ECOLE de DJEMBE with Anna Melnikoff

Are you interested in taking your hand-drumming practice to the next level? Ecole de Djembe is now offering a weekly drop-in djembe and dundun class every Monday evening, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm. All levels are welcome.

Students will be introduced to beautiful traditional polyrhythms from the Mande culture of West Africa (Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire), played on djembe and dunduns. We will start each class by focusing on basic and foundational techniques, followed by djembe and dundun accompaniments, simple solos and variations, improvisational techniques, cultural context, and occasionally traditional songs. Typically we will work on a single rhythm over several weeks. At the end of each class, students can make a clean recording of whatever we’ve learned.

Cost for a single drop-in class is $20, or you can pre-register for 6 classes for $100. Bring your own djembe if you have one; djembes and dunduns also available for student use if needed.If you’ve never tried hand drumming before, or your only exposure so far has been a drum circle, these classes are an excellent way to deepen your knowledge, skill and comprehension of the complexity of world rhythmaculture. Not only is it fun, it also brings numerous health and spiritual/emotional benefits.

Drumming has been clinically proven to:
– reduce blood pressure, tension, anxiety and stress
– boost immune system response
– assist in controlling chronic pain
– release negativity, emotional blockages and trauma
– improve focus, symptoms of ADD and dyslexia

Additionally, at the community level, hand drumming helps to create a sense of connectedness to Spirit, Self, and to others. In traditional Mande culture, the word ‘djembe’ is said to mean, literally, ‘to come together in joy/celebration’, and drumming is an integral part of all traditional community health.

About the instructor:
Shortly after Anna Melnikoff began studying advanced metaphysics, meditation, and vibrational healing in 1996, she stumbled upon her first djembe and was called to study traditional Mande drumming. Her love affair with traditional Mande polyrhythms led her to Guinea, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and all over North America in search of teachers. Her formative training was with the lineage of Malinke master drummer Famoudou Konate and his extended family.
Having experienced the highest potential of transformative mastery in her West African studies, Anna knows that study of the djembe will be a lifelong practice for her. Aside from teaching weekly classes both north of the city and out of her downtown studio, she currently teaches djembe at York University, where she began training the first York Mande Drum Ensemble in 2003. She’s been relentless in her commitment to accurately transmitting traditional djembe and dundun teaching to her diverse students. As a teacher, she’s gifted in her ability to translate traditional Mande musical and cultural concepts for novices; in a sense, preparing her students for a deeper level of traditional study with African teachers. Anna has been instrumental in planting the seeds of traditional djembe music in the GTA and beyond, regularly organizing and sponsoring workshops with visiting master drummers in the GTA.

Anna Melnikoff with Salimata Diabate in Burkina Faso, 2011.
Anna has shared the stage with a number of master drummers over the years, and she’s a regular performer with the Lua Shayenne Dance Company, and a member of Akwaba Cultural Exchange, with whom she performs traditional Ivoirian drum and dance. She also formed a few groups – Bolokelen, from 1999 to 2006; Moussoufolila, an all-female group formed in 2010; and Saboumando, formed in 2015.
The training in metaphysics, meditation and vibrational healing has continued along with the drumming – Anna has been teaching advanced vibrational systems of Power, Energy and Healing work in the form of practical training in the use of the mind as an instrument of frequency for healing and manifestation.
This year, for the first time, Anna will also be teaching at the Ontario Womyn’s Drum Camp, from June 16-19 in Haliburton ON. She is also a certified meditation, vibrational healing, and elemental shamanism instructor with the Training in Power Academy, and offers introductory 4-week courses on meditation, vibrational healing, and advanced metaphysics at her studio.

Instructor Anna Melnikoff has been teaching the Mande Drum Ensemble course at York University since 2003.
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Didgori in Canada

The Georgians are coming!
It is a very rare opportunity that 6 members of Didgori will be touring Canada from late May to mid June 2019. The last and only time a choir from Georgia was touring Canada was in the 1970s. This time, Didgori will not just be performing but also hosting singing workshops, with stops in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and other parts or Eastern Canada. Scroll down to view their Canadian tour schedule to date.
 
