Jim Donovan
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Jim Donovan

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The best kept secret in music


"Pittsburgh Magazine Review of Revelation #9"

Jim Donovan has always been the backbone of Rusted Root's sound. His drumming is powerful but stark, leaving room for lots of percussion and tailor made for filling big rooms and concert halls. Donovan, a true gentleman, has had a pretty busy solo career outside of the band, releasing a number of CDs including Indigo, a meditation CD and Pulse, a collaboration with Pittsburgh's duo of higher consciousness, Life in Balance. He also teaches drumming workshops around the country and has released a couple of instructional drumming CDs.

Donovan's latest CD is Revelation #9, 9 tracks described as "electro-tribal dance music" featuring Donovan's traditional thumping tribal drumming and incorporating breakbeat, noise and some wicked electric guitar played by Donovan himself.

In fact, all of the instrumentation on the album was done by Donovan, a lot of it while on the road with Rusted Root, using traditional instruments as well as synths, samplers and computers. The result is a trippy dance record that, although, it doesn't come with a strobe filled light show, elicits and implies one. It's always after 1 am when listening to Revelation #9; you know you should go home but you keep telling yourself, 'I'll go after this song' and then the next one comes on, and before you know it the sun's coming up, and you've danced yourself into ecstasy. Again.

The title of the CD refers to Revolution #9, the experimental John Lennon track off of the Beatles' 'White Album'. On Revolution #9, Lennon used tape loops of found pieces of music and sound to create a abstract track that at the time, 1968, was about as far out a piece of music as you could find on a pop record. Donovan, and the Legion of Electronic Tribal Drummers, have taken Lennon's germ of an idea to places and pulses he may have never imagined possible. He would be proud.
- Pittsburgh Magazine

"Music High Interview w/ Jim Donovan"

Rusted Root percussionist Jim Donovan has always had an eclectic musical taste. Although the band is currently in the midst of a two year hiatus, Donovan has kept himself busy touring across the country playing solo shows and leading instructional drum workshops that toe the line between musical expression and meditative exercise. Music High’s Chris Rosenbluth recently spoke to Donovan about his new musical adventures, what inspires him behind the kit and life without Rusted Root.

Music High: Can you talk a little about the drum workshops? How have they been going?

Donovan: The workshop is called the Interactive Drumming Experience. It’s beyond a drum circle in that it’s an actual educational experience where people come in and they learn technique, they learn how to listen to each other, and also how to play music together. I like to give people, especially people who have never done it before, the experience of playing with other people and to really enforce ideas of how to do that through deeper listening.

MH: How much experience is required? Is it a course for beginners or is it something for more experienced players?

Donovan: It requires zero experience. I deal with absolute beginners and I deal with players that have been playing for 20 years. They can all participate in this workshop. It’s really the kind of experience where you can get everything that you need out of it depending on your willingness to try.

MH: I was listening to your solo release Indigo the other day, and I probably haven’t listened to it since it came out in 1998, but the sound of that album is like nothing I’ve heard before. It’s very Eastern. Has that sound always had an influence on you?

Donovan: The concept that I used in that record, and in the next record Pulse, is a concept of entrancement. And it’s really using rhythm and repetition to get into an ultra-relaxed spot in your being. It can really help you get, not just chilled out, but really super relaxed. It’s in that super-relaxed spot where I believe, and a lot of other people believe, the best creativity comes from. And so a lot of that music, it has the function of fun music to listen to, but it’s also music that you can use. It’s functional music that you can take in and use for your own benefit. The sound of that is influenced by a lot of Eastern sounds. That’s a big part of what I’ve been listening to and what I’ve been influenced by, for sure.

MH: What other types of music have influenced the way you play?

Donovan: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, all that kind of stuff. In college, I got into more jazz fusion stuff: Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, that kind of stuff. That’s when I started playing African drums. That was the thing that really blew my rhythmic-head apart and made me hear music in a completely different way, music that really came from the heart as opposed to analytical music. And that really resonated with me, and I knew it was something I really wanted to do. I wanted to create music from that kind of space. I would imagine that what I’m doing today is still very much influenced from that time period.

MH: Some people have said to me, while I’ve been listening to Indigo, specifically, that you have to be on drugs to understand and appreciate that type of music. How to respond to those critics?

