African Cultural Tour

 
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This was the most amazing, awesome experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is excited to open their eyes to a wonderful culture and beautiful people!
— Anna M.
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A unique and immersive African experience

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 reserve your place today to join the 2020 study tour!

Keep up with tour news on the Facebook event page.

 
 

Meet your host,

Mohamed

 
 
 

See the tour in action

 
 
 
 
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“Mohamed and Anna offer a truly unique travel experience. You are instantly welcomed into a community of talented artists and family, giving an immediate feeling of security and friendship as you develop true connections to the culture and rhythm of West Africa. Of course there were the usual holiday highlights like drinking fresh coconuts whilst swinging from a beach hammock; the sound of island waves being supported by local musicians. But the true beauty of this trip is difficult to place into words. Guinea is a country that very few tourists get the opportunity to visit. The community, friendships and experiences I had will stay with me for the rest of my life. I'm so grateful to Mo and Anna for opening their home to me and introducing me to a rhythm and culture like no other.”


– Georgia F.

 
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Why choose Guinea?

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, who our tour host Mohamed was lucky enough to spend time with in his village, Faranah.

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.

 
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“This was truly a life changing experience! For musicians on any instrument, I guarantee you’ll return a far more advanced player by immersing yourself in the diverse and difficult rhythms of West Africa, taught by Mohamed and his team of the finest master drummers. Mo and Anna were amazing hosts, and the cultural day and overnight trips they took us on have become my most valued and authentic travel memories.

I was nervous about booking this trip, but as soon as I landed and met everyone I realised it was the best decision I had ever made, so don’t question yourself - just do it!”

– Dave T.

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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 twelve 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 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.

On top of all that, delicious traditional meals are provided by Mohamed’s mother, and you can even help her out and learn new techniques and recipes!

 
It was an absolute pleasure participating in the course and in family time.

I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to meet Mohamed and Anna through their work in creating an amazing resource for people to access the music and culture in Guinea.
— Milan T.
 

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 special 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 Margot 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!

 
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.

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 J.
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Tour details

 

Dates

29th December 2019 to 9th February 2020
*Choose your preferred dates within this period!

Cost in $AUD

1 week: $900
2 weeks: $1700
3 weeks: $2500
4 weeks: $3300

A 30% deposit is required at the time of booking. Payment must be made in full by 1st December 2019. Contact us for children's rates.

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

  • Hire of instruments in Guinea (Instruments can be purchased in Guinea and taken home with you)

*Not included:

  • Airfares

  • Visa for Guinea or any transit visas required

  • Ground transport

  • Extra tuition

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.


Just so you know, this trip of a lifetime is only able to take a small group at a time.

So, are you ready to broaden your horizons?

Let us know by reserving your spot on the 2020 Africa tour today.

 
 
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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, Emirates, Qatar, or via Thailand and Ethiopia. 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 Tourist Visa is required for Guinea, which can be obtained from your nearest Guinean Embassy (for Australians, we use the Guinean Embassy in Tokyo). 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!


Reserve a place on the tour today! Limited spots only.

 
 

Keep up with tour news on the Facebook event page.