MusiCamp’s Homemade Diddley Bos

Surprisingly, I got the pics of the DIDDLEY BOs up earlier than I thought. Enjoy! By the way, exploring the acoustic properties of these instruments, we played with different resonators (a bottle for the instructor versus different size tins for campers), using a wooden block as a bridge or not, as well as the placement of the resonator. As you can see, campers were spectacularly creative in how they painted their diddley bos as well!



little djembe singer V1 white

We have added an additional West African Drumming Week for Aug 12-16, 9 am – 4 pm with extended care available for your music-loving, creative 8-12 year olds.

THE WEST AFRICAN DRUMMING WEEK is co-hosted by special guest artist AnnA Melnikoff and her orchestra of drums – so NO DRUM NEEDED – a drum will be made available to every camper! 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 have the chance to build masks and also explore the meaning of the drums and the rhythms from the very ancient Mande tradition. (To learn more about Mande music and what we’ll learn click here.)


Making A Diddley Bo

The video below (click the picture) demonstrates a MusiCamp homemade diddley bo, which is the precursor to the slide guitar and arguably the first blues instrument.

In a few days (or maybe a few weeks ; )  ), I’ll post the whole lot of diddley bos campers made at MusiCamp in its inaugural Blues Week!

diddley bo, musicamp, toronto, summer camp, music

click on the picture to hear what a didley bo sounds like

About Andrea


Andrea Kuzmich is an award singer, a teacher, an ethnomusicologist (PhD candidate at York University), and mother of 2 boys (5 and 10 years). Her eclectic musical activities defy her conventional classical beginnings. Besides grade 8 piano RCM, choral singing, and performances in four different Canadian Opera Company productions and as a cellist with the McMaster Symphony by the age of 16, Andrea has: 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; and specializes in the haunting and ancient harmonies of Caucasus Georgia.

Her PhD in ethnomusicology bridges all this diversity into a cohesive cross-cultural understanding of how musical practice is essential for spiritual, social, and personal well being. Andrea extends this understanding practically in MusiCamp where campers get a chance to explore the wonders and ecstatic moments of music through fun and interactive activities that overcome inhibition and intuitively develop a host of cognitive and social skills associated with music making.

What are Soundwalks? Soundscapes?


And campers will use their found ‘sound’ treasures to construct their own soundscapes, following their own inspirations and creative instincts. 


One of the things we’ll be looking at every week are soundwalks and soundscape compositions. But what are these? Before I tell  you more about these things, have a listen to the following soundscape composition called “City Symphony” from the movie August Rush – a film about a young orphaned prodigy who uses his musical gifts to find his biological parents.


Soundwalks are exactly what they sound like: walks that explore sound. You can explore the sounds everywhere – whether it’s deep in the forest of the Toronto Ravine system or in the commercial semi-industrial space behind Dufferin Mall. But what’s really interesting about sound walks is how much more you are able to see when you take the time to listen. Often  soundwalks can even uncover hidden stories about a place or a neighbourhood…


“A soundscape is any collection of sounds, almost like a painting is a collection of visual attractions,” says internationally renown Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. “When you listen carefully to the soundscape it becomes quite miraculous.”

There are soundscapes that occur organically from our natural or urban environments – that’s what the composer R. Murray Schafer is talking about above. And then there are composed soundscapes.


This piece of art is actually the musical score written by world-renown Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. The instrumentation involves an orchestra, 7 singers, and electronic sounds.

Soundscape Compositions

Soundscape compositions are compositions that rely less on what we usually expect from music, like a regularly repeated melody and/or rhythm. Instead, it explores sounds and silence, and is more directly inspired by a specific idea and/or emotion. Often this results in a musical piece that boarders on theatre or performance art. You can even see from the picture (which is an actual score by the composer R. Murray Schafer) how the score of a soundscape composition defies conventions and looks more like a piece of art than the typical musical notation.

at MusiCamp

As mentioned, at MusiCamp, our soundwalks will work like a musical treasure hunt and campers will be:

  1. instructed to search for specific types of sounds
  2. encouraged to connect the dots between what they hear and what they see to makeup a story about the place or neighbourhood they acoustically explore.

