We have a real treat for my Tuesday night class coming up with Miro Klima taking over on the 16th April.
Miro has been studying West African drumming for the past 18 years. During this time he has learnt from some of the best African masters alive today, both in Guinea (West Africa) and also in Europe and Australia, where many of these teachers now live. As a performer, Miro has played in a number of west African inspired troupes and performed at numerous functions and events all around the world. He has been teaching and facilitating drumming workshops, weekly classes and team-building events for the past 10+ years in Europe and New Zealand.
We are really excited to have him here, as his reputation for being an amazing drum tutor precedes him.
Usual fees apply: Beginner class, 6-7pm - $10, Intermediate, 7-8.30pm $20 (includes beginners class for free). Pre purchased 10 trip tickets can be used for this awesome workshop.
COOK ISLAND SOCIETY, 220 HANSON STREET, NEWTOWN, WELLINGTON. Entrance near end of Hanson and Stoke street. Up to the right of the Scottish Pipers Hall.
We have guest tutor from the Netherlands coming in to teach. Rene Vickers. He is spending 3 weeks in Wellington and wanted to teach a class. I couldn’t resist letting someone else take over and seeing their style of teaching, methods and what they bring to the party. See you Tuesday! (Drumming for Dancing as usual afterwards with myself leading )
Mamadou Delmundo Keïta
This weekend has been one of my most long awaited events of the year so far. I think it was 6 years ago that Mohamed Bangoura was last in Wellington and although he has visited New Zealand several times since then, his main focus had been Auckland and surrounding areas. So this time round, thanks to Jimi Dale of www.drumtalk.co.nz, we managed to secure a days workshop from this Master Djembe player. To be taught by Mohamed was indeed a privilege and an awe inspiring event. The morning brought Dazling us with his dexterity, solos, knowledge and speed on the drum. Whilst in the afternoon Mohamed did not disappoint with an intense dance workshop that got everyones bodies grooving and minds working and heart pumping.
Thank you Mohamed for your generosity of time, patience, visiting Wellington and indeed bringing the fire!!
To View pictures from the day go here: Gallery Pages
2015 has in started in fine fashion for me, as African Beats NZ has just opened New Zealands first African drumming online store. Here we are going to be selling some quality items, but you check out our store, I would like to thank African Drumming Australia for making this all possible.
Late in 2014 I was approached by a few people asking where they could buy Djembes from and I felt hard pressed to find top quality drums for anyone who was asking for them. You know, I am not trying to say that the drums that are produced here in New Zealand are not good ones and know some drum makers personally who make some great instruments, but for me there was just something about seeing and hearing those amazing instruments that you see Mamady Keita and Famoudou Konate play. I thought to myself, "I got to get us New Zealanders some of those drums, we need some quality drum action happening." Little did I know that just over the ditch in Melbourne Australia, African Drumming Australia had exactly what we needed.
I initially started purchasing skins for my own projects from them, but soon enough we were talking about Djembes and bringing all kinds of goodies into NZ. I can truly say we just were thinking on the same page from the start and within a matter of weeks, Simon and Jeremy had sent a shipment of two cartons of African drumming goodies to my doorstep, including 4 bad ass Djembes (alas I have already sold one so there only three left now).
So after a few weeks of preparation and website development, I am proud to announce that African Beats NZ store is now online! (Click here to take a peak)
Thank you http://www.africandrumming.com.au
Contemplating a band/group name was something I have been doing for a while but really never thought it would be something I would do. I actually never envisioned a drumming group for performances, as I am quite happy teaching rhythms to students through Community Music Junction and performing with Nimba (a Wellington African drumming group).
African Beats NZ has always been about teaching and spreading the love of African rhythm which would be accessible to all performance and education groups to post in, interact with and be part of a community either via Facebook or contacting me directly. I never really felt happy using African Beats NZ as a band/group name as I do not want African Beats NZ to be seen as being bias towards any particular group or people.
About a month ago I was asked to to get a wee group of like minded drummers together to perform for Africa Day here in Wellington. We are due to perform along side the Moringa Dancers and Robert Fugah on Saturday the 24th May 2014 and unfortunately the organisers of the event got a little confused between African Beats NZ and Nimba and were just about to print the programmes for the event with the incorrect group name. So I thought I might as well put a little more effort into a group name for this performance.
