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Mini-Guinea Singapore, Sep 2010, Day 1-4 by michi on Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:51 am
A quick update on the Singapore camp...

I got there on the morning of the first session and met Mamady outside the venue. He looked a lot more lively and happy than he did last time I saw him at the end of April. He's smiling a lot and the spring is back in his step. Good to see!

About 48 people are attending the workshop. Not all of them will be there for the entire time--some people are leaving early, others are arriving late. So far, numbers seem to be stable in the high fourties.

Day 1

Mamady did the usual thing of spending the first day with everyone together, to sort people into intermediate and advanced groups. He did four rhythms in the first two sessions: Liberte (4/4), Djansa, Garangedon, and Saranken. Saranken is one of Mamady's compositions. "Saran" is the name of a woman, and "ken" means "beautiful". Mamady explained that he wrote the rhythm in homage to everything that is beautiful in women. Not the beauty on the outside but, as Mamady put...

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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...

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Mini-Guinea Singapore, Sep 2010, Day 10 by michi on Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:47 am
Final day of the camp, with one rehearsal at 2:00pm and then the performance at 5:00pm.

This is the hottest and most humid day I've experienced so far. By 3:00pm, the temperature was at 39C (102F), with humidity at 92%. Truly awful.

We did another run-through of the pyramid, including solos by a few people. You can listen to it in this post. After the rehearsal, we all piled into a bus that took us to the performance venue in the middle of town, a large open-air amphitheatre, large enough to hold probably around 1000 people. We deposited our drums back-stage and then had about 1.5 hours time for shopping and to grab a bite to eat.

Several groups performed prior to the pyramid (which was the final act), including a group from India, Japanese Kodo drummers, and the Lila Drum Ensemble. When we finally went on stage, temperature was still in the...

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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...

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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...

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