Bucket drumming is awesome. You basically take some buckets, pots, pans, and other miscellaneous items, lay them out on the street and find two sticks for banging out the beats.

But I got to thinking and I started wondering how much variation exists amongst bucket drummers from different regions around the U.S. After all, other musical forms diverge regionally. Why not bucket drumming?

The first of the above two videos is a bucket drummer from D.C. The second video captures a bucket drumming group from Chicago. There are some obvious differences, including the style of beat (D.C.’s seems slower and syncopated (funky) while the Chicago style is straight ahead and super fast). The D.C. drummer is using shorter, wide sticks while the Chicago players are using short, thin sticks. Then there’s this San Franciscan drummer:

What’s his deal? Stick-wise, pretty standard drum sticks. But here we see lots of similar buckets strewn all around. The resulting sound is quite different from each of the first two.

So what conclusions can we make in this brief analysis of regional bucket drumming styles? Nothing beyond conjecture, I’m afraid, although my intuition tells me that the super precision of the Chicago drummers is not coincidental. Don’t forget tongue twisting Chicago based rapper Twista!

Who really knows? I’m sure that, somehow, music of different genres from the same region demonstrate certain similarities. It’s fun to think about how this plays out and look for it, kind of like listening to regional accents.

To wrap it up, check out the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids Bucket team. I’ve seen this kids a few times, and they are nothing short of life-affirming.

About The Author

Max is a professional beatboxer and teaching artist. He enjoys teaching and performing for audiences of all ages.

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