Company Ethics

  1. [ Drumming is fun! ]Work hard
  2. Play fair

We try and run this organisation as ethically as we can

We are a quality-led, not cost-led, operation. If you are just looking for the cheapest quote with little care for quality, then please look elsewhere. We do it because we love it, and the music urges us to. We have lived with African teachers and know this music inside out. I'm in a lucky position to be able to pass on this wonderful culture. For us it's not about the money; our priorities are reaching out to people with this joyous culture, bringing enjoyment, education and inspiration to their lives. However, we obviously have bills to pay, and limited time and energy. So money is a necessity to keep us free to do this wonderful work instead of having to take another job. As long as our costs are met and we're not overworked, everybody wins.

Playing for free

I've also learned from experience that if people are getting something for free, they often tend to value it less. I've played too many free gigs where we've been messed about (no setup time, no soundcheck, no audience, last-minute time changes) that it makes a mockery of a whole bunch of people coming and giving up their time and energy. So now I generally only do paid performances for which people are actually caring for the outcome and the wellbeing of those involved.

Working for free

Having said that, I still do what I can to share the love. Easily reproducible resources are shared wherever possible. My time, however, is limited, so that has to be paid for. We do charity work locally, especially for causes we feel particularly strongly about (such as African charities), but we can't afford to travel far without being paid. Transporting lots of drums around is not cheap.

We recognise that some clients have less money than others. We will gladly undercut the charlatans if necessary. If you are limited to a specific budget, please say what it is and we'll endeavour to meet your needs as best we can while minimising cost.

We can't turn down paid work, so I can put your event in my diary, but it might not be a confirmed booking until the week before, in case anything else comes in at busy times of year.

Freedom to create

In life I seek to preserve freedom and curtail oppression, be it supporting freedom of speech and campaigning for software rights or exposing media manipulation or government malpractice. While not a completely Open Company we do our best to do the right thing, preferring organic adhocracy to boring bureaucrazy. We don't use illegal pirated software or un-free proprietary software. Instead we use professional-quality Free Software like Firefox, LibreOffice, Scribus, Inkscape, Hugin, GIMP, Ardour, VLC, all running on Debian/aptosid GNU/Linux, the ultimate operating system. Nowadays this software is as good as (or better than) the old proprietary programs, so there's no longer any need to sacrifice your freedom to vendor lock-in. It also happens to cost very little (once written, copies are easy to make), so we don't waste your money. Ever wonder who pays for all those luxury offices and expensive company headquarters?

Where possible our drums are sourced from sustainable West African forests, hand-made by traditional local artisans and selected for quality of tone. We aim to know our suppliers and support craftsmen we admire. Our drum stands are made of larch grown organically in the Chilterns by the carpenter.

Support friendly independent artists!

[ Master djembe quintet ]