Bangoura and Le
Bagatae (click on this to hear it!) troup - they also have
instructional dance DVDs that are excellent
Yousuff Koumbassa - click on "bio"
and scroll down to see him dance - WOW! the best dancer ever. Check out
his camp Fareta and his
Arias belly dance teacher in LA. her classes are a fantastic
foundation for African dance.
Conglese camp on Maui, yearly, around February-March.
Various camps during summer time - Camp
Fareta, August in California, etc.
Mamadu Keita has a book, DVDs with individual rhythms. Abdoul Doumbia has
a book with CDs. The visiting teachers have their own sites and DVDs.
There is also the Rhythm
The music is traditionally not recorded but learned by listening
and practicing with a live teacher. That works for African village where
you hang out with the teachers, hear the music, and drum and dance every
day. In modern western life, when there is one-two drum or dance class
per week, it is harder to remember what you played/danced last week. It
is possible to bring a tape recorder / camera to some classes, but most
professional teachers do not allow recording. TO THE RESCUE:
Master drummer and dancer Fara Tolno compiled 50 West African rhythms: Rhythm Reference
So for $40 you can download the traditional version of it. For $100 you
can download traditional, ballet, and master teachers (e.g. Mamadu)
versions of the same rhythms. Each rhythm has many different parts, so
all together it is about 500 different pieces.
This is a good deal! The money is going to help open a school in Guinea,
West Africa, for traditional teachers to share their knowledge of drum,
dance, balafon, cora, etc. and other aspects of the traditional African
culture. Which is quickly dieing. It needs to be preserved. The quality
of that music is extremely healing. If you want to read my opinions and
experiments with it, read below and also read my blog
What to bring and how to prepare
Some teachers have loaner drums, and some do not. Ask them
before you show up. If you don't have a drum, you can only watch :)
There are many drums for sale online, and sometimes locally.
Check craigs list and ask the drummers. Plan to spend about $400 for a
good djembe. Anything cheaper will sound cheap :)
Dunduns (stick drums) are typically cheaper than
Conga drums are easy to find used, usually cheap. They do
need to be commercially made and can be cheap or costly when new.
For dance classes, just come dressed to move a lot and sweat
heavily. For women: usually a tank top and leggings with a lapa on top. For
men: some kind of shirt with shorts/pants.
And most importantly, bring the right attitude - of
community, respect and celebrating life.
Playing and dancing African music is extremely healing
because it engages higher parts of the brain, and joins mind and body. It
heals grief and makes us relax into God.
Read more about this healing music therapy on my African