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Mini-Guinea San Diego, April 2010, day 4 by michi on Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:57 am
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...

[ Continued ]

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Mini-Guinea Singapore, Sep 2010, Day 7 by michi on Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:05 am
Day 7:

The intermediates continued to work on Yankadi/Macru and spent the entire session on that.

The advanced group finished the solo for Djagbe, and Mamady then showed the dunduns for Djagba. It's Djagbe as it is played in the Kouroussa region, where they use a different dundun pattern.

Mamady also improvised to Djagbe. The improvisations he does once he has finished teaching a rhythm are a highlight of his camps for me. You get to sit right there and are treated to some of the best djembe playing anywhere in the world. You can find a recording of it in the Media section.

The advanced group then moved on to Soliwulen and finished all the basic parts for that. Mamady will teach his solo technique for Soliwulen today.

The pyramid added another rhythm slotted in between Kedu and Soliwulen: Tiriba. This is the first time I've seen Mamady use six rhythms instead of five...

[ Continued ]

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Mini-Guinea San Diego, May 2010, day 7 by 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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Drumming under water, part 2 by michi on Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:12 pm
The waters in Brisbane have mostly receded, but there are still many places that are inaccessible. I went to help friends of mine yesterday in one of the flood-affected areas. They were the lucky ones, living in a high-set house. They had three feet of water under the house and over their entire block. Despite the relatively mild flooding they experienced, the devastation is incredible. Everything is caked with mud, up to a foot deep in places. The smell is overwhelming: not only mud and rotting plant material, but sewage that got pushed out of drains and toilets during the flood. I saw many houses that were far worse off in the same area, some of them inundated to the roof line. People living in these houses have lost absolutely everything.

Traffic is chaotic with many roads closed. Those roads that are passable are covered in mud up to a foot deep. Driving along a flooded road, there are endless piles of destroyed household goods, furniture, clothes, books, and appliances lined up along...

[ Continued ]

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kamele n'goni by vinny_musician on Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:55 am
I am looking to buy a 12 stringed kamele n'goni, does enyone where I can find one?

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