Donovan: It’s really easy to confuse people when there’s not a box that they can identify something with. It’s just how we’re conditioned. We’re conditioned to say “This is country music, and this is rock music, and this is metal.” We’ve got a thousand different genres. With that kind of meditation music that’s on Indigo, that kind of music actually can take you, by itself, to the same place as LSD or a mushroom, without any of the drugs. All you’ve got to do is deep breathe for the entire hour and you’ll have more visions than you can handle.

MH: I’ll definitely have to try that.

Donovan: Yeah, it’s fun.

MH: When you’re not - Music High

"Jim Donovan Signature Djembe Review by Drum Magazine"

In recent years, the name Jim Donovan has become synonymous with community drumming, drum circles, and an instructional program called The Interactive Drumming Experience. Many people think of him as the heartbeat of the acclaimed jam band Rusted Root. We can now equate his name to the newest line of djembes from Everyone’s Drumming.

For this latest addition to their product line, the company and Donovan teamed up to create a pair of djembes that are not only accessible to students, but have the consistency and sound that professionals will appreciate.
Out Of The Box. The Donovan djembes are available in two sizes: 12" x 20" and 14" x 24". The shells are made out of Vermont maple with stave construction, and are treated with a rosewood stain and four coats of polyurethane clear coat. The lower half of the shell features a handsome Everyone’s Drumming logo with Donovan’s signature burnt into the shell’s surface. Each drum also comes with a tuning tool, and a play-along CD featuring some traditional grooves.

The djembes feature rope tuning with a minimized version of the company’s famous “Cinch” tuning system, which offers a quick way of tensioning heads by pulling a series of rope ends up (to loosen the head) or down (to tighten), using a T-handled tool.
The principle is based on a standard djembe’s rope-tuning system, but rather than having one continuous piece of rope that needs to be woven through itself to add tension, Everyone’s Drumming has split the system into individual tension points. It looks like a traditionally-tied rope-tuned drum at first glance, but interestingly, the tension points that connect the top and bottom hoops are independent from each other. Each tension point has a
short tail of rope with a knot at the end of it. Going around the perimeter of the drum to pull each knot
takes about a minute and a half to create a noticeable pitch change in the drum, which is then simply held in tune by friction. The whole system is tied with a low stretch, 5-mil static weave black nylon rope.

For this series, the company has eliminated the tuning tool’s large wooden ball that helps its ability to grab each rope end. Instead, they’ve narrowed the tuning tool’s hook, which grabs the knot at the end of the rope. This aids the appearance of the drum, makes the drum more comfortable to hold in certain situations, and eliminates
some unnecessary parts that could eventually fail.
Materials And Sound.
The Vermont based company takes much pride in the materials they use. It’s common knowledge that maple is plentiful in that part of the country. After all, it’s the Northeast that makes our pancakes so tasty – but maple for a djembe? (Well that’s initially what I thought.) Two things immediately put my mind at ease: the drums’ light weight and huge sound. Not only is maple significantly lighter than most indigenous African woods, but its tonal characteristics also proved to be the perfect solution for a very versatile sound. Donovan djembe bass tones were extremely loud and full, and open tones/slaps were isolated and crisp. Coaxing tones out of the calfskin heads (which were very consistent) was a snap; often thinner animal-skin heads can have horrible overtones due to the slightest inconsistencies in thickness. Not an issue here.

Even without any tugging on the Cinch tuning, the drums have the projection and clarity needed to survive in any situation, speak with a traditional accent, and feature clean and separated tones that are surprisingly versatile. (Let’s face it, how many current djembe players actually use their drums primarily for traditional music?) The consistency in sound between the two drums is also impressive – they complement each other perfectly. Bass tones are almost a perfect fourth from each other and open tones can be easily tuned to any interval. Although these drums aren’t made from a hollowed-out log that has fallen into a watering hole, and hand-carved by a

"In Depth Interview with Jim Donovan"

• How long have you been a drummer?
>>I have drummed since I was 8 years old. I am 38 now....

• When did you pick up your first drum?
>> When i was 8 years old my grandmother Olga took me to Florida. There I fell in love with a little drum from a gift shop made out of coffee can. She bought it for me and I've been hooked ever since.

• What first intrigued your interest in drumming?
>> On that same trip, I saw my first parade. There was a drum line with several large bass drums that stopped in front of me. When they started to play it gave me such an intense feeling in my gut that I knew I always wanted to experience. the vibration from those drums changed me somehow, I knew I would play drums from that moment.

