Cindy Goldberg is an Ottawa, Canada, based-drummer who performs with a local hard rock band, Restless Soul. She is also a part-time music teacher with the School of Rock. She loves all things drum related and hopes to continue playing and performing for several more decades. She is a filmmaker, traveling across the United States and Canada to film female drummers in her upcoming documentary Beat Keepers: Women with Rhythm, the first feature-length film of its kind. A few years ago, she filmed a short documentary on the same subject titled Keeping the Beat. Tom Tom caught up with Cindy to talk about her project.
TomTom [TT]: How did you get interested in music?
Cindy Goldberg [CG]: My mother was a musician and became a successful jazz drummer in Ottawa, actually. I began on piano, but three years ago I tried the drums out in a basement and the love for the instrument took over. It became my main passion and instrument; there seemed to be a culture, a whole sisterhood surrounding drumming for women—maybe because there are relatively few of us—and it seemed like a unique instrument to be playing [as a woman], which opened up a lot of opportunities.
TT: Especially now, with social media, there are more spaces for us to find each other. It feels like there’s been a boom in the past few years and the drum community feels extremely supportive and alive.
CG: I don’t think this documentary would be as successful without Drummergirls United on Facebook, which brought over 2,000 of us together.
TT: How did you come to film, then?
CG: I created a mini-documentary two years ago about drumming. I wanted to learn the experiences of other female drummers and, sure enough, half a dozen immediately expressed interest. So, I filmed them and created a 15-minute short [Keeping the Beat], and put it out online. It was very well received and piqued others’ interest. I got feedback that if I visited other cities, more women would be thrilled to participate in a longer film.
TT: Had you filmed other documentaries before?
CG: I’d done short films for the federal government before, but [that] was my first documentary venture.
TT: Congratulations. It’s beautiful, by the way. It’s entertaining, but it also hits to the core of being a female drummer and finding one’s community. Can you talk a bit about your process for the feature? As in, how you’re going about getting the interviews and what you see as the narrative of the film?
CG: First, I will clarify, that I will work closely with two other drummers who are American based, who have filmmaking and public relations experience. I created an online document asking any interested woman to sign up and asked where she lived; based on that, we created a list of cities to visit and film. It begins in LA with NAMM [National Association of Music Merchants], where many of us are congregating in January.
TT: Will you be including any historical documents about women in drumming?
CG: It’ll be a combination. I’ll include lessons, performances, interviews, rehearsals with rock bands, and events. I’m going to try to make it as varied and inclusive as possible. I don’t want it too well-defined yet, to allow organic development. But I also want some historical background, like the inclusion of long time professional drummer, Dawn Richardson.
TT: Awesome. Will you keep us posted as you go along on your national tour of women drummers?
CG: Absolutely. It’ll be filmed over a period of several months, so we want to keep people engaged and interested.
TT: So, what kind of music inspires you? Who influenced your own playing?
CG: Several female drummers who inspire me, aside from my mother are Cindy Blackman, Sheila E, Karen Carpenter, Janet Weiss, Emmanuelle Caplette, Elie Bertrand, and Jarah Jane. Melanie Krahmer with Sirsy is also an amazing drummer; their band was featured on the show “Shameless.”
TT: And your band is?
CG: Restless Soul. We play rock, hard rock, and Latin rock. I also launched my first original song online where I’m actually singing.
TT: In the last few years of your practice, have you leaned on anything to improve? Or do you prefer free-form play-along?
TT: Do you have any tips for emerging drummers on how to keep consistent in one’s practice?
CG: Learn your rudiments. Don’t just jump right into the songs. Play those paradiddles and you can apply them to your playing.
TT: What do you play?
CG: My kit is a Yamaha Custom Birch with Sabian and Zildjian cymbals, but my dream cymbals are Meinl, after playing them at a friend’s house. My dream kit would be to just have more toms.
TT: That’s great. So, anything else you’d like to tell us about the project?
CG: I wanted to mention that when I put out a tentative call for pictures to promo the documentary to anyone interested in being in a collage, well over 100 photos came in. It was an amazing response.
TT: Those are beautiful collages [shown]! So often we see pictures of male drummers, and here we see a display of rockin’ woman power.
CG: Jessy Dwyer [the photographer] really did a great job putting them together.
TT: Nice job, Jessy! Cindy, anything else?
CG: I think this will be the project of a lifetime.
TT: Thank you so much for talking. We look forward to seeing the documentary!
Check out Cindy: Facebook//Instagram//YouTube//Go Fund Me
Watch the complete mini-doc on Vimeo!
Watch a vignette featuring Chrissy Ras of Cougarzz Rock below!
Inspiring message from drummer Chrissy Ras of Cougrzz Rock!
Posted by Beat Keepers: Women With Rhythm on Sunday, January 20, 2019
Keep your eyes peeled for new mini interviews that are uploaded regularly on the Beat Keepers Facebook Page!