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Class Descriptions 2024

Amikaeyla Gaston

Sonic Sound

All Levels

Come experience a soothing space to lay your burdens down and heal through silence and sound.  Envelope your senses in calm tranquility and let your stress melt away in this sonic sanctuary. 

Several incredible healers are donating their talents. Jnana Gowan will be doing Gong healing; Debbie Fier will be using her healing Hang (Handpan); Amikaeyla will be doing crystal bowl chakra clearing, and Regina Oji will be doing vocal tone healings.

While you wait for the start of your session, you can sit and enjoy soothing sounds from chimes and fountains while you journal or do arts, crafts, or make prayer ties. This is going to be a special & beautiful area to visit!!  The Sonic Healing area will be under the Big Tree across from the Amphitheatre.

Ava Square

West African Dance with Live Drums

All Levels

Come have fun with Ava and dance, dance, dance.

Barbara Borden

Music of the Moment– Improvising & Soloing

All Levels and All Drums Welcome

Barbara will be your guide into the joys of improvising and soloing using her accessible step-by-step approach. The concepts shared are applicable to whatever kind of drum you play. Each of us will have the opportunity to honor: the roll that drumming has played in our lives (pun intended) along with any drumming ancestors and traditions that have brought us to this moment; the unseen friends that are with us always; and the elements of Mother Nature that we carry within us ready to serve in each moment.

Barbara will choose from some of the topics below (and more that may come in as we go) to bring you into the magical mystery tour of music making in the moment:

What improvising is and isn’t  ▪  What part improvising plays in drumming and music ▪Where and how to begin improvising ▪ How to stay relaxed as you improvise ▪ How to open and use your whole body and surrounding energy field as you drum ▪ How to be a music vessel ▪ How to listen, lead and follow to shape the music  ▪ How to create themes and variations, structure and freedom ▪ How to transition smoothly from one rhythm to the next ▪ How to use dynamics (soft, loud and everything between) ▪ How to access and bring your emotions into the music ▪ How to structure a solo ▪ How to trade two, four and eight bar solos ▪ How to continue your improvising and soloing practice ▪ Learn how to trade in self judgement and perfection for discernment and awareness

Come join the effervescent fun!!!

Carolyn Brandy

The Conga Drum!

Some conga drums will be available.

Beginning Class

We will learn basic technique and sounds; how to sit and hold the drum; and a few simple rhythms to get us started with this charismatic drum. We will also learn some of the history of the development of this drum from Africa to Cuba to North America.

Orisha Song Class

Orisha are the powers of nature. The mythology and culture of Orisha philosophy originates from the Yoruba people of Nigeria.  The majority of the songs praise the power of the wind, ocean, rivers, the herbs etc. Other songs tell the ancient stories from the mythology of the Orisha. Come join us to learn some of these beautiful songs.

Advanced Conga Class

Advanced

This class will explore contemporary patterns for the Conga drum. We will be exploring historical context and patterns for Rumba: Guagaunco, Guarapachangeo, possibly Rumba Columbia, and Quinto depending on time.
This is an advanced class. Students must have an understanding and be able to play rumba clave, palito, tumbadora, and tres dos (Segundo).

Debbie Fier

Middle Eastern Percussion

All Levels

Come enjoy the wonderful connection that we will create in our circle of drummers! We will warm up and then move into learning drum technique and Middle-Eastern rhythms. Come enjoy the power of the drum!
Class is open to all levels. It is a basic skills class so is very accessible for beginners. Bring your dumbeks, riqqs, tars and hand percussion. All hand drums are also welcome! There will be a limited number of drums to borrow on a first come, first served basis.

Denise Solis

Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba

Dancing the Drum (Saturday)

Intermediate

In the tradition of Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba, the interaction/conversation between the dancer and the drummer is key. This is an improvised conversation and friendly challenge led by the dancer whose movements the lead drummer (Subidora(or) interprets. The dancer is inspired by the song and/or rhythm and enters the Batey (circle/cypher that Bomba happens in) and tells their story by way of their dance, an improvised set of movements that the lead drum person interprets in real time. Students will see this interaction modeled and learn how to start this conversation with the dancer in the Rhythms of Sica and Yuba.

(Please see Julia Cepeda’s class description.)

