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

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

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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2019 MusiCamp Themes & Fees

2019 DATES!

15% EARLY BIRD registration discount before May 30!
$25 discount for additional weeks, siblings and referrals!
No additional fees or taxes charged!

July 15-19 ~ COMPOSITION & SONG ~ $285  more info

July 22-26 ~ WEST AFRICAN DRUMMING (guest artist!) ~ $325 … more info

  • Class sizes are small.
  • All-day (9am-4pm) programming with extended care available from 8:30am-6pm.
  • No formal training is required. No instrument required – just an enjoyment of music
  • Our intuitive approach to exploring sound, music, composition, the voice, and the weekly themes also functions as a great supplement to conventional music lessons
  • We also integrate crafts (instrument and mask making), backyard games, Pizza-making Wednesdays in Dufferin Grove park and other outdoor fun
  • Limited financial assistance is available on a per person basis. (Contact MusiCamp for more info)
  • 2019 Registration can be accessed here
visit our Flickr Gallery – click on the images below

MusiCamp at a glance

Composition & Song Camp

ICE CREAM! is an original composition by MusiCampers Click to learn more about it!

Have a song you want to sing? A story you want to tell? Through a series of musical games, exercises, songwriting workshops and the study of different elements of music, aspiring songwriters and singers put their ideas to music.

In a fun and practical way, campers are introduced to aspects of songwriting, like hooks, riffs, harmony, and rhythmic accompaniment, chorus-verse format, basic chord progressions, intros and outros, rhyming and storytelling – useful skills/review for even the more experienced song-writers.

Besides the tonne of musical games and other fun-in-the-park activities we do every week (including pizza-making in the park), campers will:

  • build and compose on there own instruments (diddley bos or bucket basses)
  • learn about composition and form, intros/outros, verses/choruses, hooks, accompaniment, etc.
  • explore and recognize a variety of chord progressions
  • write lyrics, compose and arrange their own songs

By the end of the week campers will have written and/or collaborated on the creation of original songs and arrangements. Kids who already have basic instrumental skills are encouraged to bring their instrument. The week ends with a world premiere performances of our songwriter’s compositions!

Check out our MusiCamp Flickr Gallery for more pics of MusiCamp

6-week Georgian Singing Workshop

A 6 Week Workshop led by Shalva Makharashvili and Andrea Kuzmich
WEDNESDAY 7-9 PM April 17 to May 22 2019.
at the MusiCamp studio
$250 for new participants; $200 for repeat students
More info or register by email through our contact page


 
Have a quick peek at workshop leader, Shalva and his children singing with Basiani, a traditional Georgian choir. (Click on the photo.)

 

IMG_1558Take part in a Georgian singing workshop and join the thousands of voices before you that have contributed to this millennia-old folk tradition. Georgia, is located in the mountainous region of the Caucasus, the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Its ancient singing tradition, known for its distinctive and haunting harmonies, was recognized by UNESCO as an intangible masterpiece of humanity in 2001. The 3-part form defies Western conventions and comes in a plethora of musical dialects, reflecting the diverse geographical and cultural makeup of the land.

 

Canada’s foremost experts in Georgian polyphony, Georgian-born singer/multi-instrumentalist Shalva Makharashvili and his Toronto-born partner, Andrea Kuzmich, will be leading the workshop. In this series, we’ll take a look a variety of regional styles and song-types (harvest/work/travel/table/love songs and chants). At the end of the 6 weeks we’ll have a little performance for friends and family… and a little toast – to keep it in the Georgian tradition…

To register for the workshop send us an email through the contact us page.

For some samples of Georgian songs have a listen to Shalva’s and Andrea’s trio soundcloud playlist or visit their website ZARI

 

Ori Shalva & co. (aka the Makharashvili Family)

Over the centuries family ensemble singing has played a significant role in keeping traditional Georgian polyphonic singing alive. And true to this preserving nature, the Makharashvili family continues this practice despite being relocated half way around the world, over 9000 km from the well springs of the tradition. While both Shalva Makharashvili and Andrea Kuzmich are professional musicians (with over 50 years of experience between the 2 of them – you can read their individual bios below) the Makharashvili family unit started performing in private settings for marked family and calendric events. As the children aged and developed more skills and repertoire, the family found themselves in more performance opportunities, whether they be in cameo appearances on stages in Toronto (see the video below from 2010), NY and Georgia, or in more recent features such as Harbourfront’s Body Percussion Festival (see video below), Toronto’s Annual Black Out Party 2018, or Toronto’s First Georgian Cultural festival, Sept 30 2018. (More performance and videos are also listed under Gabo’s Trio, an offshoot of Ori Shalva.)

By the way, Shalva is a traditional Georgian name and is the name of two of the members of the ensemble. Ori means 2 – which is why we call the group Ori Shalva & co.

Have a look at some videos over the years, on stage (at Small World Music and Harbourfront Centre), in Georgia (with Basiani Ensemble at a grape harvesting festival)  and in Tobermory. Also have a read to learn more about Shalva or Andrea’s professional work.

 

 

SHALVA MAKHARASHVILI, a Georgian native, has been performing the music of his homeland for over 35 years. Starting with the panduri (a 3-stringed indigenous lute) at the age of 4, his musical education included training in voice, tradition and classical choral repertoire, classical guitar, and traditional dance. As a young man he toured Georgia and the former Soviet Union in a number of choirs as featured soloist and instrumentalist (panduri and guitar player). Besides panduri, Shalva plays changi (harp), chonguri (a 4-stringed lute) and chiboni (bagpipes). Since his immigration to Toronto he has received a number of awards and featured on CBC radio. He was a soloist in and used to lead the community choir Darbazi and sings with his professional trio ZARI as well as numerous ad hoc groups within the Georgian community. He also chants numerous times per week in services for the Georgian Orthodox Church. He maintains close ties with the traditional singing community in Georgia, where he is highly respected as a singer as well as for his work in disseminating Georgian

ANDREA KUZMICH is an award winning singer, a teacher, an ethnomusicologist and music facilitator. Her eclectic musical activities defy her conventional classical beginnings where by the age of 16 she was a cellist with the McMaster Symphony and had sung in four different Canadian Opera Company productions. Andrea has also: sung in a Congolese Gospel Choir; studied Balkan folk music, South Indian singing and drumming, and West African drumming; performed in Big Bands, small jazz combos, as well as contemporary new music ensembles; taken a leading role in the practice of ridnyj holos (Ukrainian traditional singing) in Canada through Kosa Kolektiv and Kalendar (formerly KalynDar); become one of Canada’s foremost practitioners and academics of Georgian polyphony; sings in the professional Georgian trio ZARI and was also a lead soloist in the community choir DARBAZI. Inspired by this diversity, she started MusiCamp in 2013, a Toronto studio that hosts workshops, kids camps and facilitates musical events. She can be heard on Veryan Weston’s “Make” (2017); Tanya Tagaq’s “Retribution” (2016); DoVira’s “DoVira” (2016); Kalendar’s “Sichen” (2016); ZARI’s “ZARI” (2008); Whitney’s Smith Big Steam Band’s “Swing’s Mistress” (1998); movie soundtrack “The Witch” (2015); documentary soundtrack “What is Love” (2016), among others.

 

Testimonials and Endorsements

SavvyMom.ca endorsed MusiCamp as one of Toronto’s Best!

In 2014 SavvyMom.ca listed MusiCamp as one of Toronto’s best Summer Day Camp! Click the image to visit their page.

Why weren’t there camps like this when we were kids? Located in a home studio close to Dufferin Grove Park, class sizes are small and no prior musical experience or skill is required. MusiCamp summer sessions include: The Blues, Singer-Songwriter, West African Drumming. Best For: Kids 8-14 who march to their own beat.

SavvyMomdotca Endorsment

Click the image to visit Savvymom.ca

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Testimonials from Parents

From Lesley, chlid attended Roots Music week 2014

My 9 year old tried banjo for the first time at MusiCamp. Almost a year later, he’s still playing! A small, friendly space where kids’ enthusiasm for music is nurtured. 

From Jason, child attended West African Drumming week 2013

Our daughter attended a drumming week two summers ago that she still talks about.  The experience gave her confidence, and exposure to music and stories she had never had before.  We were really impressed by the camp and the performance at the end of the week. Highly recommend.

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From Julie, child attended Roots Week 2014 and Composition & Song Week 2014

Great camp! Awesome music, lots of attention – my daughter loved it!

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From Liz, child attended West African Drumming week 2013

MusiCamp was an amazing experience for my son Cyrus. Not only did he learn from the fabulous instructors in the West African Drumming week, but the experience gave him the confidence to perform a drumming/vocal solo in front of his entire school. He loved all the activities especially the instrument making and the musical walks to Dufferin Grove Park. The week culminated in a glorious recital under the grapevines. I was immensely proud of what these young musicians had accomplished in only one week! Bravo MusiCamp!

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From Orsolya, children attended Roots Music week 2014

Lily and Oliver just finished a week of Music Camp. They loved the experience and they actually learned so much in such a short time!

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From Diana, children attended Blues week 2013 and 2014

My two boys attended the Blues week last year and the year before and it was amazing experience for them.
I am very glad that I will have the opportunity to bring my children again and they are very happy to go! Andrea is a very professional singer and a dedicated teacher! We were very surprised that in such a short time the kids have learned so many songs. In the end of week they performed together (in multi-part harmonies!) and they sounded beautiful.
I am highly recommending this camp!

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Front Page Headline: WE GOT THE BEAT, 

Bloor West Villager Aug 2013