B I A N T S I N G H S U W A L I
I am a social worker and percussionist and am at my happiest when combining the two. I was born and bred in the inner city of Nottingham, where my family were directly exposed to complex issues of race, poverty and disability, and from an early age I grew up steeped in the traditions of Indian classical music.
I chose to train as a social worker because I wanted an opportunity to support people to develop their independence and make their own choices and decisions. These principles were (and remain to this day) central to my belief system and I believe are the key values to social work and the provision of ethically sound practice. I have worked in hospital social work departments, community mental health teams, supported young people through their transitions into adulthood and over the last few years developing Co-production in mental health. My career to date has been based around my commitment to these goals. I am committed to community and passionate about service user involvement.
I chose Drum because …
… over 3 decades I have developed a facilitative practice where social justice, music, performance and the wellbeing of people intermingle. My work takes me into many situations, whether as trainer, consultant, academic, musician, percussionist, social worker, friend, depending on what the moment requires, we are united by a common purpose; to create an inclusive environment that energizes, enlivens, heals, and brings people together to feel better.
Drawing on my cultural and artistic influences from the Indian classical traditions of ‘Guru Shishya Parampara’ the drum has followed me every step of the way. It has allowed me to retain a creative practice in times of harsh realities of austerity and increasing bureaucracy and proceduralisation – I have drummed my way into the heart of social work practice with individuals and community groups communicating in the free flowing authentic way. The process has been like a simultaneous leap of faith from a world of thought and reason into the world of expression.
Individually or collectively handling this amorphous ball of energy that is coming off the drum, realising our wellbeing depends on it, giving a unique lesson in equality, sharing with others a lived experience with greater community cohesion and a ‘percussion discussion’ to have.
In many Shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited or depressed, they would ask one of these 4 questions:
- When did you stop dancing?
- When did you stop singing?
- When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
- When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?