Dancing the Drum (Sunday)

Intermediate

El subidor me llama (Call and Response phrases on the drum)

Students will review Sica, Yuba, and Cuembe rhythms and then practice some intro language phrases with a call and response exercise between the Buleadoras (accompanying drum) and the Subidora (lead drum).

Elizabeth Sayre

The Batá Drum!

All Levels (see note below)

The batá drums of Cuba are part of the collective musical genius preserved and still developing in Afro-Cuban communities in Havana and Matanzas. The batá drums salute the revered forces of nature known as orisha (the crossroads, iron, the forest, the mountain, the wind, thunder & lightning, the river, the seas, etc.) and are part of a living spiritual tradition. They have also over time become part of the national cultural heritage of Cuba.

This class will introduce a bit of history (or herstory–crucial in the case of the batá for women students and players), correct posture and hand technique, several fundamental rhythms (such as Lalubanche, Ogún, Yakotá, Egbado [Rumba Obatalá] or others) and possibly some orisha songs. We will cover different material in each class.

At least one year of hand drum study and knowledge of 6/8 bell patterns/clave are recommended for the classes. The batá have their own hand technique (similar to congas and bongo) and require the constant development of listening and ensemble-playing skills.

Students at all levels are welcome: beginners will have a crash course in the batá; intermediate and advanced players can try a part or drum they have not played before.

Please bring batá drums (no other type of drum) and maracas (or a similar type of shaker with a handle and a clean sound). Some drums will be provided for those who don’t have them!

Jeni Swerdlow

Restorative Rhythms – Drumming for Transformation

All Levels

Got stress? Get relief! Restorative Rhythms is an empowering drumming experience designed for all skill levels. This workshop offers a safe and supportive space where we can connect with each other and explore the healing power of rhythm. Through guided exercises and improvisational play with drums and assorted percussion instruments, participants will drum out negativity and “womanifest” positivity, while also engaging in mindfulness techniques and self-care practices. Whether you’re looking to try something new or deepen your existing drumming practice, Restorative Rhythms offers a unique and transformative experience for drummers seeking to connect with their inner rhythm.

Julia Cepeda

Puerto Rican Bomba, Drum and Dance

All Levels

Dance to the rhythms of Puerto Rico’s national rhythm the Bomba.  Denise Solis and students from camp will accompany the class on the drums and rhythm instruments of Bomba.

Mabiba Baegne

Dunun (Bass Drums) from Guinea

All Levels

Those drums are the heart of the Malinke rhythm: the bass drum are made from hallowed tree trunks cut to a cylindrical shape and covered with cowhide at both end: the musician strikes the drum with a wooden stick on one hand, while the other hand simultaneously holds a metal stick that is used to strike an iron bell attached to the drum. The Dunun comes in three different sizes. 

The names of the drums are: Kenkeni, the smallest and the keeper of the time; Sangban, the middle one is the heart; Dununba gives power and heat to the rhythm as well adding great rhythmic dimension; the bells bring another tonality and fill the space between the beats. In some regions they play one or two. Only in Kurussa and Kankan region, they play all three Dununs and bells.

West African and Congolese Dance with Live Drums

Mar Stevens

Drum Meditation

All Levels

Open your morning with the drums in a spirit of meditation. Deepen your connection with the drum, the breath, and the healing that is manifested.
Bring your drums and percussion instruments. Loaner drums and percussion are available on a first come first serve basis. All are welcome to come and participate in the meditation. You can sit, lie, or stretch while listening to the drums.

Djembe Vibrations

All Levels

Come and experience the power of the drum through traditional West African rhythms. Class will start with a short warm up to connect with the vibrations of the drum as you start your journey. We will transition into a West African rhythm that will be upbeat and fun. This class will help improve your technique, timing, listening skills, and confidence as you sit with the drum.
Bring your djembe, djuns, congas, hand percussion, etc. There will be extra djembes available on a first come, first served basis.

Michaelle Goerlitz

Brazilian Samba

All Levels

We’ll play Rio-style samba with traditional percussion (snare, repinique, surdos, tamborims and agogo bells), but also add hand drums – so djembes and congas are welcome!
Some instruments will be provided.

Stick Tricks!