The award winning Didgori ensemble has been performing internationally since 2004 and has toured Russia, Turkey, UK, France, Switzerland, Israel, Poland, Uzbekistan, the Czech Republic and Latvia. Declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001, the millennial old Georgian polyphonic singing tradition, with its close harmonies and untempered scales, is often described as transformatively visceral. It features 3-part singing in a variety of styles, from hauntingly melismatic lyrical genres to exploding counterpoint.

 

Have a listen to a sampler track compiled from Didgori’s most recent CD Singing as a Lifestyle


 

As can be heard from the variety of songs in the above sampler, Didgori are masters of a variety of Georgian musical styles, the wide variety of which reflects the diverse and complex landscape that has housed the Georgian people for thousands of years. Didgori is dedicated to the traditions of their ancestors through mastery and popularization of Georgian polyphonic folk songs and chants, and to the hope that their efforts will inspire future generations. The name, Didgori, honours a historical battle in 1121 that helped reunite Georgia and ushered in a period of growth in arts and culture.
Watch them perform (and even dance!) an Abkhaz round dance in the video above or listen to a performance of a chant in the audio player below.

 

Current Listing of Performances and Workshops

THE GEORGIANS ARE COMING!

Don’t miss this very rare & exceptional opportunity to witness a millenia-old singing tradition from one of the world’s smallest & oldest surviving cultures.

People who are in the know are super excited. This sort of visit by 6 Georgians singers from the Didgori Folk Ensemble has never happened before in Canada. According to the long-time World Music Columnist for The Wholenote magazine, Andrew Timar,

It will be a huge moment for Georgian music in Canada, an opportunity that happens perhaps once in a lifetime (Andrew Timar, The Wholenote).

Didgori’s tour starts in Edmonton as part of a classical choral music festival and makes its way eastward. Thanks to co-presenters MusiCamp, Clay & Paper Theatre and Folk Camp Canada, Didgori will have their featured concert in Toronto on June 7 2019, 8 pm at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity St Paul’s Centre (427 Bloor St West). If you’re in Kingston, you also have the opportunity to see them on June 10 12:15 pm, as part of the Choir Festival Series at St George’s Cathedral (270 King St E).

JUST AS IT IS OLD, IT IS HARD TO DEFINE…

No, we are not talking about Georgia in the states. We are talking about the country that is situated in the Caucasian mountains, that borders the Black Sea and shares borders with Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. It is situated on the cusp of Asia and Europe, and it’s likeness to either is often debated.

Interestingly, there are no migratory myths for the Georgians (whose population is approximately 3.7 million). They are indigenous to the Caucasus. They call themselves Kartveli and their land Sakartvelo. Compared to neighbouring countries (and perhaps due to its mountainous terrain) Georgia is known to have 17 distinct sub-ethnic groups, each boasting its own musical dialect. (More academic info on Georgian Polyphony can be found here.)

Perhaps this is why Georgian traditional music is also hard to define. It is certainly vocal heavy but it seems to meld together all sorts of appealing sonic qualities that makes it amenable to fit into festivals featuring a variety of styles – from classical and early music to middle eastern, to folk, world music and even improvised and contemporary new music! Truth is, the best way to understand the various appeal and the uniqueness of the music is to experience it live, so check out their tour info (Didgori in Canada, Didgori in Toronto) and see if they are performing near you! (You can also follow that link for some sound bites and videos of the ensemble.)

