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Mini-Guinea San Diego, April 2010, days 1 & 2 by michi on Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:26 am
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...

[ Continued ]

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Camp Menifanye by 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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A Year in the Life of a Djembe Addict by EvanP on Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:50 pm
I'm Evan and I'm a djembe addict.

It's been a little over a year since I not only learned what a djembe is, but how to spell it, how to play it (sometimes/mostly), at least names/locations of 25% of the countries in Africa, and about 2% of their culture.

In January I had the opportunity to attend a Mamady Keita workshop. Although I didn't meet the minimum requirement of 1 year of experience, my teacher requested an exception for me and Ali/Mamady approved. All of the superlatives are trite and overused, but it blew my mind. I learned so much, not just about drumming and rhythms, but about pedagogy. Mamady is the best teacher of anything I've ever had. He was able, in a class of 40-50 people, to connect individually with each of us, offering encouragement and pushing to our limits (but not beyond). An added bonus was an amazing party after the second class at a local Cuban musician's house for a rumba. The energy and music was fantastic, and it was great seeing Mamady play conga...

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One Letter in front of the Other by EvanP on Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:52 am
I've never blogged. To be totally honest, I'm not sure I'm comfortable writing a diary on the 'net, but thought I'd give it a shot. We'll see where it goes.

I'd never heard of a djembe 6 weeks ago. My journey began with a present for a friend, and in the few hours between when I purchased the drum and gave the present, I got hooked.

I've now got two instructors, a quickly growing MP3, CD, and DVD library of Western African music. Oh, and a beautiful lengke drum that sometimes makes amazing sounds (when my technique allows), and always makes me smile.

Right now I'm struggling with rhythms. My western ears and brain really struggle to make sense of the rhythms. The challenge started, however, with making the right noises.

My first challenge was the slap. Bass and tones were pretty easy, but I just couldn't get my fingertips to sting the way they should. Then I hit one. Then another after many failed attempts. Now I'm slapping with ease, but not liking the sound of my tones....

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Teaching Youth the Djembe by PeacefulWarrior on Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:13 am
I recently started sharing the little I know about playing Djembe with youth’s ages 8 to 11. It is challenging to hold their attention but so rewarding when I see the youngsters 'get it'. I am motivated to share with the youth because to me the future of maintaining the integrity of the traditional West African rhythms is in found in the hearts, minds and spirits of youth inclined to view West African rhythms as important. Trouble is even for the ones that demonstrate a strong connection with the rhythm they must divide their attention with the computers, cell phones and I-pods. I am introducing this topic because I would like to hear stories of teachers of the rhythms, to especially the youth. What are your experiences your triumphs and techniques used to effectively reach the youth?

2 Comments Viewed 18208 times

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