Spring Drum Retreat:  October 4th – 6th 2024

A great line up of teachers in a pristine location.
Workshops for all levels, communal bonfire jams, and great vibes!

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Our Spring Drum Retreat offers drum classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels with a variety of awesome teachers!

♪  Teachers
Djembe & Dun: Boubacar Gaye, Mohamed Camara & Guests TBA
Dance: Appiah Annan and Jacqui Dreesens
Welcoming: Valanga Khoza
Valanga will kick off our camp with his joyful vocal and kalimba melodies.

♪  Drum with Bouba, Moh and Guests 
Such a great opportunity to learn from some of Australia’s best players and teachers.
We will have classes in djembe and dun for all levels, so you’ll be pushed to learn and grow your playing as much as possible across the weekend.
Learning in this environment will do wonders for your drumming: the djembe always repays the time you invest in it. A weekend of drumming will challenge you in terms of stamina and retention, as well as the content you tackle. You’ll actually notice the difference in your playing most after the event – Your technique will have improved remarkably and you will find your ear can pick up the polyrhythms more clearly.

♪  Dance with Appiah and Jacqui!
Enjoy awesome dance sessions facilitated by Appiah Annan (with live drumming!). Whether you were born with rhythm or you have two left feet, our workshops are fun, educational and stimulating for participants of all ages, levels and backgrounds – no prior dance experience is necessary! Definitely for anyone who is looking for a fun way to keep fit as well as enjoy an invigorating cultural experience!
Jacqui will treat us to a Body Awakening session on Sunday morning and an infectious Hoodie Boodie Dun dance session across the weekend too – so much to look forward to.

♪  Testimonial
“Just wanted to say what a great weekend Crystal and I enjoyed. What a fantastic group of people. Across the board from Masters to Beginners we found everybody to be so pleasant. Also the teachers that I encountered were fantastic. Laura is so amazing at teaching and explaining clearly. We learnt so much from all including yourself. Once again thank you for all you did to make the weekend successful and amazing. Cheers.” – Cliff Strobel

Friday 🌲 
♪  Arrival: Anytime after 4pm
Casual dinner, followed by an informal bonfire Jam 🔥. Be warned, this Jam normally goes for hours and hours – such a great warm up to the camp!

Saturday 🌲
♪  9.00am: Registration
♪  10.00am – 10.45am: Opening Ceremony with special guest Valanga Khoza (South Africa)
♪  11.00am – 12.30pm:
Beginners Djembe with Mohamed
Intermediate Djembe with Bouba
Advanced Djembe with Bassidi

♪  12.30pm – 1.45pm: Lunch

♪  1.45pm – 3.15pm:
Beginners Djembe with Bassidi (technique)
Intermediate Dun with Mohamed
Advanced Djembe with Bouba

♪  3.30pm – 5.00pm:
Beginners Djembe with Mohamed
Intermediate Djembe with Bouba
Advanced Dun with Bassidi

♪  5.00pm – 5.30pm: Tea Break

♪  5.30pm – 6.30pm:
Dance Class with Appiah and live drumming (take your pick!)

♪  6.30pm – 8.00pm: Dinner

♪  8.00pm: All-Stars Live show with Dunu Teke & Teachers
♪  9.00pm: Bonfire Jam

Sunday 🌲
♪  8.00am – 8.45am: Body Awakening Stretching with Jacqui
♪  9.30am – 10.30am:
Dunun dance “Hoogie Boogie” session with Jacqui

♪  10.45am – 12.15pm:
Beginners Djembe with Bouba
Intermediate Djembe / Dun with Mohamed
Advanced Djembe with Bassidi

♪  12.15pm – 1.30pm: Lunch

♪  1.30pm – 3.00pm:
Beginners Djembe with Mohamed
Intermediate Djembe with Bouba
Advanced Djembe/ Dun with Bassidi

♪  3.15pm – 4.00pm: Final Group Show/ Jam

Communal Pack up & Leave
** If everyone can chip in and help clean up the campsite & kitchen that would be AWESOME!


Set in a peaceful valley, we’ll be completely surrounded by the pristine Great Otway National Park. At 90 minutes out of Melbourne, it’s far enough to feel like a real getaway, but still an easy journey by car.

