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michi
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Camp Menifanye

Permanent Linkby michi on Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:45 pm

Just got back from Camp Menifanye.

This was the first time this camp was held, and the first time that Queensland has had a camp of such a high-calibre profile. Teachers:

  • Lansana "Sana" Camara
  • Mohamed "Bangouraké" Bangoura
  • Sibo Bangoura
  • Malin Sylla
  • Aicha Keita
The camp was held at an eco-community in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, in beautiful bushland. It's a great venue for a camp. They have a nice hall for the classes, complete with giant screen for watching movies at night. (We watched Djembefola on the Saturday night.) Accommodation is very nice too—small dorms (four persons each), and a nice community dining hall.

There were around 25 drummers an...

[ Continued ]

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Mini-Guinea San Diego, May 2010, day 10

Permanent Linkby michi on Sat May 08, 2010 7:36 am

Day 10 (Friday) of the camp.

Last day of teaching--the performance will be tomorrow.

The intermediate group finished Mendiani. Not easy to feel, and quite a difficult solo.

The advanced group quickly rehearsed Djigui and then moved on to one of Mamady's dununba compositions called Seli Mafo. "Seli" means celebration or prayer, and "Mafo" means good or happy. In other words, it means "Happy party".

On days of festivals and celebrations, there is a custom among the Mandingue people to have a group of drummers walk around the village to wake people up in a joyful way at 5:00 am (!) in preparation of the day's celebrations. I asked whether people wouldn't throw things at the musicians for being woken up at 5:00am by drums and the answer was "only money" :)

Normally, a variety of traditional party rhythms are played for this occasion; Mamady composed this rhythm...

[ Continued ]

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Mini-Guinea San Diego, May 2010, day 9

Permanent Linkby michi on Fri May 07, 2010 6:00 am

Day 9 (Thursday) of the camp.

The intermediate group started on Mendiani today, and worked through the first few phrases of the solo original.

The advanced group did Soboninkun, including (the complete) solo original. That session was a lot of fun--Soboninkun is one of those rhythms that hovers between 6/8 and 4/4 and really is neither...

The afternoon pyramid was spent rehearsing. The pyramid is complete now, so tomorrow we'll spend time rehearsing and polishing, and maybe add a bit of choreography, but no more new material. I posted a sound clip of the arrangement of Djansa, Macru, Fe 3, and Denadon. (No solos, just short rhythm sections between the arranged breaks.)
Last edited by michi on Fri May 07, 2010 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mini-Guinea San Diego, May 2010, day 8

Permanent Linkby michi on Wed May 05, 2010 10:56 pm

Day 8 (Wednesday) of the camp.

The intermediate group continued to work on Deniya, including three different breaks, which took up most of the session. Towards the end, Mamady demonstrated the parts for a new 4/4 rhythm called Balandugu Sila. The rhythm was inspired by the trip to Balandugu where Mamady did a pyramid with his students. (If you buy a copy of the volume 4 DVD, there is a great documentary in the bonus material about that trip. Also, listen to Taylor's interview, where he tells a few stories about the horror trip they had to get there. It took forever due to bad roads and technical problems with the cars.) The intermediates will start learning this rhythm tomorrow.

The advanced group finished off Yankadi. At the end of the session, Mamady improvised to Yankadi, which was a joy to listen to. Technically quite simple phrases, but they are placed "just so" and flow out with...

[ Continued ]
Last edited by michi on Thu May 06, 2010 5:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Mini-Guinea San Diego, May 2010, day 7

Permanent Linkby michi on Wed May 05, 2010 10:51 pm

Day 7 (Tuesday) of the camp.

The intermediate group went over Deniya again and then started a new rhythm (6/8) called Sumalo. This rhythm was composed by Mamady and dates back to 1964. It was part of Ballet Djoliba's first repertoire, created on Kassa Island off the coast of Conakry. The ballet performance was called "The Mother". There was a king called Sumalo who was killed in a war. The king's son went to his mother and said "Give me my father's sword so I can go to the war and avenge his death." The son goes to fight in the war and gets killed as well. The performance piece was quite patriotic, reflecting the recent revolutionary spirit of the time. The woman who played the mother is called Fatadabo and now works in Mamady's household in Conakry.

Another interesting snippet about Ballet Djoliba... Of the 500 people who were originally selected from the regional competitions and moved to Kassa Island, 45 were selected to form what eventually became Ballet Djoliba....

[ Continued ]

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