Camp Samatou

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Camp Samatou this year: 17-19th November 2017

Registration details to come. In the meantime you can have a look at the photos from last year’s awesome event and get excited about good things in store!

Dates: 17-19th November 2017

Location: Campaspe Downs Country Resort
Located on the outskirts of the Macedon Ranges, close to Kyneton and an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the site is set amid 160 acres of natural bushland.

Camp SamatouCampaspe DownsBalafon class with Simon LewisCamp SamatouAfrican dance with Naby BangouraAfrican man facing camera, with djembe players behindDancers feet in a circleDancers standing in a rowIMG_7950IMG_8168Camp Samatou staff

Camp Samatou is the best West African drum and dance camp in Victoria – great food and excellent tuition.

camper, 2014

Guest teachers 2017…


For all drum classes you’ll need to bring your own djembe or hire one for $10 per day. For dundun and dundun dance classes, drums are provided on a first-in, first-served basis. If you have your own set of duns, please bring them!

Drummers are welcome to drum for dance classes.

  • African dance All dance classes will be accompanied by a full drumming ensemble in the large hall. All of our artists are highly experienced teachers who are patient and friendly. They are there for you!
  • Drum classes Please bring your own djembe along to the class. If you are hiring one, this will be allocated when you arrive (see Mitzi or Simon). There is also some opportunity to play dundun in these classes but the focus will be on learning djembe accompaniments, technique and solo phrases.
  • Dundun Classes will teach sangban, kenkeni and dundunba parts for traditional Guinean rhythms.
  • Dundun dance This is combining simple dance moves with playing dunduns (stick drums)
  • Song with Miriam Lieberman. Miriam has a long history of playing African music and is also an established song-writer and kora player. This was a very popular workshop last year!
  • Djembe maintenance This will provide info about types of djembes, choosing a quality instrument, factors affecting sound and how to tune your drum.
  • Soukous Lam will be teaching this popular style of dance from the Congo. The word Soukous means ‘to shake’ and the dance movements are sexy and fun. This is not traditional dance – it will be accompanied by recorded African music.
  • Balafon Simon will take a small group class (max 8 people) and teach the basics of the African Marimba. Make sure you book in if you are interested in this.
  • Yoga Stretching/yoga classes will be happening every morning with Miriam Lieberman to ease you into the day!
  • Afro Yoga A breath-centered, heart-centered practice that combines yoga and dance. We will work with an ancient 5 Element Form (a tai-chi-like flowing movement practice), some traditional yoga asana, and some fun, accessible dance with African flavours. With lots of options, this class is designed so you can work as gently or as strongly as you like. It is open to all ages and levels of ability. A great way to ‘land‘ at the camp and begin your Samatou weekend.
  • Bollywood Fusion This will be very fun, accessible combo of Bollywood grooviness, mixed with touches of folkloric Indian Dance and West African styles. No previous experience is necessary. We will learn some simple techniques and postures that we will apply to a high-energy, fun Bollywood choreography. Did we mention it’s fun?
  • Afro Tribal Bellydance In this workshop, we will take two incredibly beautiful dance styles and weave them together – traditional West African Dance and Tribal Bellydance (often called ATS). Tribal Bellydance is a contemporary fusion of Arabic, Classical Indian and Flamenco styles; it’s very elegant and feminine. When this is combined with the high-energy, rhythmic vibrancy of West African Dance, the results are energizing and mesmerizing. No previous experience necessary. All welcome.

Delicious hot dinners will be provided with a vegetarian/gluten-free option available. Sweets courtesy of Mitzi’s mum. Prepare for a feast!

Lunches will consist of a wide variety of rolls/bread and salads/cold meats/cheese/eggs.Sunugal catering

Tea, coffee and fruit will be available during the day.

All participants will need to bring their own breakfast foods. 


If you have a child between the ages of 4-12, they might like to come along to camp too! For the first time, we are offering a program for the kiddies so that parents can drum and dance without stress – and also so that the next generation can meet their contemporaries in the drum/dance community and have an awesome time!

This program will provide care and a range of activities (craft, games, dance, drum etc) during class hours. Children will need to be picked up for lunch.

If you would like to offer a kid’s activity for a camp discount, email Mitzi:


On Friday evening, you will have a chance to ‘meet the teachers’. Our African artists will tell stories of their lives in Africa.

Saturday evening is a big party night! There will be a grand performance of and traditional drum, dance and song from Wassawumba and our African artists, and all camp participants will perform an en masse piece (learnt on the Saturday afternoon).

We will have a dance party to finish the night with the awesome DJ Shabba Eshun!


Mohamed Bangoura (Guinea) – drum, dundun dance
Naby Bangoura (Guinea) – dance, dundun dance
Lam Lakiz (Congo Brazzaville) – Soukous, Congolese dance

Lam’s classes will be accompanied by Congolese drummer Iglay Arnaud

Simon Lewis – drum, djembe maintenance class, balafon
Mitzi McRae – dance
Miriam Lieberman – song, yoga
Emily Cooper – Bollywood, Afro-Yoga, Tribal bellydance

Miriam LiebermanEmily CooperSimon LewisMitzi McRae

Rooms sleep 4-8 with ensuite bathrooms or 2-12 with separate purpose-built toilet and shower blocks. A sheet and mattress is provided but you will need to bring all other bedding.

Alternatively, you are welcome to pitch a tent on a grassy area under the trees!


Bedding (sleeping bag and pillow)
Breakfast food, & lunch for Friday
Dance pants!

Kyneton is 10min drive from the camp site.

Camp Samatou 2015