A CHANCE TO SING WITH THEM …

To further the exceptional nature of their visit, they are also hosting workshops where you have the chance to join in on the thousands of voices before you that have contributed to this millennia-old folk tradition. In Toronto, they are hosting 2 workshops:

  • Saturday June 8 5-7 pm at St Vladimir Institute ( 620 Spadina Ave, just S of Harbord)
  • Sunday June 9 11-4pm at MusiCamp Studio (11 Cobourg Ave, near Dufferin Mall)

But there are also workshops being held in Edmonton, Winnipeg and parts of Quebec. For more info, please visit the Didgori in Canada page. And don’t forget to tell everyone:

“THE GEORGIANS ARE COMING”

#TheGeorgiansAreComing

#DidgoriFolkinCanada

 

DANCING IN ALL DIRECTIONS Workshops and Community Performance

MusiCamp, The Dundas West Festival and Lula Lounge present:

A FREE FAMILY DANCE WORKSHOP SERIES,

culminating into a community performance piece facilitated by “THE GRACES”, a mother & daughter interdisciplinary performance team

PARTICIPANTS OF ALL AGES WILL LEARN A DANCE ROUTINE BLENDING BASIC POW WOW STEPS, BREAK DANCE, CAPOEIRA, AND METIS JIGGING.

 

WORKSHOPS
SATURDAY MAY 25TH 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Lula Lounge 1585 Dundas St W
THURSDAY MAY 30TH 5 – 6 PM Dufferin Grove Park
SUNDAY JUNE 2ND 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Lula Lounge 1585 Dundas St W
WEDNESDAY JUNE 5TH 6:30 – 7:30 PM Dufferin Grove Park
(Suggested donation $5 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.)

 

PERFORMANCE-WORKSHOP
SATURDAY JUNE 8TH 12-12:30 PM Dundas West Fest 2019
at the MUSICAMP YOUTH STAGE in the KIDS ZONE 1496 Dundas St W.

 

THE GRACES are Rosalind and Otayo Grace: a Mother Daughter Interdisciplinary performance team, who use poetry, dance and vocables (sound) to tell real life stories.

Didgori in Toronto

DIDGORI tickets on sale today, June 7, at the door. CASH ONLY. Students/Seniors must bring ID. Doors Open 7:30 PM

MusiCamp in partnership with Clay & Paper Theatre and Folk Camp Canada presents:

DIDGORI IN TORONTO


Friday June 7 2019 8 PM
THE CONCERT
at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity St Paul’s Centre 427 Bloor St West
$30/$15 student
TICKETS GO ON SALE START OF MAY

Saturday June 8 2019 5-7pm
OPEN WORKSHOP
St Vladimir Institute ( 620 Spadina Ave, just S of Harbord)
$25 at the door (strongly suggested but no one will be turned away)

Sunday June 9 2019 11-4pm
WORKSHOP INTENSIVE
advanced singers, limited to 12 participants at MusiCamp Studio, Toronto $100 contact MusiCamp to register
 

Didgori in Toronto Press Release

For more information about Didgori, for audio/video, or to learn of other performances as part of their Canada tour, visit Didgori in Canada.

 

 

Reminiscing the Dundas West Fest…

It’s time to start thinking of summer and I’m remembering the great time we had at the Dundas West Fest last couple of years!
(If interested you can view the 2018 line up or 2017 line up. The 2019 lineup will be updated soon!)

LOOKING FOR PERFORMERS:  know of any talented youth in the Dundas West neighbourhood? Have them fill out our CALL TO PERFORM!

And mark the date for this year’s festival SATURDAY JUN 8 2019

We’re super excited with MusiCamp’s stage, the talented youth that will perform, the FREE West African Drumming Workshop 1:25-2:30 and the FREE Community Dance workshops series culminating in a workshop-performance demonstration at 12pm!

 

 

 

 

FREE African Drumming Workshop Jun 8 2019 at 1:25 PM

West African Drumming Workshop open to kids and their parents!