• What other aspects of your life has drumming influenced?
>> Most aspects of my life have been touched by drumming in some way.
Drumming affects my general sense of well being, it has given me several wonderful careers that allow me to support my family. Drumming keeps opening new worlds for me to travel to whether it is teaching at a home for deaf children, or traveling , playing and teaching through the cities in Italy. Besides my wife and children and good health, I'd say drumming is the most significant blessing in my life thus far.

• What differences are there between hand drumming at sitting at a drum set? Which do you enjoy more? Which is more fulfilling?
The Drum set involves a very different physicality. I engage my entire body with it. Hand drumming allows for more freedom to move around with the drum (strapped on). I honestly love both ways of drumming equally, each one has it's own gifts, challenges and growth opportunities.

• What first inspired you to teach drumming? What do you enjoy most about them?

A good friend of mine asked me if I would consider facilitating a drum circle at a festival he was running called the Great Blue Heron Music Festival. I agreed and immediately found that teaching was significantly more challenging than any of the performing I was doing. This challenge really caught my attention. I also was enamored with the way teaching gave me close interaction with people. Performing in front of tens of thousands of people was always fun and had a unique kind of rush to it, but it truly paled in comparison to watching someone have a real progression of growth in one of my workshops.

• How long have you been teaching these workshops?

• >>About seven years now

• What should someone expect when taking one of your workshops?
>> First you can expect to be in a very relaxed no pressure environment where you can feel free to learn at your own pace. Beginners are highly encouraged to attend. Drummers with experience, even professional ones will find ample opportunities for real growth and expansion.
Here are a few more points from my literature:

Develop a stronger rhythmic foundation as you learn about yourself
Feel purpose and connection as you play music in an energized group setting
Deeply explore rhythms from around the world
Learn to express your creativity through music
Sharpen listening skills and dexterity
Learn how to create your own rhythms and solos
Leave feeling enlivened and focused
Experience drumming and music in new ways and learn to understand them more deeply.
Leave the workshop feeling rejuvenated, excited and focused with new skills, understanding, and friends.
• Are there any prerequisites for the workshop?

>>Only showing up and the desire to try. I even bring drums.

• What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching drumming workshops?

>>Seeing someone go from thinking they can't make music and progressing to the point of enjoying themselves doing it and then seeing them come back again and again to workshops and other drum circles knowing that I had something to do with helping them along their path.

• How long have you been teaching at S - Philly News

"Leave It in the Hands of the Music, Because the Music Knows Best"

That growth that I mentioned is what made Rusted Root go from being an acoustic duo with Mike and Liz to a very eclectic, tribal-sounding band. Comment on how that growth not only is rooted in musical awareness but also political, environmental and spiritual awareness. When we started, we were all around 20, 21, around that age. Just out of college. Liz was just in college. I think she was 19 when we started. So we were all spring chickens. Not that we know so much now, but we knew a whole lot less then. One of the things we did from the get go was benefits. Anyone's and everyone's benefits. Our first three years, we must have done 50 or 60 different causes and attracted the kind of people who were into different political things. We did benefits for El Salvador, the rainforest, Clean Water Action, just zillions of benefits. Those folks that were coming to those different rallies and different things were our early base of fans based in colleges. Those folks typically have very good networking skills so they started spreading the word about what we were doing. So our circle would start to get bigger from Pittsburgh to the surrounding three states.

That kind of awareness of things that are happening in the world correlates -- to me anyway -- with spiritual stuff and trying to get to know ourselves better. What are we doing? Why are we here? Questions that you constantly ask yourself in college especially at that age. What's my purpose here? How can I make better my own thing and better the world at the same time? Some of it was innocently naive, thinking what you're doing is saving the world. That's a highly naive thing to think. Out of that whole experience, coming to the awareness that the first thing that you need to do if you want to help the world is try to fix what's wrong about yourself. Everyone's got their own bunch of baggage. To get into that kind of stuff and figure out what it is that makes you tick, what makes you do what you do. That process in and of itself, in my opinion, is a lifetime process, continually figuring that out and hopefully progressing.

The beautiful thing about Rusted Root is that you have a forum to turn folks onto what you've found out. You go to your website and there's paths to everything from yoga and shamanism to Sierra Club and Milrapa Fund. Somebody who didn't have a clue, might look at that and say, 'Ah, these guys are a bunch of hippies.' But someone who is maybe not so aware of spiritual means but is interested could really get something out of it, more than just your music.