♪  Comfortable bunk-style log cabins
♪  Camp sites or campervan parking available if preferred (same rate as normal accommodation)
♪  Big communal kitchen with utensils and cutlery
♪  Large performance hall with a fireplace
♪  Bonfire area

Sokil – 90 minutes from Melbourne
425 Breakfast Creek Road
Melways Ref: 611 C10

Take the M1 heading West
Bypassing Geelong, this becomes the A1 (Princes Hwy)
Turn Left onto Cape Otway Rd
Continue through Moriac and Modewarre
Turn left at Wensleydale Station Rd. Wurdiboluc Reservoir will be on your right
Continue approximately 7kms, until the road turns to gravel
At the intersection, follow the road straight into the Great Otway National Park (do not turn left here into Gum flats road)
Continue on the gravel road, past Alsop Track
Turn left onto Breakfast Creek Rd (do not turn right onto Hammonds Track)
Continue 3.5km into the valley
Sokil’s gate is on the left – just over the small bridge!


Payable in cash on the weekend

We can easily put together a discount for families or large groups – please call or email us for details. Non-drumming friends and family are very welcome

Tuition & Saturday Accommodation……$280/$250 (concession)
Friday Night Accommodation……………….. $40
Standard Day Rate……………………………….. $160/$140 (concession)
Non – Drummers weekend (includes Sat night/ not Friday night).. $150/$130 (concession)
Non Accommodation full weekend (for people staying offsite) $230/$200 (concession)
** Please note, you are welcome to stay on site in your own Van or Camping set. All facilities will be made available to you and standard accommodation pricing applies.

Non – Drummers day……………………………. $50
Drum Hire (booking required)……………….. $10

Meet your Teachers
Bassidi Kone: Djembe & Dun

Bassidi is of Bwa ethnicity from the Segou region in Mali. Born into a Griot family, Bassidi grew up beside his father’s bala (the balafon, a traditional wooden xylophone), instilling in him, his forefather’s traditional village rhythms and songs. From a young age, Bassidi carried on his family’s musical heritage, showing promising skill in both the bala and djembe. After moving to Bamako at thirteen, Bassidi met Koninba Bagayogo, a meeting that profoundly influenced his musical career as a percussionist. Playing alongside this master djembe player, the young Bassidi extended his knowledge and skill, distinguishing himself through his innovating solo lead playing and technical virtuosity. Driven to defend his rich Bwa ethnicity, Bassidi formed his multi-instrumental percussion and dance troupe, Bwazan (‘Bwa children’) in 2005; a family group of brothers, sisters and cousins from the same line of Griots. Today, Bwazan are ambassadors of their musical heritage, promoting a message of peace, freedom, humility and solidarity.

Boubacar Gaye: Djembe & Dun

Bouba first laid his hands on a drum in Senegal at the budding age of 14. Inspired by the musical mentors around him he became a member of the infamous Mama Afrika. Under the guidance of ballet professor Joseph-Raphael Bouschanzl, Bouba’s skills and passion grew quickly and soon he was also a member of the renowned Foret Sacre Ballet. In 1997 Bouba ventured to Europe and then onto Japan where he established himself as a leading African percussionists. With an energy and peace of mind that resonates from deep within – Bouba speaks a thousand words with his drum.

Mohamed Camara: Djembe & Dun

Originally from Guinea, Mohamed’s beautiful nature, infectious smile and skill as a performer has led him to become a favourite among young children and students. He is a wonderful drummer and kora player and can be found performing all over Melbourne.

Appiah Annan: Dance

Appiah is a rare talent originating from Ghana, West Africa. His diverse practice spans many forms of dance including traditional African, contemporary, freestyle, hip hop and acrobatics, along with his impressive skills as a master drummer using both stick and hand drums. Appiah maintains a strong connection to community and devotes a lot of his time to working within a range of sectors including performing and operating workshops for youth, the elderly and disadvantaged. Having studied Community Cultural Development at the Victorian College of the Arts, he aims to use the arts to encourage respect, togetherness and understanding among all members of our diverse society. Join Appiah’s BoomSa class here

Jacqui Dreesens: Dance

Jacqui is a community arts practitioner in choreography, lecturing at Deakin University in Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Arts Education. She has extensively studied dance styles of the African Diaspora over the past 25 years with a plethora of artists from Caribbean, Cuba, Brazil, Congo, Tanzania, South Africa, Senegal & Ghana.

Jacqui’s company Wild Moves was founded in 1994 and is her dedication to Mother Africa and all the mentors who have shared their cultural wisdom and influences on her own Afro-Surf Coast style.

Valanga Khoza: Welcoming

Valanga is a consummate storyteller and musician, shaping tales of his life into captivating presentations.

Valanga was born in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. He grew up in a traditional setting surrounded by lively singing, drumming and dancing. The Limpopo area is rich in traditional healers, orators and storytellers, highly respected throughout Africa. These were his neighbours. Their nightly ceremonies carried songs and rhythms passed down through thousands of years. Valanga carries these influences through his songs and storytelling.

He is also influenced by his travels throughout the world which were driven by his struggle against racism and his fight for freedom of the black people in South Africa.

What should I bring?
A drum if you have one – if not you can hire one for $10
A comfy drum stool if you are particular (Sokil has loads of plastic chairs which are also fine)
BYO food/drinks (Sokil has a large commercial kitchen with ovens, microwaves, glasses & cutlery etc)
Shoes to dance in
Sleeping bag / sheets / blanket  (All beds have a pillow & pillowcase supplied)
Warm clothes
Sun Hat

Can I bring a campervan or sleep in my tent? – Yes, you are welcome to do either and make use of all the amenities at Sokil. There are several great areas for camping and to park your vehicle. Pricing is the same for camping/campervan as it is if you are using a bed.

What kind of rooms/bed options are there? – All rooms are bunk bed style rooms. There are 8 rooms with 4 bunks (8 beds).
We can arrange private room for groups of 6 or more, and occasionally family groups (depending on Camp numbers)
We will generally allocate rooms to you all and keep men/ woman and families together.

I’m an absolute beginner, can I come along?
Sure! We welcome beginners and our sessions will suit you. It’s a great chance to mingle with those who have been drumming longer and pick up tips and tricks from peers

If I choose to camp, is there power at the camping spots?
There are powered camping spots across the campsite.
Not all camping spots are powered – the ones at the upper oval, above the cabins (and near the bathrooms) aren’t powered.

What’s the address?
425 Breakfast Creek Road
Melways Ref: 611 C10

The Power of African Drumming…

In an article written about African Drumming, Dr Dawn Joseph reached fascinating findings when she visited our spring drum retreat in 2019, while investigating the power of West African drumming.

This research explores why people came together to share music-making and practice at a drumming retreat, and what they experienced as a recreational group music activity.

Two overarching themes are explored: drumming for leisure and cultural connections.

Dr. Joseph argues that West African drumming as a “shared energy” experience has the power to positively impact participants’ lives, fostering cross-cultural understanding.

Here are a few of our favourite points from the article:
♪  African Drumming builds bridges and foster dialogue, allowing for a better understanding of the people, culture and music in Africa.
♪  African Drumming brings a positive effect to participants’ lives.
♪  There is a deep sense of belonging in the drumming community, being part of something intangible and ancient.
Wala means LIFE

Abli, Ago Odai, Seth, Ben will give us a soulful evening show on Saturday night. When the power of percussion meets dazzling vocal harmony in the dance of life.

A dynamic fusion of drumming, dance, percussion and soaring vocal harmonies. Three passionate, exuberant and talented performers present audiences with an exciting display of Ghanaian culture.


To see Wala’s spirited lead-vocalist Odai perform is to witness a genuine love of expression through song. He has performed as vocalist, flute player and percussionist since the age of 8 and won the prestigious National Cultural Award in Ghana in 1984.


Is a vital and awe-inspiring master drummer from Nungua in Southern Ghana. He describes his music as ‘soul food’ and it is impossible not to be touched by his passion and impressive talent. To see him perform is to witness a display of invigorating power and vitality.


Has been playing music for 17 years, joining local Teshie group ‘Gye Nyame’ when he was still in primary school as an apprentice to the master drummer! He honed his talent before joining the ‘Wassa African Ensemble’ and touring with them to Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, France, and Italy where they featured at festivals in Catania and Canicatti.


Book in early by completing the form below to secure your spot!
Family and group rates are available – please ask us for more info
Payment is made with Cash on the weekend of the event.

[email protected]
(03) 9525 3073

The drumming community is like family

There is a deep sense of belonging, being part of something intangible and ancient

When Africans teach drumming, it is all about the feel and how parts lock together, timing is still important, but the focus is about feeling it in one’s body rather than reading it off a piece of paper

African musicians appear so generous; there is a fire in the music when drumming with the African teachers

Learning from the masters and having fun was a highlight