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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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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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Mini-Guinea San Diego, April 2010, day 5 by michi on Sat May 01, 2010 10:42 pm
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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Mandeng Djara by Dugafola on Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:26 pm
Mandeng Djara is Mamady's last recorded album on Fonti Musicali. a lot of the rhythms are Mamady compositions with song, kora, balaphon and of course dunun. the songs themselves are traditional songs sung by the women and children in the villages near balandougou. listen to Balandougou Kan track 1 disc 2 and you'll hear some of the same songs.

i had a Mamady moment last weekend driving home from a concert in my altered state, i decided to put on this album for the 70 minute drive after calling my wife to tell her i'm on my way and after inhaling a turkey sandwich.

now i know there are Mamady detractors, but you simply cannot deny the tastefulness of some of those intro arrangements. it's a fine balance b/w precise percussion work without being over the top in regards to the overall melodies of the rhythms....especially when playing off the bala and kora. that's the main thing that blows me away about this album...

...you can also add the telepathic conversation b/w mamady and...

[ Continued ]

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Blog? by Garvin on Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:03 pm
Nope...

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