Janelle Burdell Journal


8.23.08~ Wheeeee! It's A NEW DAY! The pheonix rises again! After a sequence of events created a debilitating setback taking months maybe years to recover... ( Burglary, Gear and Computer stolen, Contracts felling through and COntacts unreachable to build anew! )the light has returned!
Teen Girl ROck and ROll Camps set my summer on target once again and I return to Pittsburgh to drum tonight with the University of Pittsburgh's Freshman Class! (Wm. Pitt Union 9p-12) Sponsored by Student Life. Don't miss it! We are dedicating it to my fellow Regal Tip Artist and fabulous drummers Dayna Franklin. She'll be with us in spirit no doubt! Oh yea, enjoy the pic of me and the Master himself , Louie Bellson. I was thrilled ot meet him. This man brought Double Bass Drum into our lives and our music! Only he did it in a Big Band! Can you imagine what they must have thought....? 


8.14.07~What are the chances? Around the block from I.M.A, The Mother Goddess herself, Layne Redmond. Hahaha! No, really, Layne Redmond is a Master Frame Drummer and author of "When the Women were Drummers" and "Heart Chakras Meditations, Audio Book" Two of her Senior students live around the block from I.M.A. and invited me over as Layne was performing in the area and going to be staying with them. It had been many years since last I saw Layne, but we never miss a beat. She is a dear friend and mentor as the first woman to have a signature line of drums named after her with Remo she is a model to us all! Holly and Deb play very well and are wonderful peeps! They are teaching Layne's method in a workshop at I.M.A. I Hope to get them both on my Udu cd in a piece I have titled, "Framed", featuring very unique samples I have recorded. "Rock and Roll Frame Drum!" Get ready Grrls!!

8.11.07~ I.M.A.'s Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, , fueled my fire this summer! Sonya Kitchell visited the Pre Teen Camp and helped them write a song! What a blast! What a love! Sonya and I had a chance to jam a few times over the summer! A former ''camper" herself, (she attended the first I.M.A. Rock Camp at 12!), Sonya's music is fab and can be found on the Starbuck's Label. Visit her homepage at:

*Check out for more news of the adventures of Janelle Burdell! Whee!

5.4.07~ Happy Beltane! A Quarter of the year past! Wow! What happened? The Duquesne U. Community Drum Circles drummed alot of support in January-thanks to WDUQ and Alexandria Chaklos! Yay Seniors!

FEBRUARY was all about FOOTLOOSE at the Byham Theater and Pitt's EcoArt Class (*see above pic) where I shared a multimedia interactive drumming experience with them as I shared my Julia Butterfly tale! Magic happend and Luna appeared as a young child drawn into the class to drum with us. And yes, Footloose was A Rockin' show~so good to be home and playing for the Home Team again!

MARCH we drummed and drummed at the Neighborhood Academy amidst a cold winter!

APRIL was Point Park's dynamic performance and controversial production of "Reefer Madness" and

MAY brings us together Tonight at the Open Mind in Sewickly at 7pm-9pm to Udu into the moonlight...the Serious Moonlight!

Also I am preparing to perform Beauty and the Beast again for the home team, PMT., at the Byham Theater. I am honored. It is like being asked to play quarterback for the Steelers after 2.5 years of performing with the National Tour from Broadway.

All throughout the Neighborhood Academy has been growing inside and out.

This past month I also drummed at the Millvale Shelter for Boys where I did a 4 week Drumming Program sponsored by Soul Call, a fresh and exciting local non profit. The guys are great! What a good time! Rock da' House!

JUNE had the Sunnyvale Unitarian Church invite me back to facilitate another Udu Drum Circle in accord with their lessons on the earlier pre-Christian Religions. Udu Drums are traditionally played by women in Nigeria and used in ceremonial context. Many earlier cultures were based on a matriarchy and there religions abided in accord with the rhythm and laws of nature.

I.M.A.'s Rock and Roll Camps for Girls are coming up this summer!! Blink! It'll be here before you know it! Hahaha!


12.4.06 Last month we celebrated with the first Pittsburgh Women's Udu Drum Circle at the Open Mind Bookstore in Sewickly! Nine Glorious Goddesses udu-ing brings peace on earth in the new year! That is my wish! Enjoy yourselves this holiday season and join me in January for more drumming~of all kinds!

~7.5.06 B.A.P.S. to B.O.S.U. Rehabbing my right ankle (think~BASS DRUM FOOT) took my full attention for the first 6 weeks off the road. The folks at Allegheny Chesapeake were amazing! They taught me how to become the log jammin' rocker I have always dreamed of becoming and has come in handy scaring the bears up here Goshen MA too! My deepest appreciation goes out to Linda Kobenshlag and Skywest AIrlines for their support.

