Day 11 & 12 – 5/1/13 & 6/1/13 – The Weekend

Mamady rocking the Taal Inc. T:

Fun Inc. With Mamady Keita

During dinner the previous night Mamady thanked us for a week of hard work. He confessed that we surpassed his expectations in terms of tightness and execution of the pyramid considering the amount of time we had to work on it. His final warning to us was to take enough rest over the weekend. “Rest your hands, your bodies and your hearts,” he said.

That is pretty much ALL I did. I slept in on the Saturday and made my way to the beach along with Tannis, Owen, Steve, Natalie and Colin. This was the first time I took a dip in the Atlantic Ocean since I’ve been in Africa. I’m surprised it took me this long.

After a quick dip, I slept a peaceful sleep and then later we caught up with Myriam, Carin, Suntu (our kenkeni player and a gifted Kora player), and Matar (our server and football player extraordinaire). It kind of completed our Rhythm Ensemble. At the beach it is difficult to calculate time and even more so with musicians everywhere. This is what we witnessed soon as we as down:

The Bolon and Kalabas Ensemble (from Guinea) on the Beach in Abene, Senegal

As it turned out Mamady was enjoying a day out on the beach as well, at the bar right behind where we were sitting. He was with Ben, Alieu and some others to make sure that he wouldn’t be mobbed by people as he walked around. It becomes rather difficult for Mamady to get out on his own because of this; even more so in Guinea.

That evening we decided to have a little party of our own at bar ‘Steve et Bruno’ (Basically- Steve and Bruno’s room). We stocked the bar and brought out the snacks and very soon, Drum Circle Drums were arranged, songs were sung… need I say more…?

party at bar ‘Steve et Bruno (room # 6 if I remember correctly)

Simultaneously out by the bonfire there was a beautiful Kora and Bodhran jam. Brian, one of the students was playing the Bodhran. The Bodhran supported the kora perfectly and created a peaceful and reflective ambience. Brian’s band (the Bah Band) just completed a tour of India.

Late at night, we made our way to Bar Wora to listen to ‘Forre Sacre’ play once again. This time they had singers who just did not cut it with the melodies. The drumming however was absolutely astounding. I think it was the use of microphones wrongly that made the singers sound worse than they are. It was a small and intimate venue that didn’t necessarily need the use of microphones at all. With no energy left to go to yet another reggae party that followed, we walked back to our rooms and crashed. (So much for RESTING!)

I skipped breakfast on Sunday and caught up on my blog writing. After this you will notice that i write in past tense. With the electricity situation here, it becomes difficult to keep my thoughts fresh considering I don’t have my iPad with me when it is charging. (Abudu takes the iPad to a shop in the village where it is charged and it comes back to me a day later).

That evening the group was planning to have a djembe jam out on the beach. This would be a good idea to practice some of the material learned and just play without the fear of judgement and pressure of performance.

A still from session two of the beach-jam. Photo credits: Steve ‘Drum Splitter’

Just as I was about to leave the room, I saw a football being kicked around and before I could react we broke into a four-aside match. It had been a long time since I played footie and enjoyed the workout. We lost 4-3 but it’s not winning or losing that matters is it…? Besides, the other team had Matar, a professional football player who scored all the 4 goals. Pfft!

There were only about half of us remaining for dinner that night since the rest decided to try out a new place to eat by the beach. I’m glad I stayed since we had batter fried fish stuffed with Boiled egg served with salad, potato and onion sauce. This was the most scrumptious meal I have eaten in Senegal yet. This was corroborated by most people going for seconds. Yum yum!

I could not get myself to get out to the beach after dinner and decided to call it a night. Week 1 of 3 was over. I had another 2 weeks of drumming, learning, sharing and relaxation ahead of me. I’m starting to get into the rhythm of life here in Abene, starting to feel the calluses on my hands after all the drumming, starting to understand the people, starting to absorb the different djembe solos being played around me.

Come. Drum. Be One.

Taal Inc.