THERE are not many things a good stint of banging away on an African drum can't cure, says a Clarence Valley drumming guru.

Mororo's Austin King is so dedicated to drumming he takes his sessions to schools around the Lower Clarence, teaching them how to use the instrument.

At weekends he runs classes in the Chatsworth Hall, passing on his skills to people of all ages.

"If you're feeling tired, drumming will energise you," Austin said.

"It's good for people with arthritis, people who have self doubt and who are depressed will feel better.

"Group drumming gets the brains of all the people in the class to synch together.

"After an hour of group drumming it's like meditation. It's that beneficial mentally and physically."

Austin said it's especially good for pregnant mothers and - harder to prove - their babies.

"Babies in the stomach love drumming," he said. "The begin kicking in the womb with the feeling coming from the drums."

Children as young as two or three also enjoy making music with the drums.

"I've taken these young children to the Yamba and Maclean markets to show parents what their children can do on the drums," he said.

"They are always so amazed at the performances."

Austin has been drumming from an early age, since he was five in his home country of Nigeria.

He came to Australia as a teen, but never lost his love of drumming.

"I lived in Brisbane working and DJ-ing at multicultural festivals," he said.

Austin joined a group that toured western Queensland before embarking on a tour of Northern NSW, which included shows at Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Armidale and finally Newcastle.

After the tour he and his wife, Marianne, moved to Mororo about 18 months ago, where they are bringing up their young son Will.

In between all the drumming, he finds time to study for a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Southern Cross University.

"I've been playing music all my life, I'm now working on getting the piece of paper to say I can do it," he said.



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