So much more to share. Soon.

~6.3.06 With Little Shop officially closed, life is full once again with many dreams patiently awaiting their day. Preparing to go to Northampton, to teach Drums at I.M.A. for their Teen Girl Rock N Roll Camps. I can't wait! I met t and jammed with the super talented Sonya Kitchell there last month and hung with her the following week at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh for her show with her slammin' band! The Musical Director and Guitarist is from Pittsburgh so it was nice to meet him. Great people!

lYes, Spring is here and life is good!

~4/1/06 Time flies! Duquesne's University had myself and Deb Benkovitz teach a Drumming Practicum for credit with the distinguished Mary Pappert School of Music's Music Therapy Department while I was on a my last Layoff with Little Shop. It was big, big fun! More soon!

Little Shop is in Providence, Rhode Island this week as we prepare to head to Cloumbus Ohio to close the Tour for good. Wow! 2 years! What an awesome ride! I am proud and honored to have grooved this Classic for so long! WoOHoO! BoP She BoP!

~1/1/06 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Where has the time gone? I have been completely lost playing with the wonderful gift I received this fall from the ZENDRUM Corporation. Yes--A beautiful handcrafted Zebrawood Laptop ZENDRUM! What an amazing gift! I am so moved by their action. Each and everyone at Zendrum is a fabulous artist and stellar human being too! The ZENDRUM LAPTOP was originally designed to fit a wheelchair. One of my determinations for the new year is to use the Zendrum to bring my voice for wellness amidst technology to the forefront again--giving me a unique tool of expression. From the bottom of my heart, I am so thankfuI.

~9/18/05 Friends Rock! There is nothing like having good friends. Had lunch with some friends I had not seen in years today!! Awesome! Here are some of my new friends at the ETC who joined me and Bean for a drum circle on the patio at the ETC overlooking "The Mon". Really fun! That's Chong "in the zone",(which btw--is a very good thing!), feeling the groove with his entire body! Drumming opens you up so much on all levels! It makes you feel so good. All who participated noticed the changes!

~8/9/05 Traveling at light speed...On Tour! It's been a challenging year. I feel like I have had n-o life yet mine was full. Except for a few days off here and there--it has been full steam ahead for at least nine months! Finally a break! We finished up this leg of the Tour in Costa Mesa, CA. Here you see our Audrey understudy,Yvette, and her two lovely daughters Daisy and Lulu. Yvette is an awesome mom and the kids are way cool too! 'Truly helped to create a real family feeling on the road.They all loved the Udus! Sweet. Yvette decided to leave the Tour after Costa Mesa. They will be missed.


Duquesne University has been the host to a wonderful Community Drum Circle facilitated by Kevin Henry and Debbie Benkovitz, two awesome therapists in their own right--as well as being very groovy people! Tonight we closed the season as the building closed for the summer. A small yet enthusiastic group of regulars attending alongside of many newcomers. It was great having two of the women from Sunnyhill show up. We dedicated our drumming to Debbie and her father who is now making the transition from this world to the next. A young woman danced us into a drumming frenzy! We took this commemorative shot with most of the people who attended for me to be able to keep them in my heart while I am on Tour. New friends made through drumming together. There is nothing like it! My entire body is vibrating from all the energy generated and pumped through it tonight! It feels great! I do LOVE to drum!


Sunnyhill Womens Drum CircleMAGIC was in the air last night with the women of the Sunnyhill Unitarian Church inviting me to lead them in a Drum Circle! The circle was to celebrate the end of their course of study on early religions, I believe. With many of these cultures matriarchal in nature, I decided to bring Udu Drums and light percussion for these women to play. (Udus are traditionally played by women in Nigeria.) Well...need I say--we had a BLAST! With 19 women in the room...plus Yusef, our golden child, and man of the evening, I shared with them that women were the first drummers and why. I shared with them how rhythm has been used to create transformation for centuries and how we could too in our very own lives!! I shared with them as much as I could in the time between drumming, playing, laughing, and smiling! I met AMAZING women! Women who I am sure will be in my life as new friends! How auspicious--for I was not to be there. Someone else was and they canceled at the last moment. The Rhythm of Life! Aaaahhhh the divine truly moves in mysterious ways!


Whew! Just got back from an awesome weekend at Smith College where I.M.A. held a benefit for their GIRLS ROCK n ROLL CAMP! BIG fun! I hit the ground running, as you can see here, my young friends and I are having a blast with the UDU Drum at the SGI Women's Division Meeting in Pittsburgh! "Hey mom--look at me drum!"