Back at the studio, campers will:

  1. create a soundscape composition imitating the sounds they heard – perhaps to tell the story of the place or neighbourhood they just explored
  2. and if campers wish to, they will also be given the opportunity to create their own score for their creation


In case you want to meet Andrea in person and hear her in some of her eclectic musical projects, there are a number of opportunities – from Traditional Georgian polyphony, to solo jazz (voice and guitar), to more contemporary jazz-oriented improvisation. All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Thursday June 13 2:30 pm 2013 the Cake Walk Game at the  Dewson Festival SOLO GUITAR AND VOICE

It’s festival time at Dewson Public School and I’ll be providing the music for the Cake Walk game — Ooooo what fun! And such awesome cakes to be won.

Friday June 14 6pm 2013 Help Us Help the Children Fundraiser with KOSA KOLEKTIV $$$/person

The womens’ Kosa Kolektiv aims to revitalize and reinterpret the entire web of peasant folklore in an urban context. In this case, the Kosa Kolektiv and Lemon Bucket Orchestra are providing the traditional unamplified entertainment for a high brow fundraiser for HUHTC, A Project of Children of Chernobyl Canadian Fund. More info can be read here

Saturday June 15 2013 11am-1pm Main Street Farmer’s Market SOLO GUITAR AND VOICE

Andrea Kuzmich performs solo voice and guitar. 132 Robinson Street (Markham Road, 2 lights north of Hwy 7 on Robinson street)

Sunday June 16 2-5 pm Day of Delight in Dufferin Grove Park with BROULALA

Produced by Clay and Paper Theatre, Day of Delight: A Toronto celebration of Love, Courtship and Desire is a inter-disciplinary mixed media event in Dufferin Grove park. Broulala, is an a cappella collective improvising ensemble that features 4-6 singers. At Day of Delight Broulala will metaphorically extend the roots of jazz and wander the parklands of Dufferin Grove to create intimate spaces of vocal improvisation based on reinterpretations of standard love songs.

Sunday June 23 3 pm Waterfront Festival at Ontario Square, Harbourfront Centre with DARBAZI

Darbazi is a 10-member chorus that sings the ancient and haunting harmonies of Caucasus Georgia For more information on the Waterfront Festival, visit

Tuesday June 25 3:30 – 7:30 pm CityPlace Farmer’s Market SOLO GUITAR AND VOICE

Andrea Kuzmich performs solo voice and guitar at Canoe Landing Park (N or Lakeshore, E of Bathurst)


Mande Traditional Music

During the West African Drumming Week, we’ll be exploring the Mande musical tradition – more of which can be read (and seen in videos) just below this introductory section on the history of Mande drumming.

In 1235, the Mande warrior king named Sunjata Keita rose to power and united many kingdoms in West Africa to establish the Mande empire and what would be a 200-year golden age of peace and prosperity in the region.

Musicians at this time were more than just musicians. They were highly valued as negotiators, praise singers and historians. This history and its musical tradition lives on in a large part of west African countries, including Mali, Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Guinea Bissau as well as parts of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

sundiata king

By the way, the story of Sunjata Keita is incredible since he was born a cripple and was exiled from his home because of this. Yet, he not only overcame his disabilities but established the prosperous Mande empire. More youth-oriented information can be read here:


How MusiCamp Will Explore Mande Music

Guest host AnnA Melnikoff , with her expertise in the Mande drumming tradition, will guide us through this week’s activities. She’ll be bringing her exquisite drums which include djembes and a set of 3 bass drums called dunun. Each dunun has its own pattern which overlap with one another to form a melody upon which djembes can solo. In this week, you’ll get a chance to learn the various dunun patterns, djembe accompaniment patterns as well as a group djembe solo.

Focusing on rhythms that accompany rights of passage, participants will also build masks and explore the meaning of the drums and the rhythms from the very ancient Mande tradition.

Check out the videos below to get a sense of what we’ll be playing in the West African Drumming Week!


An Idea of Mande Drumming in Videos


The 3 drummers standing are playing the dunun – the smallest drum is called the kenkeni, the middle drum is called the sangban and the largest drum is the dundunba. The guys sitting are playing 2 different accompaniment patterns on djembes.


