Atman has his finger on the Pulse

Pulse is a multicultural percussion project, which embraces rhythm enthusiasts from different backgrounds. And there’s a whole range of classes kicking off from February on the Gold Coast.

Words by Natalie O’Driscoll

The aim of the project is to create a mindful drum community with likeminded rhythm enthusiasts, whose hearts beat with the passion for world percussion.

Featuring different beats, grooves and rhythms from different parts of the world including the Middle East, India, Latin America, Turkey, Brazil, Balkans, Africa and Japan, Pulse is an invitation for those who have an inner calling for drumming and learn from an established musician while connecting to like-minded people.

Pulse founder Atman is a professional percussionist from Turkey, who has learned Middle Eastern and Turkish drums with the great masters of Darbuka. His search for understanding the secrets of rhythm led him to discover the rhythmic system he shares within the Pulse Project.

We caught up with Atman ahead of his 2023 classes.

What does it mean to you to be able to connect people from a range of cultural backgrounds through rhythm?

That proves to me how powerful rhythm is and our heart-beats are the same. Music is a language and we meet in the same language. Rhythm and drumming are cultural bridges between diverse backgrounds. I can learn a lot about a culture through their rhythms. Their rhythms tell me a lot about the essence of their culture.

What are some of the main aims of the Pulse Project?

First, we want to gather all rhythm enthusiasts in the same pool regardless of their backgrounds. This is why we embrace and include diverse multicultural beats from different cultures. Second, we want to teach people the language of rhythm and let them make rhythm their second nature. Rhythm is a language and we need to learn it in the same way we learn our native language, which is through active listening. Then we incorporate the active listening in speaking, likewise in our methodology we follow the same principle. Thirdly, we want to create income opportunities for local musicians. As you know during Covid musicians suffered a lot and it is an industry which doesn’t pay off much. We do our best to create opportunities for local musicians and include them in our programs. Last but not least, we want to establish a colourful, mindful, wellconnected drumming community.

You say you want to establish a “mindful drum community”. Can you expand on what that means and what you would like that to look like?

Long story short, it would feel like a family, where people can establish genuine connections, feel safe and intimate within the community to be authentically themselves and support each other including the teachers (students support teachers and teachers support students). It is a community free of drugs, alcohol, smoking and all kinds of arguing, jealousy, discrimination and violence. It is a community where people feel at home and welcomed.

Is there any particular nation’s percussion that speaks more deeply to you? If so, which one and why?

Certainly, Darbuka is my primary passion and expertise. Darbuka is a Middle Eastern Drum, which originally comes from Egypt. Since I met my master 14 years ago, I have established a deep connection to Darbuka. I have been learning it for 14 years and teaching for 6 years. As I come from Turkey, it is one of our national, cultural drums which is played at every corner. I love its subtle tunes, complex technique and exotic Middle Eastern rhythms I can play on it. It speaks to my heart. I also like Daf and Bendir, which are frame drums from Persia and Turkey, respectively. They have deep, heart-touching tunes, and a great match for spiritual music.

What is the favourite piece of feedback you’ve received from a student?

Most of my students acknowledged and appreciated the genuine intentions I have behind my teachings and generous efforts I made with the project. You can see all testimonials on the reviews I shared with you. I can share an experience with a student in particular. She discovered the unique expressions of myself through my music and she came to all my music events and classes. She didn’t miss any. She said I channel through music and share it with people generously. She became first a volunteer at my events and this year she became my personal assistant to help me with the business. She is doing only because she sees a great value in my projects.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know?

This year we are running the classes fortnightly and it is going to be followed by a performance at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse on 9 July. Apart from that, we are bringing the project to Logan/Brisbane this year thanks to full support of Logan Arts. We are going to run fortnightly classes there from 9 March. Something to mention, we are looking for sponsors to fund our Pulse Project, classes and the performance both.