Our Drumming Experience
Drumming tuition provided for our guests is generally an optional extra. We provide introductions to the best teachers we can recommend as being suitable for any particular guest. We have plenty of experience with these teachers here in The Gambia.
Some are very good for advanced classes, others are better suited to first introductions to the African drum. We avoid those that have proven to be untrustworthy. If guests give us plenty of information about their present drumming ability/level and what they require from a tutor in The Gambia, some weeks in advance of their arrival, then we can tailor a tuition package for them, to some extent. However the guest will always have the final say and can go their own way at any time.
We will set up guests with teachers, then the 2 parties will make a contract that is nothing to do with the guest house. We take no cut of tuition fees. The introduction is a service we provide, along with many other services, included free in the holiday.
Same goes for African Dance and tuition with other African musical instruments such as Ballaphon and Kora.
Paul originally set up this guest house, but now it's wholly owned and run by local Africans. Paul is still a UK based booking agent for the business, but there are others that can manage that role too, if Paul is not available. Although he is still able and willing to teach African drumming, as well as repair drums etc., Paul has semi retired from business and takes much more of a back seat with regards to Real Africa. Just to show some sort of qualification for being able to deal with African Drum tuition we have provided some information about Paul's experience below.
About Paul as a drummer:
Paul has been playing traditional African rhythms since 1985. Initially he trained with a Ghanaian master drummer and choreographer, who was living in England, training 3 to 5 hours per week for 4 years. From this foundation in West African drum and dance he has continued to learn from a succession of African teachers, both in Europe and Africa.
In the late 80's Paul toured with an African drum and dance ensemble; in the early 90's he spent some hours each week, drumming and dancing Gabrielle Roth's 'Wave Of Life'. He has jammed with many professional performers in Europe and Africa and recorded with Jazz, R&B and Highlife bands. For many years he's had his own performing group, formed from the best trainees in his classes.
1992 saw him, "....somehow cast in the role of teacher, after years of just playing for the fun of it." He has been teaching continuously ever since.
Paul runs workshops in Europe and west Africa, where, since 1996, he has had a second home and hosts drum and dance holidays. For years, he has run workshops on a weekly and weekend basis from home & other classes for adult education colleges. Throughout the 90's he taught at most of the major music festivals. Currently, he is invited to run workshops all over the UK. He has taken his drums and skills to many varied projects. Such as corporate team building and managers weekends, events for healing, fund-raising, environmental issues etc.. He has the experience of running workshops for all kinds of people and organisations. Some projects have been for prisoners, St. Barnardos, theatre and dance groups, asylum seekers, childrens festivals, the mentally impaired, the blind, as well as business managers and musicians of other instruments.
One of his strengths is to be able to adapt his teaching style to suit all manner of groups, even groups of mixed ability and different backgrounds. He can 'tailor-make' workshops for virtually any group of people, from absolute beginners to professional players with years of experience.
Paul teaches traditional African rhythms on a variety of traditional drums. Several simple patterns are learned, step by step, then put together to form more complex, colourful rhythms. Everyone learns all the parts to all the patterns. Background information about each rhythm is given, i.e. name, tribal origin and use. Drum language notation is taught, so all patterns can be reproduced later from these notes. Paul has recorded a CD, which is packaged with all the drum language, to aid and encourage practice at home.
Paul has trained in various therapies and counselling. He therefore has a deep understanding of the therapeutic value of African rhythms, bringing these skills to his work, where appropriate. However, his workshops focus on the fun found within a varied group of ordinary people, cooperating, communicating and sharing together. Expect some individual attention, to put in a lot of energy and to leave with your rhythmic ability enhanced, your energy levels raised and feeling relaxed and ready to enjoy your life.
The health benefits of drumming:
Micky Hart's address to congress senate commitee.