Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some really good fun

Just came back from Congolese drum and dance camp, http://congolesecamp.org

Wow - it was awesome. It is so much fun, and also an excellent physical and mental workout, and also - people are so nice. All teachers are Natives from Congo and they give the camp a certain flavor of an African village, and it feels good, that living the Native way.

Music and dance are so kinky funky that it is a phenomenal martial arts and awareness practice. Playing it and dancing it requires paying attention and yet being relaxed, at the same time; knowing your part and yet synchronizing with the rest. It unites body, mind and spirit. One has to be in the groove and just fly with the music. It is an excellent excellent workout. It is also an exercise in community and communication. For example, each drummer plays a different beat and they all have to match. All dancers have to dance the same thing and also move together in lines. Drummers and dancers have to work together. There is singing while drumming and dancing. It is a moving, evolving, tenacious energy. Very powerful and also very gentle.

There is also kalimba playing, which sounds angelic (bush doctor plays this) and so on.

And storytelling - interactive storytelling! audience has to participate - such fun and deep stories. The storyteller dances the story and signs too.

And people listen to each other and have conversations. There is caretaking of each other. Also, it is very healing to be acknowledged and respected like that.

There is not much on Congolese drum/dance, so this is a gem. Here are some links to Congolese:

http://congolesecamp.org there is a promotional video with a dance clip - the guy is 42 yrs old! the lady even more - dancing/drumming this stuff keeps body young for a long time. Every year there is camp in Hawaii in March, and one in July in N. California, 10 days each, you can come for any amount of time and not even take classes. Some teachers live in Paris, some live in Oakland and teach weekly classes, some teach congolese drumming at universities.
Search for Chrysogone Diangouaya and Hyacinte Massamba

http://www.compagnie-awama.com/spectacle.php - phenomenal drumming clip
http://festivalafricain.free.fr/percu_2007.htm

If you want to order a CD with drumming and singing, then you will have to contact hyacintekara@wanadoo.fr and arrange to carry his CD. He and his group drum and sing, it is an awesome CD.


THere is West African too - it is a little better known by now, because they got instructional DVDs and CDs. It is very powerful too.
http://westafricandance.com with Yousuff Koumbassa - check out his dance dvd in "bio"

http://www.lebagatae.com/ Moustapha Bangoura and Le Bagatae - check out dance clips
http://www.afrikandjeli.net/bangoura

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