This one the drum instructor is demonstrating the 3 different tones on the djembe – tone, slap and bass, or in French “ton,” “claque,” and “bas” . By the way, French is spoken in many West African countries.


This video starts with a pattern on the middle dunun drum known as the sangban. Then the kenkeni (the smallest drum) is introduced. Note it is the simplest of all the 3 drum patterns but has the most important role of keeping the beat steady. Finally the bass drum, the dundunba, is introduced.


What are Circle Songs?

Rather then try to explain what are circle songs, have a look at this video “Bobby McFerrin Spontaneous Chorus.”

This performance is like a collection of  circle songs. Bobby McFerrin sings a little repeated melody (an ostinato) and hands it over to a group of singers. Then he creates another melody/ostinato and hands it to the next group of singers, and so on, all the while he may also be soloing (making up a melody) on top of the groove the singers are keeping. By the way, all the singers are most likely not a rehearsed chorus but just audience members who just volunteered to go up on stage.

The approach to circle songs at MusiCamp is not that much different than what you saw in the video. Of course, we won’t be on stage and we’ll start off with very simple melodic patterns and some rhythmic ones as well. And depending on the group, the circle songs can develop musically from there. The wonderful thing is you don’t need to be an amazing singer to create this collective, groovy fun music. Also, campers who wish to explore their soloing abilities will be given that opportunity. Whether they want to scat, howl , make rhythmic noises, or invent a language – the groove set up by the rest of the group gives them an opportunity to explore solo expression in a safe and supported environment. I’m really looking forward to this!




In case you want to meet Andrea in person and hear her in some of her eclectic musical projects, there are a number of opportunities – from Traditional Georgian polyphony, to solo jazz (voice and guitar), to all out contemporary improvisation. (All events are free unless otherwise noted.)

Sunday May 5 4pm Trinity Bellwood Park with KOSA KOLEKTIV

The womens’ Kosa Kolektiv aims to revitalize and reinterpret the entire web of peasant folklore in an urban context and such an opportunity is open to the public on Sunday May 5 at 4pm in Trinity Belwood’s park (starting at St Nicholas Church, 4 Bellwood Ave).

Members of the Kosa Kolektiv and Lemon Bucket Orkestra will be folk singing and leading traditional haivky and village folk dancing. All ages, family friendly free community event. Communal picnic. Bring a blanket, your easter baskets and any goodies to liven up the party! Dances will be called in Ukr. & Eng.

Read the write up in The Wholenote Magazine

Thursday May 9 9pm SING! Harboufront with ZARI and ELEMENT CHOIR

Classic National Film Board of Canada shorts will be set to music by featured SING! Artists as part of this innovative and interactive event. These timeless films include masterworks by Norman McLaren, John Weldon, Arthur Lipsett, and Ishu Patel, and will feature the creative voices of FreePlay Duo, Patricia Green, JerJosh & the SteveCams, Zari, and The Element Choir. Don’t miss the sing-along finale of The Log Driver’s Waltz!

Saturday May 11 11:20am Community Asian Arts Fusion Festival Palmerston Library with DARBAZI

(Note the start time is listed wrong on the website)

Saturday May 11 3pm SING! Harboufront with ZARI


SING! World Collaborations Concert is a celebration of music and vocal styles from across the globe. The concert will feature five inspiring World vocalists/ensembles, each paired with and accompanied by a local choir. In the spirit of inclusive creation and innovation, this high-energy concert will open your ears to new sounds and transport you to Europe, Asia, Africa, and back. Featured world artists include: Lizzy Mahashe (Music of South Africa), Aviva Chernick (Music of Judeo-Spanish tradition), Suba Sankaran (Music of South India), Scott Peterson (Music of Tuva/Mongolia), and Zari (Music of Georgia).

Sunday May 12 3pm SING! Harbourfront, Lakeside Terrace with DARBAZI

Saturday May 18 11am-1pm Main Street Farmer’s Market SOLO GUITAR AND VOICE

Andrea Kuzmich performs solo voice and guitar. 132 Robinson Street (Markham Road, 2 lights north of Hwy 7 on Robinson street)