Some feedback from members of RAD:

“RAD has given me new skills, challenging me in new ways because I struggle with co-ordination and learning sequences. I find drumming really therapeutic. The group is such a lovely bunch of people, and such a mixture – very down-to-earth Rotherham folk. I never imagined I would be performing in public as a drummer!”

Drumming has become a great passion for me through RAD, which is quite surprising considering I am dyspraxic! Also autistic! I struggle with social situations but RAD is the one thing I keep going to at the moment as a regular commitment. II even taught the Thurcroft group on a regular basis before the current restrictions. I have led performances when we performed in public. I love that RAD has given me the joy of the rhythms and the contact with different cultures.”

“Drumming has given me a great confidence boost as I get older. Great fun!”


Although the group kept in touch though Facebook and Messenger, it soon became apparent just how much people were missing drumming together. We agreed to drum in our own streets for the NHS, and out of that came a wonderful and surprising development. On one street, Clifton Grove, neighbours borrowed drums and joined in from their own doorsteps and driveways. Then other members of the group walked across and drummed with them from a social distance. This grew until Rotherham Council agreed to let us use Clifton Bandstand and its surrounding area to continue to drum together in a socially distanced way outside every Tuesday. This turned out to be a magical and uplifting experience.

Rotherham African Drums (or “RAD”)

Hello, thanks for coming to our website! We are RAD, a drumming group based in Rotherham that meet weekly in the town to practise our skills and have fun. We have performed and led workshops at many events across the region and you may well have seen us at one. We are very welcoming to beginners, so if you feel like you would like to have a go, check out our “weekly sessions” page for more info!

We take the classic world instrument, the djembe, and makes it accessible for everyone. The simplicity of this lovely, portable instrument and the satisfaction of the sounds you can make with it means that anyone can enjoy playing!

We are a member of ROAR. As our supportive umbrella body they provide us with very useful things like our Safeguarding Policy, our Public Liability Insurance, our Complaints Procedure and lots of positive encouragement and support! They will also be able to tell you more about us if you telephone them: 01709 835747.

Where are we based?

We are based at the function rooms at St James’ Church, Cambridge St, in Rotherham which is where we hold our sessions. Sessions are open to anyone, but we find that young children are not ready to play in a mixed-age group, and anyone under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. We often break our group up into ability levels and then come together to play near the end of sessions. At the moment, the smaller groups play in separate rooms in a socially distanced way and agree to Track and Trace protocols.

We were enabled to survive and develop through a National Lottery Awards For All grant and recently a grant from South Yorkshire Community Foundation.

Paul Butler and Tongesayi Gumbo – RAD’s drumming teachers

RAD’s drumming teachers are Paul Butler and Tongesayi Gumbo.

Paul’s career in drum facilitation started in 1999 with an organisation called ‘Yorkshire Youth and Music/Sounding Out’ whose main aims were to bring disaffected children back into mainstream education through different forms of music. From the success of this Paul went on to found Drummers United.

Tongesayi Gumbo comes from Zimbabwe. He is the African Dance Workshop Leader at adad, Choreographer/DanceTeacher at Drummers United and Artistic Director at Khula African Arts.

Paul and Tongesayi have been working with RAD, teaching both the LDD group as well as the other groups helping them progress and introducing new techniques.