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.
1302 Trentham Rd, Kyneton VIC
Camp Samatou is the best West African drum and dance camp in Victoria – great food and excellent tuition.
Guest teachers 2017…
Naby is a resident of California. We are bringing him all the way to Melbourne for you! Read our interview with him here.
Naby Bangoura learned traditional West African dance during village ceremonies and celebrations in Guinée, West Africa. At age fifteen, Naby started dancing professionally with Les Merveilles de Guinée. In 1998, Les Merveilles brought him to perform in the United States. Known for his energetic and fluid dance style and soaring spirit, Naby has been performing and teaching high energy West African dance, Guinée style, in dance studios and dance workshops all over the world.
Mohamed Bangoura (“Bangouraké”)
Djembe Fola, Guinea
He is described in Guinea as the man with “Hands of Fire”, “the Lion of Matam”, already regarded by many connoisseurs as one of the best amongst the Master Drummers of this world. His life totally dedicated to the music and his traditions, mesmerizing audiences with his out of this world skills, talent, power and virtuosity. Bangouraké is a true master through initiation and ability.
Mohamed was born in Guinea, West Africa in a village called Bourramya-Koubya. Mohamed started to play at the age of 5 years old and has been surrounded by music throughout his life.
Dancer, Congo Brazzaville
Djembe fola & Balafonist, Mali
Bassidi Koné is of Bwa ethnicity from the Segou region in Mali. Born into a Griot family, Bassidi grew up beside his father’s instrument, the balafon (a traditional, wooden xylophone), instilling in him his forefathers’ traditional village songs and rhythms. He is now renowned world-wide for his djembe and balafon skills.
Bassidi tours internationally and collaborates with diverse ensemble groups and musicians from varied musical backgrounds, delving into Afro-jazz, latin, reggae, classical and contemporary genres. His skilful artistry shows his ability to adapt these varied genres with his own, while honouring the integrity of his own heritage.
New Addition: Clair Okamoto
Dancer (Guinea style), Tokyo
We are very lucky to have this half-Australian, half-Japanese dancer also teaching workshops at our camp. She is an established dancer who spends 6 months in Africa every year (for over 12 years).
Clair was raised in a musical household and has been surrounded by rhythm all her life. At the age of 17 she set on her international journey of discovery, quickly synthesizing her many influences into a new style which she developed and toured with. In 2000 her travels took her to Guinea, West Africa, where she fell in love with culture, the music and the dance. Since then she has returned to Guinea each year for several months to live and study. Her talents being recognized by the widely regarded Les Merveilles du Guinea professional dance troupe, who she trains and performs with as the only foreign dancer.
Register for camp
CLICK ON THE ORANGE TEXT BELOW TO PAY ONLINE
- Deposit $100
- Full camp $420
- Sat & Sun only $290
- Full camp, U16 $370
- Kids Camp, full $287
- Single day all workshops $120 (please enquire if you’d like to add meals)
- Spectator full camp (includes accom and food, no classes) $162
- Samatou Party (Saturday night show) $20 for visitors, free for campers. Show plus dinner $40
- Djembe hire $5/day (dunduns first-in-best-dressed, no hire fee)
*Bookings will not be confirmed until a deposit is paid.
- It is also possible to come for two days. Send us a message if your preference is not listed above.
- You are welcome to pitch a tent – there are lovely open grassy areas. The venue charges the same price for dormitory/camping.
Any questions – call me!
Mitzi 0439 334 197
Please fill in the contact form below to indicate
- dietary requirements
- if you are interested in helping out in the kitchen/kids camp for a discount
- if you would like to be accommodated in a dormitory with particular individuals
- anything else we need to know
If you are registering your child for kids camp, please include your child’s age and parent’s phone numbers.
What to expect at Camp...
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.
Tea, coffee and fruit will be available during the day.
All participants will need to bring their own breakfast foods and Friday lunch.
This year, we have a professional masseuse offering her services! Claire Adamson will be available for relaxation massage, remedial massage or myotherapy (30-60minute sessions) on site at discounted rates. You can pre-book or just book in at camp!
30 minutes $59 camp price $49
45 minutes $74 camp price $64
60 minutes $89 camp price $79
Claire runs her own business in Melbourne and can be contacted on 0478 535 412 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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 with special guests Mohamed Bangoura, Naby Bangoura and Bassidi Koné, then a Congolese drum & dance performance by Lam Lakiz and Iglay Arnaud. We will also be treated to the melodious Kora (West African harp) and voice of Miriam Lieberman.
Too finish the night we have the awesome DJ Shabba Eshun!
Mohamed Bangoura (Guinea) – djembe, dundun, dundun dance
Naby Bangoura (Guinea) – dance, dundun dance
Lam Lakiz (Congo Brazzaville) – Soukous, Congolese dance, Afro beat
Bassidi Koné (Mali) – djembe, dundun, balafon
Lam’s classes will be accompanied by Congolese drummer Iglay Arnaud
Simon Lewis – djembe, dundun
Mitzi McRae – dance
Jacqueline Gawler – song
Emily Cooper – Bollywood, Afro-Yoga, Afro-bellydance
Clair Okamoto – dance
Rooms sleep 4-8 with ensuite bathrooms. 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!
WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING
Bedding (sleeping bag and pillow)
Breakfast food, & lunch for Friday
Kyneton is 10min drive from the camp site.
If you have a child between the ages of 4-12, they might like to come along to camp too! We offer a fun 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 including art & craft, games, dance, drum and singing workshops during class hours. Children will need to be picked up for lunch and when workshops are finished for the day (around 5pm)