West African Drumming Camp

 
This week is all about the GROOVE! and making ancient West African Drumming fun, accessible and challenging, all at the same time.

  • NO DRUM NEEDED!
  • explore polyrhythms on djembes and dunun (a series of double headed drums played on their side)
  • build instruments (diddley bos or bucket basses) and explore aspects of rhythm and acoustics
  • sing songs and learn dances relevant to the rhythms
  • and tap into the ancient knowledge of the West African Mande musical tradition

This goes way beyond a drum circle! Campers will not only learn patterns on djembe and develop skills to solo but will also learn the interlocking patterns on the dunun – the soul of the West African Mande drumming tradition. These rhythms can be extremely challenging, even to pro drummers!

But with the guidance of guest instructor Anna Melnikoff, West African Drumming week at MusiCamp is set up to engage and teach the absolute inexperienced while at the same time provide on-going challenges for advanced drummers. And of course, at the end of the week, campers will perform for friends and family!

End of Week Performance 2013

Below is a slightly edited video is from our 2013 week-end performance of the children-composed rhythm “Timbaraba.”

NOTE: Because the speakers of computers and portable devices aren’t designed to capture the bass, to hear the dunun pattern you need to listen to this video with headphones or good speakers.

Although it is difficult to see, at the back left are 3 double headed drums known as dunun. The dunun play a complex interlocking rhythm upon which the djembes play another rhythm or solo.

Check out our MusiCamp Flickr Gallery for more pics of MusiCamp

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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.

West African Drumming Camp 2014

Drumming 2013.

WEST AFRICAN DRUMMING $275

July 28 – Aug 1, 9 am – 4 pm (extended care available)
Aug 18 – Aug 22, 9 am – 4 pm (extended care available)

…. Special guest artist for the week includes AnnA Melnikoff and her orchestra of drums!

NO DRUM NEEDED! Special guest artist AnnA Melnikoff (along with her orchestra of drums!) will be co-hosting this week. Campers will have a chance to play the polyrhythmic accompaniment on 3 bass drums (known as dunun) and develop riffs and patterns on djembes. Focusing on rhythms that accompany rights of passage, participants will build masks and also explore the meaning of the drums and the rhythms from the very ancient Mande tradition. A drum will be made available to every camper.

Click on the gallery above to view more pictures and some video of West African Drumming camp 2013.

Click HERE to see MusiCamp campers perform in 2013

Click HERE to learn more about West African Drumming at MusiCamp