There was talk of a big party on the beach for this night including a
. Even the performances at the Abene festival started and finished early (before time even!) so that everybody could make their way to the beach party in time to bring in the New Year. Impressive. The people here sure know how to party and have a good time.
In the day our preparation for the pyramid performance got more intense. The group is making its way steadily, knocking off one break after another. We completed Kudani and moved onto rhythm number two, ‘Kuruni’, which literally means ‘Little Hill’. This is a hill in Mamady’s village Balandugu. Mamady’s grandfather pretty much built the village from ground up. This small hill located in this village is a spiritual place. Mamady’s ancestors got in touch with the spirits of the village and asked them to protect the village, its culture and its people. This responsibility was passed on from generation to generation. After Mamady’s uncle, it was announced that it was Mamady’s turn. When he returned to Balandugu, he made sacrifices for the hill to announce his acceptance of this responsibility. But since Mamady would not always be in the village he created this rhythm as a tribute to the small hill. That way, he would teach his rhythm to his students all over the world and then, each time this rhythm was played, vibrations from across the globe would reach this little hill and retain the sanctity of this beautiful place. I would like to go see this hill once.
After lunch, most of the participants would go sleep ono the hammock serenaded by the wonderful sound of the Balaphon. Aleya would be teaching Non-Stop Nigel who could be spotted dashing between Cora, Balaphon, Djembe and Dunun classes (watch out for his band Kinkilba). Dunun classes continued and we did some more of the rhythms taught by Mamady.
After our evening class we all smelt a whiff of celebration in the air as everyone prepared to bring in the New Year, bidding adieu to the past and ushering in the new. We started off with some singing around the fire which is becoming a daily ritual and then made our way to the festival late only to catch the final few minutes of the performance.
We followed the big crowd to the beach and ended up around another big fire where Djembe and Dunun was to be played. While we waited I taught the gang a famous Hindi song, ‘Humma Humma‘ by Remo Fernandez- the perfect party song I thought which was sung perfectly and soon became Cherno’s (our cook and all round happy person’s) favourite song of the workshop (so much so that he would sing it EVERY TIME he saw me). To our left there was some Sabar drumming not too far away, for those interested in reggae and commercial music, that was there too.
As the clock struck twelve, there were fireworks, cheer and celebration everywhere. The drums started on the dot and the party began. I took a moment staring into the ocean and made my pledges for the year, in gratitude for a year full of progress, valuable African Drumming Lessons, joy and love. I couldn’t ask for much more but just the courage to carry on. I wish you all a wonderful 2013, one full of excellence and a year trying to be the best you can be.
The rest of the night was a blur; one full of drumming, dancing, laughter and happiness with a group full of people who have come to be very close to each other. All thanks goes to the Djembe.
Come. Drum. Be One.