Photo by Tania Castellví
Stressed? For a monthly cost of €55 (€35 reduced) let it all out banging traditional Guinean drums in a one-man drumming school in Alt-Treptow run by Nathan Berg.
Born in Minden, a town in Northwestern Germany, Nathan in his teens was fascinated with hip hop, breakdance and krumping but then at age 19 he took part in his first workshops in West-African Malinké drumming style and was bitten by a bug. He continued musical education with different respected teachers such as Famoudou Konate and travelled to Guinea to improve West-African drumming skills in its roots. In 2009 Nathan moved to Berlin and founded his own school Beat Etage and also became a member of a young but yet quite successful international drumming ensemble SésséPercussion.
On entering a small classroom in an old building you can feel a little trapped – windows closed with special shutters and armoured-looking doors are supposed to keep all sounds you'll produce during the two hour session between the walls. About eight participants (most of them Germans, so you can also practise a little bit more of your deutsch) sit in a circle and learn to pound out rhythms on bass drums and djembes, playing together or improvising their own parts. The noise can be deafening and your hands might sting, but the endorphin rush – and a warm smile from Nathan – should compensate.