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3/11/10 One World Dance and Drum - Soli week 1 by gr3vans on Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:44 am
This is Sarah-Lee Koumbassa's Dance Class. From here on out I will refer to it as OWDD and assume that she is teaching unless otherwise noted.

Lead Djembe - Karim Koumbassa
Accompaniments - David, First timer Newman
Shekere - another new guy forgot his name

Sangban - Me
Kenkeni - Nick
Dununba - Michael

Warm up - Kassa
Dance for the evening - Soli (week 1)

Everything seemed pretty 'on' tonight. The energy was good, Soli especially rocked. While we were waiting for the dancers at one point I went into the echauffement that Michael Hunter had just showed me and got stuck... this could be because we didn't go over the sangban break and, yeah I got the stink eye from Karim (well deserved). After class Karim showed Michael and me some interesting variations for the dunun and sangban. S var had a really cool 'lilt' at the end. Hopefully I can get him to go over it again so that I can work on applying it with the dancers.

Sarah likes to do the same dance several weeks in a row and...

[ Continued ]

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Mini-Guinea San Diego, April 2010, day 3 by michi on Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:09 am
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... ...

[ Continued ]

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My trip to Mali - Leaving France by James on Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:12 pm
My trip to Mali didn't start too well. What should have been a 4/5 hour flight turned into a 9 hour extravaganza.

I noticed that there was a couple of people walking around the plance with orange arm bands that say police on them. One of them address the airplane, but spoke too quickly and I lost him early, so I had no idea about what was to come.

The flight was about 15 minutes late when a police van pulled up beside the plane and 2 people carried a man in a straight jacket kicking and screaming into the plane.

I quickly put 2+1 together and reasoned that it must be a deportee, and indeed I wasn't wrong. They had cleared 3 rows at the back of the plane and they needed every inch of space to try and contain this guy.

The moment he came on board he wouldn't stop screaming "France chez moi, France chez moi"("France is my home, France is my home"). You can't imagine how disturbing this was, and it only took a few minutes before people started to protest.

6/7 people...

[ Continued ]

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Drumming under water by michi on Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:32 am
Well, here I am in Queensland (the Sunshine State), and three quarters of the state have been declared a disaster area. The recent floods are the worst natural disaster in Australia's history (in extent, not in terms of loss of life fortunately).

Queensland is a large state. To give you an idea how large, take Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. All together, they are not quite as large as Queensland. You need to add Massachusetts and Connecticut to make up the difference. Or, if you want to put it differently, Queensland is has almost exactly 20% of the land area of the entire United States. Three quarters of that are flooded or severely affected by flood.

Queensland has experienced very serious losses of crops and livestock. Infrastructure is seriously damaged everywhere. Roads, bridges, water supply, electricity, communications, etc. It is difficult to ensure supply of essential goods to many areas that are cut off by the floods. Supermarkets are low or empty...

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Mini-Guinea San Diego, May 2010, day 8 by 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 ]

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