Jam Sessions

Dakar Travel Blog

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Yesterday and today consisted of some great classes. In additon to our normal language lessons, we got talks from a professional photographer, a traditional African musican, and Atelier de Djembé (drumming) sessions.

Candance Feit is a freelance photographer based in the Dakar. She covers West Africa for multiple magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times. It was nice to start some sort of photography-related activity, and it defintely helped reaffirm a lot of our photographic thoughts we've been having throughout the trip as our practicum (graded independent project) awaits us in a few weeks. Her pictures were beautiful; she had some good stories to tell and advice to give.

Today, we were visted by a local musican who plays all kinds of Senegalese and African intruments. He had tons of energy and showed us all kinds of intruments ranging from xylophones to gourds emerged in water. We were taught a few crazy dance moves, and we even learned a few songs - though I have no idea what the words mean. Our Director, Souleye, is hilarious. He would sit in on the lecture, and start to dance when music was played and sing along when he knew the song. It was the funniest thing, his semi-mocking sense of humour backed up my genuine love for his culture.

Capping off the past two days were jams sessions held in the courtyard of the S.I.T. house. We sat in a circle, each of us with a drum (djembé). We learned different beats and basically followed our teacher's lead, continuing a rhythum with multiple sections until we all messed up too horribly to be saved. The only downside is that your hands hurt like crazy after beating on the drum for about three hours.

Yesterday, I visted the home of one of my fellow classmates. We sat in their back area on a mat studying Wolof while chickens ran around. Her little "brother" even helped us out a bit, providing us with some Wolof vocabulary.

Anyway, the rest of the week seems interesting. I heard we might be having a dance class. Right now, I hope not to get too comfortable so that my motivation is gone when we actually have to work.

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