Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camp Farreta is awesome

Camp Farreta is an amazing combo of musicians, they are the best in the world indeed. And they don't pretend to be anything else, which is great too.

For next year, I need to study a lot more in order to come prepared knowing the steps and rhythms. I really would like to be able to just play and dance, so - study! :) :) :)

The camp is for serious learning as well as for fun and workout. Our local dance teachers do not teach to that level of depth and aerobic activity. I will have to hit DVDs etc. The trip to Africa would be the best but Camp Farreta is the next best (and cheaper) thing. I used up my savings to get to camp, it was that important for me to study with Youssouff Koumbassa, he really is a great artist and teacher, and I am happy I did.

It is a blessing that the camp runs.

For the future, it would be nice to see some more of traditional African culture, like storytelling. Congo camp has a fabulous storyteller, Chrysogon Dyangoya. His stories about the woman who ate too much and made her husband hunt too much, the man who minded someone else's business, about animals and imitating them, etc are just so much fun and so educational. He acts the characters, dances, sings, engages the audience, he makes us think and laugh. Everyone takes from stories what they can digest at the moment. Some people cannot even remember them later :) I remember every detail and ponder it afterwards. In my Native American training, we told our dreams and stories and we went around the circle providing our comments. It is a very important way to Teach and Connect.

Telling history (like djelis do) is not the same as telling stories, like fairy tales and fables and such. Even some Africans say such stories are for kids. No, they are not. They are for teaching wisdom. Spiritual teachers tell stories. For example, Jesus taught with parables. Buddha too. Seems like djelis are not trained in that, but only in factual history, which also has its own value.
Perhaps Guinea lost storytelling because Muslim religion does not let them keep that part of their tradition.

Also, when I mentioned to an African musician that drums are for spiritual activity, he said that they are not, they are just for village life. No, they are not only for that. They are for way beyond that. Some other (white) people said that drums are for "magic" and religious ceremonies like woodoo, but again - they are definitely not meant for being abused in such hokus pokus. People don't understand what "spiritual" is. They think it is religion or magic tricks. No it's not. Spiritual means Inner Transformation into being someone who embodies the Higher Principles of Loving Kindness and Compassion and Awareness of God. It is totally not about any magic tricks and hokus pokus. Magic tricks is in the realm of shaman, and shamans are on the human side of the wall of grief, so they are susceptible to all the folies and negativities of ordinary human beings, and thus can be dangerous, like kids with guns. What I am talking about is true Spiritual, which is in the realm of saints, who are close to God and beyond human fallacies of negative emotions and grief, and thus immune to wrongdoings and traps of ego.

The drums and that music carries in it some information for repaterning human .... being, brain, call it whatever you want. For Inner Transformation leading to enlightment. African music helps to reach those higher states of brain and being. We get the benefit of that when we play it just for village life because we feel the Joy of Connecting with the Spirit. There is a lot more Awareness that can be reached. Stories like fairy tales, fables, etc are another way to activate and engage those higher places. Drums open us up to Higher Realities and we are more calm, more centered, more clear with ourselves. I think the medicine men of the village know that, they designed the music for that purpose, and most people don't really care to know that and that's ok, they do not need to be bothered if they don't want to Know. They get the benefit by just enjoying the music. So that's why it is important to preserve the music as it is, designed by some Higher Beings who understood the effect of that music on human being.

In Camp Faretta, my absolutely favorite dancers are Youssouf Koumbassa from Guinea, who is a grand master of complete grace and flowing like water, and Djeneba Sako from Mali, who is an amazing, soft, strong female dancer and amazing singer and a wonderful fun person. I also love how Aziz dances and teaches, but sabar is not my kind of dance. Moustafa Bangoura is also very good, but not my favorite style. All other teachers are great dancers and teachers too.

As for drummers, they are all great in their own way. I liked Fode's sound, it has melody. He is ready to teach only the most advanced classes though :) so I will have to work to catch up to that.

In Congo camp, Crysogone is a fabulous dancer, one of my favorites with Djeneba and Yousouff, and embodies the Congo spirit. Hyacinte Massamba is a fabulous Congo drummer. They both perform in Congo camp http://congolesecamp.org and live in Paris.


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