Camp Samatou

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Samatou 2022: 11-13th November


Nb Bookings are currently CLOSED FOR DANCERS.
We can still accommodate more drummers but we are limited by the size of the room for dance classes. If the weather forecast is fine we can dance outside (and open up bookings 1 week prior to camp). If you would like to go on the waiting list for that please email


Anglesea Valley Lodge
1.5h drive from Melbourne, the site is set amid natural bushland. Swimming pool, kangaroos, comfortable dormitory accommodation.

635 Wensleydale Station Rd, Wensleydale


Range of dormitory configurations including 6 x 4-bed cabins, several 10-bed rooms and some much larger dorms. Mattresses provided. You will need to bring all other bedding.

You are also welcome to pitch a tent on a grassy area under the trees!


On Friday evening we will have a performance by Miriam Lieberman – original African-inspired songs accompanied by the kora (West African harp). On Saturday get ready for some fire! African artists will team up with advanced students to put on a drum & dance show. Then it’s your turn 😊  – the famous Camp Samatou Talent Show.


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 of activities during class hours so that parents can join in classes while children are also having a great time.


We ask all attendees to carry out a RAT test prior to coming to camp and stay home if they are feeling unwell.

Classes will be outdoors where possible. Accommodation will be spread throughout the site to maintain maximum space between individuals.


This camp is fully catered, except for Friday lunch (BYO). Nutritious and wholesome breakfast, lunch and dinner plus morning and afternoon tea.

Please specify upon booking whether you have specific dietary requirements (our chef is very accommodating)


Each day will packed full of workshops – you’re welcome to attend whichever you like

  • 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!
  • Djembe 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 West African rhythms.
  • Dundun dance This is combining simple dance moves with playing dunduns (stick drums)
  • Song Miriam Lieberman (Sydney) has a rich history of teaching and performing African and African-inspired music
  • Afrobeat dance Afrobeat music blends West African musical styles with jazz, soul, funk and electronic music. It’s all about having fun!
  • Brazil meets West Africa Explore how Samba can be reinterpreted with West African instruments, Djembe and Duns, to create an exciting new sound.
  • American tribal-style bellydance combines folkloric steps from Eqypt and other North African countries. The workshop will include some fun variations and formations so you can immediately start improvising and having fun with it. If you play zills, bring em!

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.


Bedding (sleeping bag and pillow)
Lunch for Friday
Drinks for evening party
Dance pants!

Nb bookings are currently only open for FULL CAMP. We have limited spots – if they don’t fill up we will open bookings for 1 or 2 days. Early bird prices until 16th September.


Mohamed Bangoura (“Bangouraké”)
Djembe Fola, Guinea

Mohamed Bangoura is described in Guinea as the man with “Hands of Fire” or “the Lion of Matam”

African man hugging his drumHe is 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.

Jean-Marc Agbogba
Dancer, Ivory Coast

Jean-Marc Agbogba is a highly accomplished dancer, musician and choreographer from Ivory Coast, West Africa. He has toured the world as part of the MOTHER AFRICA CIRCUS and came to Australia in 2010. Jean-Marc now resides in Adelaide where he has set up a new dance company by the name of “Sun of Africa Dance Group.”

Marc is renowned for his masked dancing, a very colourful and exciting, high-energy dance, using beautiful, authentic, Ivory Coast masks. These pieces are typically accompanied by a drum ensemble and sometimes African flute.

Kwame Tosuma
Dancer, Ghana
Having performed throughout Ghana, Mali, Benin and South Africa and now living in Australia, Kwame is emerging as one of Australia’s most talented in the traditional and afro-contemporary dance forms. Like many of Ghana’s top dancers, Kwame began practising his art on the street. Finding a passion for dance he was picked up and rigorously trained by the renowned Joe Mensah, and later joined the Namo Ale Cultural Troupe, where he learned the intricacies of traditional Ghanaian dance.
Adama Doumbouya
Drummer, Ivory Cast
Adama is an experienced Master Djembe player currently living in Brisbane. He has one parent from Guinea and one parent from Ivory Coast and has an excellent understanding of drumming from both countries. 
At Camp Samatou, Adama will teach traditional Ivoirian djembe rhythms and songs that accompany them. He has a long history of working with Jean Marc Agbogba and will play for his dance classes. Fire!!
Mami Hirayama
Dancer, Japan
Mami teaches and performs Guinean style African dance classes in her home town of Chiba and is coming all the way from Japan for Camp Samatou! Mami originally taught hip-hop and Pilates than became interested in African dance. She has travelled to Guinea and to California to study with the masters. She has been to visit us in Australia twice and has worked closely with Melbourne Djembe. At camp she will teach beginner and int/adv classes.
Mami has a thriving drum and dance business in Japan called Africa Sya
Michael Boase
Drummer, Perth
Michael left high school in his teens to join an Afro-Brazilian percussion band, marking the beginning of a non conventional career in music, inspired primarily by African based music genres. Despite coming from the isolated city of Perth, West Australia, Michael has consistently been determined to continue learning, teaching and performing on a full time basis with a strong belief that an artistic culture is something we must work at consistently (at home) to make it creative, vibrant and living. Michael has travelled to many countries seeking out the best teachers and touring in bands, during which he had the opportunity to study in Brazil, taking part in the famous Rio Carnaval in the massive samba drum schools.


