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Drum and Dance Study Tour Guinea

Immerse yourself in the rich and vibrant culture of Guinea, West Africa, with this 4-week intensive cultural tour. Hosted by Melbourne-based Guinean master drummer Mohamed Camara, the tour offers a unique opportunity to study with some of Guinea’s finest master artists including members of Les Ballets Africains, Djoliba, Les Sorciers de Guinée, and other master percussionists, dancers, and singers. For 4 weeks we will live in Guinea’s capital city, Conakry, the heart of West African music, dance and culture. Experience a weekend trip to the tropical island of Roume to enjoy its palm-covered beaches and local musicians, and to a beautiful nearby village. We will visit colourful Guinean markets, beautiful beaches, local cafes and bars, and experience world-class performances and traditional ceremonies. 

Guinea is the heart of African music and dance. Home of the djembe, dun duns, balafon and many of the popular African songs and dance styles, Guinea is the place to go to experience the true essence of African music, dance and culture. No prior drum or dance experience necessary - all levels will be catered for from complete beginner to professional, and you can take part in as much or as little as you wish!

Places are strictly limited, so contact us today to reserve your place in our 2017/2018 study tour!

 

Check out more videos from our recent trip to Guinea at our YouTube page! http://www.youtube.com/user/RhythmOfLifeAD

 

"The Rhythm of Life tour to Guinea exceeded all of my
expectations. I experienced the true culture of Guinea in a fun and nurturing environment. The tuition classes offered were professional, fun and inspiring, offering generations of knowledge and world class experience. Visiting the village and Island was a great opportunity to experience a different side of Guinea.This tour has made a lasting impression on me and I have developed many friendships
and experience in African music, that will continue
I can't wait for next year!
A huge heart-filled thank you to Mohamed and Anna."

-Renee

"Guinea: With Mohamed and Anna

One of the most special experiences, that set aside the tour from any other travel I did in Africa, was building a relationship with Mohamed's family; they cared for us so much and we all had fits of laughter trying to understand each other. When we travelled by ourselves it just wasn't the same - if you want to experience the grassroots African community and have friends in the neighbourhood call your name and enjoy talking to you, this is the way to do it!

One of my unforgettable moments was being welcomed into a dundunbah dance circle of about 200 people and just going for it - it's just about expression, there's no right or wrong in a community party!"

-Claire

"This was the most amazing, awesome experience and I would recomend to anyone who is excited to open their eyes to a wonderful culture and beautiful people!!"

-Anna

"Experience Africa with two hands, two feet and one heart!"

-Jess

Why choose Guinea for your West-African drum, dance and cultural experience?

The djembe and dun dun drums, the balafon, and the majority of the popular West African rhythms, songs and dances all originated in Guinea. Therefore Guinea is the best place to go to experience these instruments and styles in their traditional context, and to learn from the masters who not only have incredible generational knowledge and skills on these instruments, but an inherent understanding and connection to the history behind the rhythms. Guinea has produced the world's most renowned djembe masters; Mamady Keita, Famoudou Konate and Fadouba Oulare, and Fadouba's sons Mohamed and Moussa will be a part of your expert team of teachers on the tour. Each Guinean rhythm, for example Rhumba, Kuku, Tiriba, and Dundunbah, all have a place in the culture and tradition of Guinea, and a story behind them which can only be understood in the cultural context of Guinea. 

Why the Rhythm of Life tour?

Rhythm of Life offer a highly organised and safe tour. Tour director Mohamed Camara has extensive experience teaching traditional Guinean percussion and song to people of all backgrounds and levels of experience. Mohamed has taught at many different camps in Guinea, gaining experience of different teaching and learning methods from various cultures around the world, and he has now taught and conducted workshops extensively around Australia for over seven years. Mohamed is open about his culture and excited to share this with anyone who shows interest in the music and culture of Guinea.

We have a fantastic new custom-built guesthouse, on the outskirts of Guinea’s capital city, Conakry. The house is in a beautiful, peaceful location overlooking the mangroves, and you will be made to feel at home with Mohamed’s family and a part of the community. Delicious traditional meals will be provided by Mohamed’s mother, and you can help her out and learn new techniques and recipes! 

The Drumming

You will experience the true essence of Guinean djembe and dun dun playing with some of Guinea's finest master drummers from Les Percussions de Guinee. The drumming sessions are lead by djembe master Mohamed Camara and speical guest teachers, and accompanied by the full ensemble on djembes, sangban and kenkeni lead by dun dun master Yamoussa Bangoura. 

The Dancing

From Monday to Friday you will have an amazing start to each day with two hours of traditional Guinean dance! This is a unique opportunity to learn from Guinea's highly experienced dance master Aboulay Camara. The dance sessions are accompanied by the high-energy rhythms from your drumming teachers and their ensemble. 

The Experience 

Helping Mama prepare the traditional African cuisine, washing clothes with a washboard, learning local languages, shopping at vibrant markets, having clothes tailor-made and dancing at traditional dundunbah ceremonies are among the many amazing experiences awaiting you! 
 
The Guinean people are incredibly friendly and hospitable, and keen to share their wonderful culture and lifestyle with you. You will not just experience Guinea as a tourist, but as an integral member of the community!