That's what we try to do. But coming into the self-awareness thing, we try not to come off as preachy. Nobody wants to be preached at. But instead, working under the assumption that every human being is going at their own pace. Some are at the point where they're ready to be introduced to new things and so they've started to look for them. Some folks would look at us and say, 'Oh, look at these self-righteous hippies' and automatically put us in a box and whatever. Not having any judgement on either kind of person because everyone's where they are and that's perfect. Wherever you are is perfect and you're going to figure it out at your own pace. For those folks who are starting to look around, especially the younger folks but not limited to them, we start to put little things like that out there, whether it's a quote on the website or link to another website or whether it's in an interview like this, talking like we're talking, and just kind of using it as a forum to subconsciously introduce things. We put them out there for someone to go, 'You know, I heard about that. I thought that might be interesting and now he's saying this. You know, I really like his drumming so I'm going to go look at this. Because he's into it, maybe I'll be into it. Maybe it's not all a crock. Here's somebody I look up to that's into this.' And maybe just by virtue of my actions or anyone's actions, you teach somebody - Jambands.com

""From the Garage to the Gig""

The lights dim and the small enthusiastic crowd waits patiently for the show to start. You raise your sticks in the air, count off the song and launch into the opening moments of your first gig. Seconds later, you realize you can't hear the singer very well and are having trouble feeling in sync with your bandmates. You've practiced though and that preparation and the focus fueled by the adrenaline surging through your body gets you from song to song.
You play through the set. You know that you are nailing some songs and feel like you are stumbling through others. Later your bandmates will say "great job," but mention that you should try to slow down next time - you wonder what they mean. Regardless, you made it out of the practice space and onto the stage - welcome to the exciting, spontaneous, and sometimes scary world of live performance.
Playing live is often one of the most challenging and exciting aspects of drumming. Gigging can also be a stressful experience for those who are in the early stages of transition from the practice space to the stage. Looking for advice on playing live, Modern Drummer interviewed four young veteran drummers - Jim Donovan, Hannah Fox, Todd Sucherman, and Kim Zick -- who shared their wisdom on steps every drummer can take toward a more successful live show.
A Spare Snare
Obviously, the first thing every drummer should do to get ready for a show is practice - nothing compares with knowing the material well. Beyond good preparation though, one of the other foundation pieces to playing well is taking good care of equipment. In addition, when leaving home to perform, every drummer should take along spare parts.
"One thing I try to do is bring an extra snare head and maybe an extra set of all the heads," says Kim Zick of the Milwaukee duo Mrs. Fun. "I always travel with spare parts for my bass pedal. And I constantly check the mechanics of my equipment. Also, make sure to bring a rug (to place under your drum set). If you get to the club and the stage isn't carpeted, your drums will move around."
Hannah Fox, of Babe the Blue Ox, adds one of her golden rules about what to do after the show. "I've had a fantasy about publishing a book on drum etiquette," she says. "It would be one sentence, 'if you are not the last band of the night, don't break down your stuff on stage.'"
While equipment maintenance is important, so is protecting your gear. "I always recommend that if you have drums you care about, get cases," says Jim Donovan of Rusted Root. "If you can't afford hard cases, get padded bags - at least your drums won't get scratched up. Also having handles makes things easier to carry. And, get a case for your hardware."
Todd Sucherman, who has played with a variety of rock and jazz artists including Brian Wilson, Styx, and Eric Marienthal, also suggests that if you have more than one kit, you may want to think twice about which one to take to the gig.
"There may be four or five bands on the bill and you'll have to leave your drums over in the corner of the club," he says. "It's easy for someone to bump something or spill a drink. If you are playing the club circuit, you may want to get a kit that you don't care about so much, so you don't get upset if something happens to it. And whatever kit you take, once your drums are in the car - go home. If you leave your drums in a parked car unattended, they will be stolen."
Donovan also suggests making sure your transportation is reliable and getting a membership with AAA or some other service that will provide roadside help for everything from a dead battery to keys locked in a car.

How to Make Friends and Influence the Sound System
Playing well is obviously the key to a good performance however understanding the impact of the sound system - in terms of what you hear and what the audience hears - will also influence the gig, as will your efforts to make allies in the club.
"It's good for you and good for the band for you to - Modern Drummer

"Present mind is a drumbeat away at workshop"

The thought of spending about 3½ hours in a room filled with the sound of beating drums may at first blush seem anything but relaxing, but Rusted Root drummer Jim Donovan intends to prove just how calming it can be at a workshop in Wilton this weekend.

“I found when I was in college several thousand years ago that when I would play in the African drumming ensemble, it was like entering another world,” he said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Pittsburgh, Pa. “It struck me as kind of odd that you could have a peaceful feeling while feeling energized at the same time.”