All Levels

If you’re a newcomer to sticks, or want to improve your technique and stamina, I invite you to come learn a few new tricks. Using a variety of rhythms, we will apply the stick parts-and have fun in the process! Sticks provided, all levels welcome.
Sticks will be provided.

Neena McNair

Native American Drum

All Levels

We will be sharing songs and respect for the mother drum indigenous to the Great Plains. We will make drumsticks, while discussing origin of materials, and share songs, rhythms and dances specific to this particular drum. Also, we will explore reasons women are called to this style of drumming and find another community of nurturing support. Please come share your knowledge and gather some, too.

Ouida Lewis

Mento to Reggae Origins (Friday)

All Levels

We go where it all started with mento to reggae journeying through the folk forms

DRUMVERSATIONS (Saturday)

All Levels

Reconnecting with internal Joy, creating meaningful dialogue using the language of the drums with the rhythms of the heart. Feeling the four.

From Africa to Jamaica and Back (Sunday)

All Levels

A deep dive into the Jamaican Congolese TAMBU.

Put It All Together (Monday)

All Levels

The Nyahbinghi rhythm and chants.

Qween Hollins

Sacred Magic Wand / Staff Making

All Levels

Join us to re-remember the sacredness of making Magic staffs and wands. Wands and staffs are made to connect with the invisible world, to extend and direct energy and to magnetize energy. This ancient practice is used by many indigenous people around the world. The journey into the magic of sacred wand / staff making allows us to tap into a childlike space to a time when we remembered our unlimited connection to Source.  The only thing  required for attending is an open heart and no judgement around the capacity of your creativity.

Some craft materials will be provided and if you have crafts to share, please bring them.

Bells, Cowry shells, Burlap, Buttons, Pipe Cleaners,Yarn, Needle and thread, Raffia,Twine, Sand paper. If time permits: a wood burner, different carving tools. A couple of knives for carving. Silver and gold spray paint. Acrylic paints of eight basic colors: purple, yellow, orange, blue, red, black, white, green. All kinds of copper wire. Glue guns and packs of glue sticks. Fake flowers that look real 🙂 with leaves. Fake leaves that look real. All different sizes of crystals, but not super big or heavy. A saw and shears.

Regina Wells (Rashida Oji)

Embodied Movement

All Levels

Warm, stretch and prep for whole-self drum, dance, song and healing. Connect to places inside you that drum, dance, sing and heal with effortless passion, physical ease and presence. Learn and create simple moves that lubricate joints, renew muscular elasticity, reduce strain and invite Goddess presence to pour through you with unhindered joy.

Wear soft, loose clothes. Bring a mat, towel or blanket. Make brief notes if you like.

Sahar El Khatib

Traditional West African Rhythms

All Levels

Immerse yourself in the vibrant rhythms of West Africa with Sahar who has learned under grand Master Mamady Keita and his school Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy. Gain expertise in Djembe accompaniments, Dunun parts, and traditional songs. Learn to play in harmony, master rhythm entrances, and endings, and develop patience, good listening skills, and a steady sense of timing. Embrace the joy of the journey, savor the present moment, and embrace new experiences on your drumming path.
Bring your own drum, there may be extra drums, but it’s first come, first serve.

Sheree Seretse

Welcome to the World of Zimbabwean Marimba Music

All Levels

The ensemble of instruments is comprised of sopranos, tenors, baritones and bass marimbas. The class will include an introduction and cultural perspective. The workshop will not use written notation. It will draw upon your listening and visual skills. The music is made of short repetitive melodies and rhythms which interact to create polyphonic and polyrhythmic sounds and melodies. If you can hone into those skills and use your hands you can play the marimba. Come make a joyful sound with this infectious music. Each session will focus on a different song.

Sue Kaye (Suki)

Conga Class

All Levels

We will be exploring Afro-Cuban and Congolese styles in this class. We will learn rhythms that can be played in an ensemble of drummers and also as accompaniment with other instrumentation. We’ll also focus a bit on technique to work on a good sound. Along with congas feel free to bring other drums, and hand percussion to this class.

Trinity Watkins

Kundalini Yoga

All Levels

A typical Kundalini yoga class can be comprised of 3-6 parts: an opening chant (known as “tuning in”) followed by a brief warm-up for your spine, a kriya (which is a sequence of postures paired with breathing techniques), and a closing meditation or song.”