Tour Details

 
Dates for our next tour: Friday 29th December 2017 - Thursday 25th January, 2018
*These dates can be flexible by negotiation
 
Cost:  
 
Early-bird special:
For bookings made by 1st September 2017, pay only $2,970 (thats a 10% discount!)
*To confirm your early-bird discount, a deposit of $1,000 must be made before the cut-off date above.
 
For bookings made after the 1st September 2017:
 
Adults: $3,300 AUD
 
Children 4 years and under: $1,000
Children 5-11 years: $1,500 AUD
Children 12-17 years: $2,500 AUD
-All children under 18 years must be accompanied by an adult
 
*A $1,000 deposit is required at the time of booking
Payment must be made in full by 1st December 2017

 
Cost includes:
  • Drum/Dance tuition for 4 hours a day, 5 days per week
  • 3 meals per day
  • Accommodation
  • Transport and accommodation for trips to the island and village
  • Transport to and from airport in Conakry
  • Special performance at the camp by the amazing Ballet Destin
  • Hire of instruments in Guinea (Instruments can be purchased in Guinea and brought back to Australia)
*Not included: 
  • Airfares
  • Visa for Guinea or any transit visas required
  • Ground transport 
  • Extra tuition
* Additional tuition can be arranged for balafon (traditional Guinean xylophone), kora (West African harp), bolon (traditional stringed bass), Fula flute and singing, and African cooking classes for an additional cost. 
 
Accommodation:
 
We will live in a large, custom-built guesthouse in Yataya, on the outskirts of Conakry. This is a beautiful and peaceful area, about 30-minutes drive from the city and the airport. Rooms are double or twin-share, with beds, bedding, mosquito nets and fans provided. Bathrooms have western toilets and showers, or try the traditional squat toilet and bucket shower out the back!
 
 
Food:
 
Food is prepared daily by Mohamed's mum Nene, beginning with a trip to the market each morning! Traditional dishes comprise fresh fish/chicken/meat and vegetables, with rice/noodles/baguette. Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary needs will be catered for. Food preparation is done outdoors and is a big part of daily life and community. You will also have the opportunity to help out with the cooking if you wish!
 
Travel to Guinea:
 
Flights are to be purchased individually, with flights available through Europe/UK, or through South Africa to Guinea. We will provide detailed information for the possible flights at the time of booking. Airport pick-up will be arranged for all participants, regardless of arrival date/time in Conakry. 
 
Travel Insurance:

All tour participants must take out personal travel and health insurance for the tour.
 
Trip Preparation:

A 3-month Tourist Visa is required for Guinea, which can be obtained from the Guinean Embassy in Japan. We will assist with these applications well in advance. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival in Guinea.
 
Yellow Fever vaccination is required for entry into Guinea, and further immunisations are recommended. Please speak to your doctor about immunisations for Guinea, and commence these well in advance. Anti-Malaria medication is strongly recommended.
 
At the time of booking, detailed information about the trip and necessary preparation will be sent via e-mail. Please advise us of any special requirements, e.g. eating requirements or allergies.

About Guinea:

Guinea is the heart of African music and dance. Home of the djembe, dun duns, balafon and many of the popular African songs and dance styles, Guinea is the place to go to experience the true essence of African music, dance and culture. 

The official language of Guinea is French. There are many traditional languages, the main ones being Susu, Malinke and Fula. No French experience is required to take part in the tour, as Mohamed speaks all of these languages fluently, however it is a great opportunity to learn a new language - or languages! A basic French phrase book, such as the Lonely Planet's, can be very useful. 

Guinea is a safe, politically stable country with a democratic civilian government, lead by president Alpha Conde.

The climate in Guinea is tropical. Temperatures in January average 30 degrees, and this is the dry season so there is very little rain, despite the occasional spectacular electrical storm!

 

 
To see more pictures click here 

 

 

Tour teachers

Former djembe soloist for Guinean drum and dance ensembles Ballet Destin, Ballet Bolonta and internationally renowned ensemble Les Sorciers de Guinée, Mohamed has studied and performed with many of the world's great master drummers including Ton Ton Sylla and Fadouba Oularé. Mohamed is a valuable resource for the traditional music of Guinea, with his extensive repertoire of rhythms and songs. His passion for music, captivating  playing style and connection with audiences and students alike has made him a highly respected musician in  both Australia and Guinea.

Mohamed OularéSon of Guinea’s great Master drummer, Fadouba Oularé, Mohamed has been playing djembe since a very young age. As lead djembe soloist for Les Sorciers de Guinée, Mohamed has toured extensively overseas, and has taught students from Europe, America and Asia.

Master dancer and educator Aboulay Camara has been teaching and performing traditional Guinean dance for over 30 years. Former dancer for Les Ballets Africains, Aboulay has toured and performed extensively in Europe and America. Founder and choreographer of the Guinean Ballet Destin, Aboulay has mentored dancers of all ages from all over Guinea.

Amadou KalissaSon of Guinea's great kora master, Fode Kalissa, Amadou is a master of both kora and dun dun drumming. As dun dun player for Les Sorciers de Guinee, Amadou has toured extensively internationally, and taught students from Australia, Europe, America and Asia.

Safiatou CamaraGuinean master dancer Namsa Oulare, from Ballet Destin, has studied with Guinea’s great master dancer Moustapha Bangoura, with Les Ballet Bagata. Namsa has an extensive repertoire of traditional dances and techniques from all over Guinea.

Further Information

Please contact us for more information about upcoming tours!
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