WOW! I am still vibrating from drumming last night at the Community Drum Circle held at Duquesne University!
Being my Birthday weekend... (Jan. 29th is the offical day!), I was thrilled to have the opportunity to drum! There were about 50 people there, punk rockers to seniors, small children to teens, moms, dads, you name it. I found out that many had never drummed before!!!!  The facilitators were awesome!  I cannot say enough about them. I am looking forward to learning more about them and the healing work they do with rhythm and drumming. They created a very nonthreatening space to open up too. The kids there were amazing too! (I LOVE it when moms and kids are drumming together. Peace.)

At one point a couple wanted to salsa dance. Seems the groove we were playing was not at the right tempo/speed and needed to be faster. The facilitators tried to increase the tempo/speed, yet I knew the Jun Jun had to do it. Yes, the BIG Low drum carries the most reponsibility along with it. The young woman playing it, a musician and music therapist in training, was awesome, she had very good time and her presence was shining and yet I knew she needed a bit more info. I snuck up behind her. I GAVE HER THE RESPONSIBILITY... Telling her she was the direct Link to the dancers and was driving the entire circle. Her voice quivered as she said, "I guess so..." I said, "Put your life into that drum!" She came to life. The beat became fuller as her life pulsed through the drum. I then joined her on the floor with a surdo (another BIG drum) and said, "We will do it together. I will help you."

Well...then it happened. SPIRIT EMERGED and I was transported DEEP into TRANCE driving the circle into a DRUMMING FRENZY!!! (The children always seem to notice first--they look at me differently.) BEAN had joined me at the Drum Circle and when SPIRIT jumped out it called her into the circle with me. She helped to drive the frenzied pulse! The couple danced and the energy created touched and moved many hearts. (This is always my prayer.) I met many people who I am sure I will drum with again! It was amazing!!!

I am filled with gratitude.


Good Day Sunshine...doo da doo

Good Day Sunshine...doo da doo

Good Day Sunshine!

Still freezing---yet, the sun brightened my day tremendously! Seems it had the same effect on many others as lots of people were out while I was running errands. Still more to do, so I will be brief. Making great progress. With my health, with the event, and got back to the CD last night. Smokin' More to do later tonight.

Give me the suntan lotion baby!


Well, another chilly Monday. Seems like we got a bit of relief, what--it went above 30 degreess yesterday? It sure has been cold here this winter. But it is a new week and there is tons to do! I realize there is still yet much to catch up on, like sharing how great it has been being BACK ON 'DA BLOCK with all my homies. (some of the greatest drummers in the world--& musicians, are right here I tell you.)

Speaking of drummers, LION KING is in town. Hoping to hook up with some of the crew and staff, from BEAUTY, who were grabbed up by the hit show. I heard BRANDON KANE, who played "CHIP" in BEAUTY, is here in the role of SIMBA. Go 'head BRANDON!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!

I turned Brandon and many others on to the Udu Drum while on tour as I carried a couple with me. I am hoping to get him and his dad, Keith, over to play ALL of the Udus while in town. Maybe I can drag a couple of the percussionists too!

And of course, a tour of CMU's ETC for the ETS's (Entertainment Technology Specialists) of Lion King. Yeah--the crews with these shows are amazing! They make it happen night after night. Very talented and cool people. I can't wait to see them!

Ok...Well, the office is shaping up. (Got to get a fax up and running today), mail some letters, go to the gym, and then maybe some music...Yeah, gotta work on my studio tan. Enjoy the day!

Hey, it is Martin Luther King Day! What a man! What a dream!

While conceiving RHYTHM GAMES, my non profit project, www.rhythmgames.org, I studied ML King and Ghandi's Non-Violence Policy. Eye opening! It changed my life! Check it out..It will give you a better understanding of why things are the way they are in the world. The SGI-USA has a very cool exhibit,(put together by the extremely talented, Gary Murie), traveling around that talks about this too.

Ok...my coffee is cold. As is everything here!


Like awakening from a dream, I sit in my new office this a.m., sipping coffee and enjoying the fruits of my labor these past few days. Well...our labor, that is (my webmaster and me--Thanks again Eric!). Still working on setting up all of the pics I have for all the COOL News! I got goin' on these days, but hopefully you will enjoy the updates. As I mentioned, I am in Pittsburgh PA and boy is it freeeeeeezzzzzzing here lately! So snuggle up, stay warm and relax, for as we know..

"Winter always turns to spring." Enjoy your weekend!


I am sitting in my new office, my new chair, with my new tables, and my good friend and webmaster, Eric Riebling. There is so much exciting to share--I'm gonna go now, so we can get you all some NEW NEWS! posted soon! Stay warm... j