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West African Drums

The Place, The People From Senegal to Niger, the countries of West Africa share many aspects of culture in dress, cuisine and music, with drumming at the musical heart. Historically West Africa was home to the great empires of Sosso, Songhai and Mali, which lasted for 350 years and was larger than Western Europe. The interior of the region is predominantly Muslim, with Christianity and Judaism in the South and West; these influences are reflected in the music.

The Music In West Africa, music accompanies important life events, like marriage, childbirth, working and hunting. It has a very close relationship both with dance and with the tones and rhythmic patterns of the local language. The music is built from varied timbres playing interlocking rhythmic parts to form a polyrhythmic whole, often led by a master drummer using call and response patterns.

The Workshop Using authentic handmade instruments and genuine African rhythms, pupils learn to play, in ensemble, the pulsing grooves and layered textures that are West African drumming, using Djembe, Kpanlogo, Bougourabou and Doundoun drums, as well as shakers, bells and tuned Balafon. Having mastered the technique and characteristic rhythms, pupils learn to create their own

Workshop - A 1/2 day of sessions with tutor £180.  A full day of sessions with tutor £295

Residency - A 1/2 term of weekly sessions with tutor and drums which stay at school, 6 x 1/2 days £695

Sessions may run from 35 to 55 minutes, depending on the age group, and fit with the school timetable where possible. The time may be used in many ways; often schools want every class to have at least one contact so everyone has an opportunity to share the excitement. This has been very successful at KS1 with some classes having more if time allows.  Alternatively, and especially at KS2, schools may have particular groups work intensively with contact every week or fortnight, allowing a more thorough programme in which students learn and perform very exciting and challenging material. We also encourage a performance towards the end of a project.

For bookings and information please contact Kathy Moore on 023 8065 2037 or e-mail: