Day 6 (Monday) of the camp.
Mamady has split the class into advanced and intermediate groups. There are eleven people (some not so advanced) in the advanced group.
The intermediates started on a rhythm called Deniya, composed by Mamady. Deniya means "youth" or "childhood". Mamady spoke quite a bit about his childhood, how he was taken away at age 12 to join the (not yet formed) Ballet Djoliba, and how he missed his family and village. Reading between the lines, there was a lot of pain and sadness in him in those days, and Mamady himself said that there is a large part of childhood that he missed out on. The rhythm is a 6/8 where the djembe accompaniments start on the last (3rd) micro-pulse before the 1 and the 3. Some of the intermediates where struggling mightily with feeling that right, endlessly pushing the first note onto the pulse...
The advanced group did the solo for Soliwulen. It's the same solo as on Mamady's volume 4 DVD. Soliwulen is a mask dance that is...
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Day 5 (Friday) of the camp.
Group 1 did two new rhythms, Dubalen and Karinkadjan.
Dubalen is a species of tree. Dubalen are large trees, about the same size as a Baobab. The trees have a large presence in the village--they are the trees under which elders make decisions and where festivals take place.
When Mamady first started drumming, he spent a lot of time under a particular Dubalen tree in Balandugu; the rhythm (a 6/8) is one of Mamady's compositions and named in honor of that tree. Mamady was blessed by many fetishers (male and female) under that tree.
The tree eventually died and, on Mamady's last visit to Balandugu, was no longer there. Mamady cried when he saw that the tree was gone.
There is also a non-profit association of the same name that is doing projects in Balandugu to help the village. I'll post more info about that as I get it. (Update: details of the association can be found in this...
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Last edited by michi on Fri May 21, 2010 3:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Today's Group 1 class finished off Zaouli 6. We spent quite a bit of time at the end of the class having fun, playing Zaouli and using breaks 5 and 6.
Group 2 is struggling a bit with Zaouli 7 and isn't through learning the break yet. About a third of it still remains to learn.
The pyramid class continued to work on Mamady's insane break (and actually finished it--sound clip below). During the pyramid class, Mamady passed on a lot of interesting info. First up, I got the origin of this break wrong: Mamady didn't do this in his Ivory Coast days in the Eighties, but earlier, in Guinea in 1977, which is when he composed the entire pyramid.
Mamady related quite a bit of the history of the ballets. Basically, the early ballets were modelled on the European ballets, where the orchestra was hidden in an orchestra pit, so it wouldn't distract the audience from the dance. With the African ballets, they did the same, only the musicians were hidden in the side stage. (If you watch early Ballet...
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Last edited by michi on Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Today, Group 1 reviewed Zaouli 5 for about 15 minutes, and then moved on to Zaouli 6. We got most of the way through the break--only two more phrases missing, which we'll do tomorrow.
Group 2 reviewed Dibon and then moved on to Zaoli 7. They got about halfway through that break.
Monette and Mamady announced that on Sunday, they'll have everyone over for a late afternoon/early evening party. Sadly, I won't be able to attend because I'll be flying to San Francisco on Friday night and will come back only on Monday morning. (I'm visiting long-time friends there for the weekend.)
Mamady announced that, for week 2, he'll be splitting the groups differently, according to skill level. He said that's because he recognizes that some of the advanced people have come from far away and he wants to make sure that they get properly challenged. Seeing how the first three days have shaped up, I'm not at all sure that I want to be challenged any further... ...
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Last edited by michi on Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:17 am, edited 3 times in total.
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So, here is an update from Mamady's Mini-Guinea camp in San Diego. I'm jet-lagged as all hell, so this is going be quite brief...
Linda and I got on a plane Saturday evening, after teaching two drum classes and a dance class in the morning. Flight was uneventful. The most notable thing about it is that it takes about 20 hours door-to-door to finally get there
We arrived 5:30pm and got to our truly shabby and awful (but cheap) hotel near LAX by about 7:30pm. Looking for dinner, we ended up at a strip mall that appeared to be the only available option within walking distance; the kind of place with about six different food outlets, all of which have "cholesterol overdose" or "food poisoning to be expected" somewhere in the fine print. In the end, we settled on the least-dangerous looking place, a small Indian restaurant. We ended up getting one of the best Indian meals I've had in...
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Last edited by michi on Sun May 30, 2010 10:23 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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