The best way to learn West African drumming is . . . (surprise) to go to West Africa. In my experience the best teacher to learn from is Famoudou Konate. Mamady Keita is also an excellent teacher with a more standardized approach. Famoudou’s knowledge of the traditional Malinke rhythms is unmatched, and his instruction covers djembe and dunun parts with equal emphasis.
In December-January of 2003-04, I spent a month of study with Famoudou in a group workshop setting; with three weeks at his compound in a neighborhood of Guinea’s capital, Conakry, and a week in the rural village, Sangbarala, where Famoudou grew up amid the rich tradition of drum, dance and song.
The following slide shows present images of this unique learning experience of drum culture in Guinea.
- Drum and dance in the village of Sangbarala
- Djembe and dunun instruction in Conakry
- More scenes from the Guinean coast and interior
Dununba Fo – A Conversa Dos Tambores (with subtitles)
– an excellent introduction to drum culture in Guinea, featuring footage in Sangbarala and Conakry