It is that energized other world Donovan hopes to show the 35 participants who arrive at Kundalini Yoga & Art Studio on Saturday, a fitting site for what he hopes to accomplish with his charges.

“Yoga is another word for discipline,” he said. “This workshop uses very relatively simple, repetitious drumming, as well as vocalization.”

It incorporates some of the same goals of yoga, agreed Susan Brown, who co-owns the studio with Joan Hanley.

“What he does is so compatible with what we’re doing,” she said. “His drumming workshop really helps to achieve mental clarity.”
Donovan calls that clarity “presence,” which he defines as “the ability for a person to focus on at will on the task at hand and be able to shut out their mind chatter. To really be able to be fully in a moment without that idea of multitasking, which has become so popular.”

But for those who may be wary, Donovan said the class has no religious undertones and requires no previous skills as a drummer. Donovan will even provide the drums, he said.

“Complete non-musicians who think they have zero rhythm should show up. People who are musicians who want to find ways to more deeply experience music should show up. Its very accessible to a lot of people,” he said.

He is accustomed to having a range of skills in his classes, as he schedules workshops for everyone from preschool up to adulthood. In fact, Donovan’s engagement at the almost 4-month-old yoga studio came about rather serendipitously. One of the studio’s nine teachers, Christine Eaton, and her husband, Diego Sharon, are close friends of Donovan’s. Sharon is a teacher at the nearby High Mowing School, where Donovan will work with students on drumming. Sharon suggested that Donovan teach an adult class locally, as well.
His desire to reach out to all ages might well come from his own roots in drumming, which came about thanks to his baton-twirling sister when he was 11 years old, living in a small town in southern Pennsylvania. The local marching band asked if he would consider playing the cymbals, to which the answer was a resounding yes.

“People would see me coming, and they would hold their ears because I was loud,” he said. “I got bit by the bug.”

But Donovan promises no one will need to hold their ears at the workshop. He will take participants through a quick technique lesson to learn how to hold and hit the drums, then use simple rhythmic patterns and simple sounds to achieve what he called “entrainment.”

“Entrainment is just a term that describes the feeling of letting your emotions, your physical body, your mental capacity come into alignment with a pattern, like dancing, but inwardly directed,” he said.

And that’s where that new world comes in, the one most of us have a hard time finding because, as Donovan said, when it is quiet, our brains tend to go to work.

“You actually end up missing the moment that’s happening because you’re spread too thin,” he said.

The goal is a quiet and present mind, not perfection, Donovan said. “This is more about your intention, more about what you’re trying to bring to everyone and to yourself as opposed to being this virtuoso.”

And those 3½ hours? Donovan promises they will fly by.

“You’ll be very surprised how fast the afternoon goes,” he said. “It’s almost like a time warp.”
- Present Mind : Workshop Preview

"Drum Magazine Interview w/ Jim Donovan"

1. What is your favorite studio in which to track drums?
Although it's not a comercial studio, Bill Botrell's "Williams Place" Studio in Caspar ,CA is by far the best drum tracking studio I've ever enjoyed.
2. Why is it your favorite?
The possibilities for different approaches and different enivronments at Williams Place are very key. Some of my favorite sounding tracks from the new Rusted Root CD entitled "Welcome To My Party" were recorded in the kitchen of the studio (Sweet Mary, Blue Diamonds). Bill's vintage microphone selection and of course his mastery of the art of recording play prominently into how I feel about his place. We truly were able to capture different drum sounds for every track, and I love each approach. It doesn't hurt that the studio overlooks the Pacific ocean either...
3. What projects have you recorded there?
Just the new Rusted Root CD "Welcome To My Party"

