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Mamady Keita, Grand Master of djembé, has invited Iya Sako to join him in providing a drumming course in Senegal. This is taking place in Abené, a coastal village in Casamance and also home of the famous Abené Festival. Mamady will be performing as part of the festival, alongside Iya, Seckou Keita and other artists. In addition to the drumming classes, we are offering an African dance course and an African singing course.


2 week stay: 28th December 2012 to 11th January 2013 or 3 week stay: 28th December 2012 to 18th January 2013


MAMADY KEITA Most djembé/dundun students and professionals reading this will already be aware of how fantastic an opportunity this is – to learn from Mamady and see him perform. We would not be doing him justice to try and summarise his life story, artistic acheivements or explain how he has helped protect, promote and teach this art form and it’s traditions. For full information / biography see

IYA SAKO Iya is also from the Wassolon region of Upper Guinea. He is a renowned and highly respected djembé fola across the Siguiri, Wassalon and Bamako regions of Guinea and Mali. He taught his first international students in Mali in 1999 before moving to Conakry in 2004. He was subsequently introduced to and worked with Famoudou Konate, supporting his workshops and performing with Famoudou’s group. He moved to the UK in 2007.

DANCE TEACHER & SINGING TEACHER To be confirmed. We are in the process of selecting suitable teachers to ensure that the dance and singing courses are led by artists/teachers in keeping with the level of expertise as the other teachers on this course.

SECKOU KEITA Seckou is a highly respected djembé fola and kora player also from the griot Cissokho family whose prolific work includes teaching, touring worldwide and recording. Originally from Casamance, he now lives in the UK. Seckou met Mamady in 2005 and was then invited to perform and record “Mamady Keita & Sewa Kan Live @ Couleur Cafe” a CD/DVD in Belgium in 2006. Seckou will be assisting Mamady’s course.


You can book for 2 weeks: 28th December – 11th January or for 3 weeks: 28th December – 18th January The drumming courses will be split into two levels – intermediate (group 1) and advanced (group 2). Mamady and Iya will teach both levels. If you are unsure of what djembé level you are, please contact us. Mamady will assess and guide students once in Abené, to ensure that they are in the group they will most benefit from. The 3rd week 11th – 18th January is with Mamady only and you will need to be an advanced djembe player. Dundun players for each course will be provided. There will be opportunity to record demonstrations of all djembé parts, solos etc, dunduns and variations. Video is not allowed. Any other classes that we organise can also be audio recorded.

TIMETABLE – a typical workshop day (workshops run 5 days out of 7): Breakfast 8 – 9am Dance 9.15 – 10.45am Drum (Group 2 with Iya / Group 1 with Mamady) 11am – 1pm Lunch 1 – 2pm Singing 3 – 4pm Drum (Group 2 with Mamady / Group 1 with Iya) 4.30 – 6.30pm Dinner 7.30 – 8.30pm


According to the Lonely Planet Guide ( “The Casamance is one of Senegal’s most beauti­ful regions, with lush tropical landscapes, myriad waterways and the unique culture of the Diola, the largest ethnic group of the region. On the western coast, Senegal’s finest beaches spread in a wide strip of white sand from Cap Skiring north towards the ‘hip’ villages of Kafountine and Abéné, only broken by a mangrove-lined delta where the Casamance River spills into the Atlantic.” We couldn’t have put it better!

Abené has become known as “the drumming village.” On most days, you’ll hear the sound of drums from any of Abené’s resident groups or from overseas students attending a workshop. Aside from the music and dance, you’ll also enjoy just being in lovely Abené where the people are warm and welcoming. There are places to visit such as craft markets, Abené’s giant cotton silk tree and Kafountine, a larger village 7km away. In the evenings, some bars in Abené have live traditional music or DJ’s playing Reggae etc. The famous annual Abené Festival (usually 26th December to 2nd January) celebrates the music and dance of many different ethnic groups in Senegal and neighbouring countries.

Run by Kumba Cissokho, Les Belle Étoiles is conveniently located between the beach and the village centre. The accommodation consists of round buildings with two rooms. Each room has twin beds with an ensuite toilet and shower (unheated). At the front is a large bar / eating area. On most evenings you will be able to relax around the campfire.


Prices include: Transport from Banjul arriving on 28th December and returning on 11th or 18th January. Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner) accommodation in shared twin rooms at Les Belle Étoiles. Ticket to the Abené Festival 28th December – 2nd January.

Two drum classes a day – drum with Mamady and drum with Iya 40hrs £900 One drum class a day – drum with Mamady or drum with Iya 20hrs £750 One dance class, one singing class a day 25hrs £770 One drum class (Mamady or Iya), one dance class and one singing class a day 45hrs £925 Accommodation only £500 Single room supplement (if you do not want to share a twin room) £40

3 weeks: 28th December – 18th January Two drum classes a day – drum with Mamady and drum with Iya for first two weeks. In week 3, both drum classes a day are with Mamady* 60hrs £1250 One drum class a day – drum with Mamady* or drum with Iya 30hrs £850 One dance class, one singing class a day 37.5hrs £870 One drum class (Mamady* or Iya), one dance class and one singing class a day 67.5hrs £1290 Accommodation only £675 Single room supplement (if you do not want to share a twin room) £60

You can also book additional lessons including balafon / dundun / kora / dance / singing. These will be at £8 – £15 per hour which you can pay for in Abené.

* The 3rd week 11th – 18th January is with Mamady only and you will need to be an advanced player.

For a pdf with more information click on this link: Mamady Iya Drum Camp Senegal 2012 2013

TO BOOK YOUR PLACE download a booking form here:

The booking form will have details of EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS. To be eligible for the early bird price you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of £250 by 30th April 2012. All other deposits will need to be paid by 30th June 2012 Full payment must be received by 30th November 2012. If you need to pay by instalments, please contact Coral.

If you have any question please contact: Coral Dunwell 07762 402811 or Justine Hart 07773 047684

This course has been organised by Drum Whisperer and Hartbeats on behalf of Mamady Keita

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