A Brief History
Ritual Rhythms Chicago is the natural development of my work as a musician in the Pagan/Psychedelic festival scene that I’d been a part of for nearly 20 years. When I learned to play hand drums many years ago, it was around an immense bonfire with a large community of other drummers and dancers. We would make magick and alchemy through our rhythms all night and into the dawn.
I began to play with several musical groups, including the band Mayan Ruins, out of Cincinnati. I would often join them as a satellite member for festival shows and occasional events in Ohio. One such event was called Tribal Stomp, held at a local yoga temple. When that event had run its course, I asked to borrow the name and held my first Tribal Stomp in Chicago in the fall of 2015, at the Eco Collective in Pilsen. After another smaller show at another venue, I eventually settled into the Mankind Project complex in the Spring of 2016, which was our home for four years. We produced four shows a year, seasonally, along with drum jams on the solstices and equinoxes. In 2020, when MKP closed for renovations and then permanently during the pandemic, we returned to Pilsen for another smaller show and then found a temporary home at the Moonlight Healing Garden, the outdoor space associated with Luna Llena Apothecary, formerly known as the Shadow Emporium.
In 2021, I decided it was time to retire the Tribal Stomp name, due to the evolution of the organization, to reflect the changes happening in the broader dance community, and to honor the indigenous communities of Chicago. We have re-birthed as Ritual Rhythms Chicago and brought outdoor events to the community as we eased out of the pandemic. Since 2022, we have held our events at various venues, including our original home, Eco Collective, as well as Elastic Arts, and The Insect Asylum in Logan Square. We continue to seek new spaces to share our magic, and hope to find a permanent home in 2024.
Ritual Rhythms Chicago is a community dedicated to creating connections, collaborations and performances among dancers, drummers, and musicians who feel drawn to the universal rhythms of the drum. Ever since our earlier incarnation as Tribal Stomp, we have provided a space for people to express themselves, strengthen their bonds with each other, raise the energy of spirit and celebrate life.
We endeavor to be a socially conscious, supportive, diverse and inclusive community who value individuals and their self-expression while nurturing our connections with each other, our surrounding communities, our urban home of Chicago, the world and the planet.
We believe Black Lives Matter and support BIPOC performers, vendors, healers and venues. We believe in LBGTQ rights and support non-binary and trans performers. We do not tolerate hate and harassment of any kind and work hard to create safe, diverse and inclusive spaces for all people in our community who respect others.
We also believe in science and follow CDC guidelines when it comes to gathering size and masking.
Currently, we are holding outdoor events only. We have two main ticketed events in June and September, as well as open drum and music jams around the bonfire in May, August, and October, with possibly more on the horizon. For our main events, we have a drum jam, a dance showcase, and headlining bands and dancers, as well as vendors who sell products that reflect our conscious world view, healers and readers, healthy (usually, vegan) food, and kombucha. Weather permitting we also have a live artist who will create artwork during the event.
In the past, our events have raised money for charities such as Standing Rock Reservation, Brave Space Alliance and Refugee One in Chicago through our drum jams. We look forward to raising awareness and funds for other worthy causes in the future.
We have been (and hope to be again) a presence in the Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade, and have held drum jams for kids at various city events.
We also have a burgeoning outreach program that creates drum circles for programs that aid at-risk youth, such as the Penedo Organization in Chicago. This is an area of Ritual Rhythms Chicago we hope to grow in the future.