1. Which song and/or album features drum tracks that you're most proud of?
I don't want to sound like a broken record (sorry for the pun) but the new Rusted Root CD "Welcome To My Party" is my best work and my absolute favorite Rusted Root album. Particularly on the songs "Union 7", Welcome to My Party" and People of My Village" Also our 94' CD When I Woke has a great piece called "Drum Trip" which I'm quite fond of. And on the album Remember there is a track called Airplane/Agbadza which is very beautiful.
2. What is about those tracks that sets them apart from the rest of your recorded work? Is it the quality of your performance, sound, drum part, etc.?
On "Union 7" and Welcome to My Party" I love the sonic qualities and the feel of the parts. These songs just have a monster groove that really jumps out of the speakers.
I like that the parts are simple and serve the energy of the songs. I love "People of My Village" for it's intensity and the new direction the song gives to Rusted Root. "People" takes the tribal elements of Rusted Root and cranks them into 2002 with organically created loops and a passionate song. It was one of the first times I'd really used a computer to create music. Doing that piece I began to learn the rhythmic and melodic possibilities of the digital audio world. My Mac has truly blown my mind wide open to infinite possibilities of sound creation and has proven itself to be an invaluable arrangement tool. Using a computer has really made my time better and has helped me become a more inventive player overall because it helps me continually think outside my normal "box" of just the drumset. "Drum Trip" I love for its raw uncensored energy.
Finally on Airplane/Agbadza there is a richness a inventiveness to the composition as a whole which makes me smile each time I hear it. Our former percussionist Jim DiSpirito played a big part in the creation of this piece.

1. What is the most important thing that every drummer should know about recording drums in the studio?
Prepare in advance as much as possible. This means knowing the songs head to toe before setting foot in the studio. Rehersals are also the time for experimenting with different sounds, heads, sticks, drums, muting, tempos etc. You can save yourself and the band a ton of money just by being prepared. Record yourself as much as possible even with a cheap tape recorder just to get an idea of what you sound like. Also practice to a metronome. Even if your band has never used a click, one of the most requested things for a drummer to do is use a click track. It helps if the whole band practices to one as well. Other important things I've learned along the way: Everything changes, try to remain as open as possible to suggestions and ideas. Leave you Ego at home, the music comes first period. The drums accompany the song, play to and enhance the energy that the song requires. Also encourage everyone as they track and overdub. Everyone likes to hear "good job or excellent solo" when they're pourin - Drum Magazine


Jim Donovan with Rusted Root

Cruel Sun 1992
(0ver 300,000 sold)
When I Woke 1994
(Double Platinum 2 million plus sold)
Remember 1996
(Platinum over 1 million sold)
Evil Ways EP 1996
Rusted Root (Self Titled) 1998
(over 300k sold)
Welcome to My Party 2001
(over 100,000 sold)
Rusted Root Live 2004
Best of Rusted Root 2005

Jim Donovan Solo

Let Go 2010
Rhythmic Ear Training Volume 1 2010
World Rhythm Seeds Volume 1 2010
Rhythmic Foundation DVD 2007
Drum the Ecstatic
Live in Wellsville, NY 2008
Drum the Ecstatic International 2006
The Yoga of Drum and Chant 2006
Revelation #9 2004
Rhythmic Foundation Volume 1 2006
Rhythmic Foundation Volume 2 2006
Pulse : Music for Exploration Volume 2 2000
Indigo Music for Exploration Volume 1 1998



Jim Donovan is a passionate master facilitator, inspirational trainer and world-class musician with over 25 years of leadership, facilitation and performance experience. As a member of the 3 time platinum band Rusted Root, he co-led a successful, multi-million dollar organization whose music is featured in major motion pictures such as Ice Age, Twister, and Matilda, as well as in network television shows such as American Idol, David Letterman, and Conan O'Brien. Music he has written and co-written has been featured in commercials for Enterprise Car Rental Company, MTV and Timbertech. His touring work with Rusted Root provided ample opportunity to share the arena stages with rock legends such as Carlos Santana, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and Sting, among others. He was recently voted "Drum Circle Facilitator of the Year" by the readers of Drum! magazine.

Over the last fourteen years, Donovan has presented his inspirational programs and trainings at numerous Fortune 500 and multinational corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, and FedEx. He also has presented at over 100 universities and high schools in the US and Europe.
Donovan is currently a member of the Fine Arts Faculty at Saint Francis University, where he trains health care professionals how to use music as a way to help children who have disabilities such as autism while pursuing an MS Degree in Educational Leadership.

SHIFT – a cutting edge, connective and welcoming program that fuses practical, common sense personal growth concepts with an energizing, interactive music-making experience. What makes Shift different than any other program out there is that students get to immediately experience and hear the power of their own engagement and teamwork (or lack thereof!).

During SHIFT, Jim Donovan expertly facilitates your participants through a series of interactive processes utilizing hand percussion (instruments are provided for everyone), movement, and their voices to help your new students create their own rhythm infused performance art. The design of SHIFT is to help students identify their own potentially problematic approaches to how they interact with the world and help them find their own solutions to those approaches. Along the way, students may be confronted with their own apathy or unwillingness to engage, and they may even find their own inner leader.