’re the first thing that made any sense to me, that you even came close to what I would hope for.

ARTHUR HULL:

Thank you. Well, then I’m very glad that I’ve been able to put my footprint on your ass.

Jim Donovan:

Yes, over and over again.

ARTHUR HULL:

Yeah. And that’s what Baba has told me over and over again. Whenever I thank him, he throws away the things and says, “You know, put print on your ass.” And I totally understand and totally appreciate the work you’re doing in your community, putting your footprint on your community’s ass as well, just moving it forward, okay?

Jim Donovan:

That’s the thing. We’re here for a finite time so let’s get to it. That’s what I think.

ARTHUR HULL:

Jim, it’s nice to see you again. Let’s hang out some more but without recording it so I could swear often.

Jim Donovan:

Absolutely. And that we’re going to keep all the swearing in because this is a swearing household, that’s what we tell our kid’s friends when they come over, okay. If you’re not okay with that, don’t come over. We don’t mean anything by it. So, hey, let’s wave to each other and then I’m going to turn the recording off. It’s nice to–

ARTHUR HULL:

God bless you Jim. Thanks for this. I appreciate, this was a wonderful time to hang out with you.

Jim Donovan:

Agreed, agreed.

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