June 8 2019 1:25 pm to 2:30 pm at the MusiCamp YOUTH STAGE at
the Dundas West Festival, 1496 Dundas St West, just west of Dufferin

 

This goes way beyond a drum circle!
West African Drum instructor Anna Melnikoff will teach workshop participants patterns and licks on djembe and will also demonstrate the interlocking patterns on the dunun – the soul of the West African Mande drumming tradition. These rhythms can be extremely challenging, even for pro drummers! And with Anna’s guidance, this workshop is set up to engage and teach the absolute inexperienced while at the same time provide on-going challenges for advanced drummers.

 

In this workshop kids (& parents) will:

  • learn the difference between 3 basic slaps (slap, tone & bass) on the djembe
  • have a chance to practice these on the drum with a fun etude that develops these rudiments
  • have a chance to play the dunun
  • learn a basic accompaniment pattern
  • have a chance to solo
And we’ll even do some singing! Have listen to us at the 2015 Dundas West Festival.

 

The video to your left is from MusiCamp’s Summer Camps. the West African Drumming week. (Note: If you want to hear the groovy bass you’ll have to use headphones.)

Mande drumming is based on three stand-up drums called the dunun that play three interlocking rhythms often thought of as the melody. The djembes play accompanying patterns on top of this and are also used for soloing. To learn more about the Mande drumming tradition follow this link or if you are interested in our West African Drumming summer camp click here.

Didgori in Toronto

MusiCamp in partnership with Clay & Paper Theatre and Folk Camp Canada presents:

DIDGORI IN TORONTO


Friday June 7 2019 8 PM
THE CONCERT
at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity St Paul’s Centre 427 Bloor St West
$30/$15 student
TICKETS GO ON SALE START OF MAY

Saturday June 8 2019 5-7pm
OPEN WORKSHOP
St Vladimir Institute ( 620 Spadina Ave, just S of Harbord)
$25 at the door (strongly suggested but no one will be turned away)

Sunday June 9 2019 11-4pm
WORKSHOP INTENSIVE
advanced singers, limited to 12 participants at MusiCamp Studio, Toronto $100 contact MusiCamp to register
 

Didgori in Toronto Press Release

For more information about Didgori, for audio/video, or to learn of other performances as part of their Canada tour, visit Didgori in Canada.

 

 

GABO’s TRIO

GABO’s TRIO is Gabriel Makharashvili, Andrea Kuzmich and Mario Morello. Formerly known as Trio From Canada, they first formed in 2016 to sing at the biennial Symposium on Traditional Polyphony in Georgia, Eurasia. They represented two polyphonic traditions that are practiced in Toronto: Georgian polyphony and Ukrainian ridnyj holos. Towards the end of their 2016 trip, after singing at many Georgian family tables, they started being called Gabo’s Trio. Andrea – an ethnomusicologist and performing musician – and her 10-year-old son, Gabriel, are both part of the Makharashvili family, a singing family that performs Georgian polyphony for private family and calendric events and cameo appearances on stages in Toronto, New York and Georgia. Mario, an ethnomusicologist, Balkan-singing specialist and student of Georgian polyphony, will join Andrea and Gabo to sing songs from the Makharashvili repertoire and elsewhere.

UPDATE: Since returning from Georgia in the fall of 2018, GABO’sTRIO released a small EP. Check it out:

 
They also have another video from live TV and other moments in pictures we hope to share soon!
 

   
 
During our 2016 trip, we were honoured to be so well received in Georgia…
 
especially to be asked to sing live on Georgian TV…
 
and Georgian Radio.

 
The christening of the name GABO’s TRIO happened in the fall of 2016, towards the end of our trip, at this most hospitable home in celebration of the grape harvest.


 
 

Past Shows of GABO’s TRIO in Toronto 2018!!

Sunday Sept 30 2018 3-5pm Mel Lastman Square Discover Geogia – Cradle of Wine
Sunday Oct 14 2018 2-9pm 8th Annual Ossington Village Alleyway Party
Friday Oct 19 2018 7pm Poetics of Food and Song
Thursday Oct 25 2018 6-9pm Drom Taberna