"OK, Time to be different", I thought. We really need to be known as something new and not African Beats NZ. Known as something meaningful and that represents who and what we are all about. I made a concious effort to not have African in the group name as none of us are in fact African, but a name that can be recognised as African in origin. Robert Fugah initially came up with the word NKABOM - (Togetherness in English), This was back in October 2013 and although I didn't really resonate with that as a group name, the name Togetherness stayed with me and has recently evolved into Unity.
Why Unity? Well Wellington is a small place for African drummers and often we will call upon each other to be part of a performance group, so an initial reason for liking togetherness is that I wanted to have the group name be something that indicates a oneness in the drumming community. I can pretty much say that we come from all walks of life, but when we play together as a group, we become one. Unified. An organic ensemble of rhythm that is totally unique individually and yet unified in its focus. Unity is what I feel African drumming is all about. We are not one person hitting out all the different parts of a rhythm on his/her drum kit. We are individuals bringing our individuality together to create a unique rhythm and sound.
Above all else, the rhythms brings people together, in dance, in singing, in community and in Spirit. That's why we do it.
And so Kubatana* (Unity/Togetherness) was born. Maybe this is the start of a few more drum/dance gigs? let's see, but whatever happens, we just love drumming together.
*Thanks to Chris Berry for the translation from English to Shona.
Loving the beginning of this term. What a great energy we have in the class and with the continuation of the African Dance Classes, Thursday's evenings are the highlights of my working week.
This term I am trying to bring in some of the new rhythms that I have learnt from King Marong and off The Rhythm Reference Project files that I downloaded last year. These new rhythms have consisted of Sonsornet, Calipso and Sinte.
I am loving how quick everyone is picking up the parts and breaks. I cannot wait unto next week :)
What an amazing turn out Jenny had for her African Dance class this evening. Right from the start Jenny had everyone moving and shaking and after a gentle warm up, the main choreography began. You know, I do not think I have ever seen so many smiles in one room at the same time as I saw tonight. Everyone got straight into the rhythm and before long everyone was rocking out to the beat of Macru. Drumming for this class was absolutely amazing for me and everyone else rose to the challenge. Susanna, Jaime, Carin and Rachael are amazing drummers. I feel privileged to have them bring their energy and enthusiasm to the class. They Rock! Thanks Jenny. Great fun and I cannot wait until next time :)
A pretty amazing day was had by all yesterday as we took to the Marimba's and hammered our way through all of the different parts of Chris's composition, creating the centre piece for the evenings performance. Chris's course brought people from all walks of life together with his healing ways and music. Bringing a little ancient African rhythm and culture to Wellington Via Jimmy Dale of Auckland, this has so far been the highlight of the year for me. If only I could afford to go on the retreat being held next weekend in Auckland. If any this blogs readers do wish to go then you can find details of this life changing retreat at the bottom of the page at http://www.drumtalk.co.nz
The evening's gathering and performance went really well. Bringing a taste of the weekend to people who couldn't make the weekends teachings. The music and song brought on an uplifting and vibrant mood and for myself, it was just an amazing thing to be involved with.
Julian Raphael of the Community Music Junction, who hosted this event for wellington, has recently acquired some of Chris and Jimmy's favorite instrument, the Mbira and will be running an Mbira club here in Wellington. Chris uses the Mbira to bring a melodic and gentle sound which accompanies most of what Chris teaches. It is such an hypnotic and uplifting instrument to hear, and may be on my wish list for Christmas :)
Thank you to everyone for a great weekend xxx
Wow, Yesterdays Djembe drumming with Chris Berry was great fun and going hard out for the dancers was even better. A lot of fun was had by everyone. It will be a real fun night tonight and I am really looking forward to it. Now if only my hands will stop hurting :)
My name is Simon Elwell and I have been part of the Community Music Junction Djembe classes at a student and now a teacher for over 10 years. I am enthusiastic intermediate Djembe player who loves sharing anything I know about this subject.