Drumming under water
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... [ Continued ]
why i teach
on Sun Nov 01, 2009 4:04 am
i've been a teacher of djembe and dunun for 4 years, but i've been playing djembe 4 times that long. when people ask me why i didn't start earlier, i tell them that i never wanted to be an authority on djembe, but also i never knew what teaching would come to mean to me.
before i began teaching djembe i had taught esl and health topics. english is a language that opens up many avenues for people - migration, jobs, meeting a wider range of people on travels, etc. health topics, on the other hand, educate the public on health issues and options. often it's a means to create bridges so that people can seek services when they are needed.
when i teach the djembe, it's all those things and more. it's not so much whether they can play with the right technique and feel, but to open up avenues for self expression, working together in harmony, creating bridges between people, inspiring and motivating, improving people's self esteem, the list goes on...
lately i've been involved a little more with... [ Continued ]
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 ]
Aha! so THAT'S who I am, I'd forgotten!
on Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:02 pm
This is totally self-indulgent, but also a nice space to log what I'm doing drum-wise, and keep me on track if I drift... Right now, I'm smiling - five years ago, I stopped full-time self-employment teaching West African drums, to work in a school and hold down the mortgage while my partner stepped out into his own bliss. Made redundant a month ago, finishing end of June - and feel like I'm putting back my own skin
So this is the Easter break, and I'm going through all the notation, recordings and notes I have on my computer, reminding myself of stuff I've not looked at for far too long, and remembering who I really am.
Have booked myself in for a weekend in May with Seckou Keita, to play dunun for friends' workshops at Drum Camp, and am figuring out how I can get back into enough work to get me to Mali within the next 18 months - went to Sangbarala with Famoudou Konate a couple of years ago, but... [ Continued ]
African Soul presents TELEMA TOURS TO GHANA W/A SEPT 2012
on Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:43 pm
African Soul presents
TELEMA TOUR TO GHANA 14 SEPT - 13 OCT 2012
Join master drummer Bortier Okoe for a once-in-a-life-time Ghanaian experience. Open your heart and immerse yourself in rich and vibrant culture on a four-week intensive cultural tour. You will live in the town of Nungua amongst the community, learn the traditional rhythms, songs and dances and develop your skills under the guidance of Bortier and local drum and dance masters.
Bortier’s family will welcome you, share their culture, and cook for you their traditional and delicious food. Take part in live performances specially arranged for you, be entertained by renowned performers, learn to cook favourite Ghanaian food, witness traditional ceremonies, take part in weekend excursions and end your tour with a spectacular performance, showcasing your new skills for the whole community.
Though everyone’s experience will be unique, feeling the rhythm of Ghanaian life and the joy of people around you is something eve... [ Continued ]