*Int/adv level drummers are welcome to play for dance classes. This is an excellent opportunity to learn how the music fits with the dance, and build up your strength for playing hard and fast.

What did people say about Camp Samatou 2019?

“It’s all over too soon…
Thank you all for an incredible camp as always!
What a beautiful community we have”


“Thank you so much for making each camp so rich with pure joy and pure power of good vibes, wholesome food, amazing teachers and heartfelt hugs. And thanks to all the lovely people who make it such a wonderfully fun and safe space to experience the limits of our physical, mental and emotional being.

I hold you both very dear and thank you for your energy, patience and commitment to me as your student and for helping me unleash my own personal joy and creativity.

You have given me a sense of home and I will forever love you and the rest of this amazingly talented, vibrant and warm community”


“FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART 💟I want to thank you Mitzi and Simon for this amazing Camp, and all the awesome teachers who enriched our minds and souls with new inspiration, thank you
Loved all the people I met, who LOVE the RHYTHM as I do! You guys rock. Let your hands dance and your soul smile”


“Kia ora te whānau!

What an amazing four days of rhythmic energy!!! Resting in the pure bliss of dance exhaustion I am so full of gratitude to Mitzi and Simon for the amazing work you’ve done to build this massive African Dance community in Melbourne so much that it can viably support such an excellent quality camp for all of Australaisa and the Pacific! I hope to see you both in Aotearoa more!”


“Thank you to Mitzi, Simon and all the gang for a terrific camp. You are amazing and I will be back again next year. Please bring classes to Geelong.”


“Thanks very much Mitzi McRae and the team for the fantastic and fun filled entertainment camp with an outstanding extraordinary dancers 💃 and absolutely amazing drummers 🥁 I love it 💖

Delicious food and energetic community. Thanks for your support and hospitality 🙏 I really appreciate it.

An unforgettable unique experience 👏😊 Thanks again Mitzi ☺️”


“thank you so much for such a special weekend. my heart is so full of happiness, inspiration, and gratitude. I think it’s even incredible you do a survey asking for feedback post the event! whilst it’s almost impossible to please everyone entirely, there was so much connection and joy shared in community and at the end of the day that’s way more important. endless love! x”


“A big thank you to Mitzi for providing such an awesome fun loving and inclusive space, to dance, drum and learn new skills and moves with great teachers. We just love this camp.”


“Thank you so much for Camp Samatou!!! You guys have created and continue to build on such an amazing community of teachers and students. I feel very lucky!!!”


“I’m so in awe of Mitzi’s energy level and organising skills: it was easy to communicate to her before the camp about logistical details. I loved meeting her various family members; they are so inclusive. I very much appreciated the healthy and nutritious food and of course the delicious deserts. The camp spot is beautiful and the class spaces are sufficient but the dorms are a bit basic and good night rest is difficult. Thanks so much for this fantastic opportunity to dance and try out various new African dance styles!”


“Fantastic event! I only wish I had of heard about it sooner… I think I may have gotten wind of it last year..vaguely ?? And totally would have attended EvERY year had I fully understand what was involved! So enriching for the spirit – Thankyou Looking forward to 2020!!!”


“I think you’ve done a fantastic job. What a great community of people. I really liked the lack of ego’s which can sometimes get in the way of fun and learning. I think everyone had a great time and the majority of people I talked to will be very keen to come back next year. We will definitely come back next year if we can.”


“From the bottom of my heart thank you Mitzi, Simon and all the Melbourne djembe family and community from all around the world for this spectacular and magical camp this year. I got swept off my feet by all of you, the teachers and the kindness all around those 4 days.”