Only a few more sleeps until our annual trip to Ghana, and we can’t wait! It’s our 14th tour this year and we’re excited to see old friends, each with a unique story to tell. One of our beloved past times in Ghana is visiting our favourite drum makers and watching them work, joining in the traditional song and dance. It’s such a lively community of artists, musicians and creatives and we’re looking forward to immersing ourselves in the culture once again. Watch this space for photos & videos of our 2018/19 summer in Ghana.
For over ten years we’ve been working with the team at Counterpart – supporting woman with breast cancer through the power of African Drumming. We love our annual visit and always come away uplifted by the happy faces.
Here’s some more research on the benefits http://bit.ly/DrummingForBreastCancer
One of the globes hottest properties in Djembe, Bassidi Koné is joining us in August for an advanced level master class weekend. A few spots still left.
Inquiries to [email protected]
A special weekend Master Class for Advanced / Pro level drummers with Malian Djembefola BASSIDI KONE
Recognised as one of the world’s hottest djembe players right now, Bassidi will be challenging Advanced & Pro level players through an 8 hr intensive guaranteed to push your playing limits.
Bassidi will share his Griot knowledge and incredible djembe skills in this exploration of Malinke rhythms.
The Weekend is by invitation or expression of interest only and strictly for Adv/ Pro level players.
WHEN: Sat Aug 11 1.30 -6pm & Sun Aug 12th 1 -5pm
WHERE: African Drumming Headquarters, 252 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda
RATE $160 with $50 deposit due on booking to secure your place (Limited to 20pax)
Rich from the good vibes and happiness that was shared last year, we cannot wait for this new Bali Drum Camp to happen. It is the perfect occasion if you wish to expand your knowledge of West African music at a heavenly location, no matter what your level is !
We’ve been supporting the great work of a Ghanaian NGO called Dream Big Ghana for a decade now. Recently they have really stepped up their diversity of projects in the local Volta Region communities. When we first started helping, it was directed to their awesome sanitation / toilet block building project, and now they have expanded into a Learning centre and Football academy.
Through the directive efforts of Dougal Croudace and the team at Meet Me There African Home Lodge and this years force of Josie Scott and Graeme Ramsey things are rollicking along in 2017. The local school is now receiving a new toilet block and the learning centre has two sets of drums (to keep the traditional music alive), books in several languages and even a few laptops!
We’ll be leading a group of 25 students right into the heart of this community in 7 weeks time and we can’t wait to help things grow just that little bit more with our physical support and funds raised via the African Drumming community !!
” For me, the djembe addiction took hold in my early twenties. Coming from a classical piano background, djembe was everything piano wasn’t! I still dearly love sitting down and cracking out a Bach prelude but it doesn’t compare to the feeling of playing djembe and being part of a whole community of drummers who share a love for West African rhythms.
I’ve had wonderful teachers along the way – both locally and in Africa – and I’m privileged to work closely with Bangourake who has been so generous in sharing the music and culture of his people with the local drum and dance scene here in Canberra. Yes, behind the grey suits we actually have a thriving community of drum and dance students here!
I discovered early in my ‘djembe journey’ that teaching is what I enjoy the most and is where I can make the most difference. There’s nothing I like to see more than adults, who never had the chance to learn an instrument as a child or claim not to have a musical bone in their body, suddenly engaging regularly in music education and enjoying connecting with others through music. Joining a djembe class really can be life-changing for people. I can’t think of another instrument that has the same power!
Now I just have to hope my two young sons catch the bug and want to play dundun for Mummy! 😉“
“My drumming tourney harks back 4 years ago when my musical wife gave me a voucher for 6 lessons. Lo and behold she created a monster!
Little did she know that my practising would overwhelm her music ever practice. My neighbours even tell me they know when my wife is away when they here me drumming. The benefits of drumming are well known when discussing mental health.
However the spirit of support and camaraderie of the drumming community also plays a tremendous role. Every class where I play instantly transports me away from the trials and tribulations of the business day, and deeply in the circle of rhythms and beats of my drumming group. Of course this is great fun, with regular performances are exciting and entertaining, especially for the drummers.
The more I play the more I recognise there is to learn.
I now have a way to express the music I feel inside.
Now off to practice more as my neighbours do not need too much sleep. ?
Thanks to all my teachers and drumming buddies for all the encouragement”
“Since I was young I have always had a love of music, it didn’t matter what type of music it was. At school I always did music class and learned how to play guitar & trumpet ( but not very well !! ) but I always found myself tapping along to the drum beat, whether it was on the table or empty ice cream containers.
About 8 years ago I went into a deep depression & suffered severe anxiety and panic attacks, my love for everything including music disappeared. After months of slowly getting back on my feet, the love of music slowly returned. One day, while on FB, just scrolling through posts I came across one of my nieces – Jessica May – playing a drum ( which I now know was a djembe) I think I watched the same performance of her everyday, I was hooked.
