Each Friday at 5.30pm on Zoom, we have a new topic of discussion and sometimes a special guest, exploring West African culture in its depth and variety.
On 17th July Kwei Kwei Clottey will be taking a Ghanaian cooking class! He will talk about all the interesting cuisine from his native country (including fufu, kenkey and fermented meal) then will teach us how to make groundnut (peanut) soup with rice balls and Kantomire stew (spinach) w eggs.
On 24th July we have special guest Bassidi Koné Zooming in. Bassidi is a renowned Malian djembe fola and balafonist. He will discuss his musical history and play his balafon (African xylophone) for us.
Second half of session: Mitzi to run African dance basics
On 31st July Simon Lewis will explore time signatures and what they mean in relation to West African percussion. This session will help dancers and drummers alike. It is excellent preparation for next week’s class on soloing.
Second half of session: Mitzi to run African dance basics with focus on time signatures.
On 7th August Mitzi will run a session about dance solos. Ideas to explore, making your solo fit with the music and some default phrases for when your mind goes blank!
On 14th August we will have a West African singing class! Song is a very important feature of West African music. Teacher TBA.
On 26th June Simon Lewis discussed the dynamics of the drum ensemble. He outlined the relationship between the three dununs and djembes, bells and accessory instruments and how they affect the dance.
On 19th June we had special guest Amadou Suso join us. Amadou is a griot (Jali) from Gambia. He discussed his family background and the role of the Jali in west African tradition. Amadou also played his Kora (21-string west African harp).
On 12th June the class was a fundraiser for artists of Guinea. All student payments were donated to the ‘Rice for Ramadan’ campaign coordinated by Sarah-Lee Parker who is currently living in Conakry. She has raised over US$12,000 which she has used to buy rice and essentials for percussion and ballet groups in Guinea. We were able to add AU$340 to the cause.
On 29th May we had Mohamed Bangoura (Guinean djembefola) join us from Sydney to discuss the role of drum and dance ceremonies during his childhood, growing up in a west African village. He told us about his experience of initiation as a young boy and about the significance of traditional beliefs.