Learning to drum Senegalese-style

Monday through Wednesday our days begin with an hour of Wolof class and an hour and a half of French.  While French is the official language, Wolof is used by nearly everyone on the street, in the shops and at home.  And while we came to Senegal with a wide range of French experience and skill, we all started together with Wolof. The pictures are from student presentations on original dialogues.

This week we are concentrating on the arts in Senegal so we started with drumming, of course.  We had run across Mauhamed Gueye  (a.k.a. “TonTon Maestro”) at the Village Artisanal here in Thiés before the students arrived.  He comes from a long line of drummers in his family, makes drums and performs.  We were taken by his skill and enthusiasm and he agreed to teach us some of the basics.  We, of course, have not grown up listening to these complex rhythms so there was some hilarity and puzzled looks as we tried to get things going the way our teacher intended.