After speaking with Jess she informed me of a beginners class in Hampton park, although still anxious I convinced myself, with a lot of encouragement from my wife, I attended the class, from the first time I hit the Djembe I felt a feeling that I had never felt before – it was like I had finally found something that brought a smile and excitement to me.
For once in a very long time I knew it was something I wanted to continue & challenge myself. Not only did I love it but I also made and continue to make new friends. It has been just over a year since I played my first Djembe and am enjoying it more & more, now even my wife has starting playing”
“For me the djembe is a powerful entity for humans to channel great energy and to transmit this energy in a joyous and spiritual way. Key aspects of the djembe and its culture for me are; The joy it transmits, The meditative aspect of drumming, The community and union that is created through playing the djembe which incompasses any gathering of people for any reason where listeners dancers and players all come toghether to share the vibration.
The healing benefits of playing, The death of ego that must occur to go deeper into the music, The connection to the natural world, The fact that it makes me feel great. I feel the djembe has 3 and in most cases 4 spirits.
1) the spirit of the animal that lived in the skin 2) the spirit of the tree that the drum is made from, 3)the spirit of the person that made it 4) the spirit of the peron who repairs the skin/drum when needed.
I am a woodworker/artisan and beleive the carving is important but most of all its the intention that goes behind the making and carving and reskinning. Why not try blessing and thanking the skin and when soaking it in water why not with energy crystals such as amber or amethyst, quartz etc.
Rather than boring you with my own story and history of drumming i would like to encourage you to go deeper with your drumming. Meditate with your drum, talk to it give it a name, realise that the music isn´t all you its the djembe and the others playing and the energy you are channeling and transmiting. Be conscious of breath and posture, push through pain with joy, give good energy when drumming , drum from your soul not your head. Play with as many people and in as many situations as possible, learn by your drumming experiences and allow drumming to vitalize your life. Try to drum where there is dance or all in a circle or with fire present or with singing so the energy builds.
I currently live in Tasman near Nelson( South Island, New Zealand) and shall be making and repairing drums and running some workshops soon around expressing and healing yourself with drumming and also workshops on the meditative side of drumming, connecting to power animals and the natural world namely, the 5 elements.
I am blessed to be around other great drummers and dancers here in nelson and would like to promote them and their work too, they are Kimberley Anderson , Rob De Leeuw Miro Klima and Annika Wagenhoff. Happy drumming, Ross
” Every time a drum sounds, the world pulsates, a child is born , joy erupts, pain is felt….a heart beats’..
I heard this 20 years ago when I began my drumming journey. It resonated with me and meeting Simon and travelling to Ghana with him changed my life. I loved being immersed in the culture and the music , made many lifelong friends and the Djembe and Douns became family.
This trip led to several more to Ghana where I travelled with World Vision, and eventually lived there for 14 months . I taught carers Early Childhood practices and received a grant from UNICEF to produce a series of 40 teaching videos for a large orphanage .
But it was the music, the drums, the dance that filled my heart and soul.. the teachers, Adama and Madou, But in particular Simon who allowed me to feel safe and supported in this environment. His tours are amazing.
I have since used the drums as a teaching opportunity and experience in my Early Learning Schools. I will be forever grateful for the journey. .. as the Africans named me.. Blessings. Mama Lynn”
“The first time I saw African drumming was at a workshop at Rainbow Serpent festival ten years ago. I’d never seen anything like it and instantly wanted to learn, thinking wow, wouldn’t it be great to play in a band at festivals, never dreaming that two years later that’s exactly what I’d be doing!
Six weeks later and I was having lessons on djembe and decided nine months after that to travel to Ghana in West Africa to do a four week study intensive. That is where I had my first lesson on duns and immediately knew we belonged together ?
For eight years now my band Rhythm Arkadia has been playing at festivals all over Victoria and what a magical and exciting journey it has been. Never having had a creative outlet before then, drumming has put me in touch with my soul, spirituality and community, something I had never realised was lacking in my life ? I now own crystal and Tibetan singing bowls and offer intuitive sound healing collaborations.
If you are feeling the call to the drum, follow it, it will lead you to amazing places ❤
Thank you Simon for being such an inspiration and my favourite teacher”
“My first exposure to traditional African drumming was in 1983 when C.K. Ladzepko was touring around Australia. Since then I have I integrated it into my own community drumming and dance group Wild Moves on the Surf Coast. This photo was taken at Seven Sisters Festival where I have been involved in creating the Opening or closing ceremonies using djembes for the past 5 years.
Djembes are a part of the primary arts and early childhood education at Deakin University where I have been lecturing for the past 26 years.
Currently I am studying Ethnochoreology at Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Ireland and naturally the djembe is part of my thesis on Sensory Embodiment.
Playing djembe immediately earths my body and helps to keep me grounded, rooting my energy to the Earth.
Playing in a drum circle always connects my heart to others creating a feeling of unity and One Spirit, One Family to ground Peace on our Planet”