August Newsletter

Missing WOMAD?

Right now we should be in a tent in the Charlton Park arboretum tuning hundreds of strings and showing festival goers how to hold and play the kora (well it would be weird if we started teaching French Horn and probably not so popular with our neighbours, so we’ll stick with kora).   So though we are very happy here in Senegal while we search for flights to get us to Europe, we are really missing our wonderful international Kora Crew, all our WOMAD friends and the hundreds of people who come along to try out this amazing instrument!  To capture some of that WOMAD feeling go and checkout their amazing weekend of WOMAD At Home and  see if you can spot yourself in some of our workshop photos. Thanks to @_nic_kane for some great shots 🙂

A group of kora players at a workshop in a tent

September Workshop confirmed

We are really pleased that we have been able to confirm the September workshop at Mas de Jammes, France.   Several booking have already been made by regular students and some new ones too – it’s always a lovely mixture, with absolute beginners encouraged by more experienced players.  Private rooms are going fast though so do book quickly if you want your own space!  Tents are always an option and there are still beds in the big shared rooms.

Rest assured, if the event had to be cancelled due to Covid19 or any other reason,  of course we would refund any payments, though we would ask anyone who can to accept a credit note for a future workshop or item.  

koras on a table outisde stone farmhouse, students waiting for the lunch call

Rainy Season Experience

Because of the CoVid travel restrictions we decided to stay here in Kafountine, Senegal rather than head back to Europe mid April as usual.  This is a new experience for us because apart from the very occasional storm when we arrive in October, we have never been here for the rainy season.  We’ll be heading back to Europe in early August this year to finish kora orders and welcome people to our September workshop in France. In the meantime we have put up screens to keep out the mosquitos; they aren’t really a problem in the dry season so they are also part of this new experience…

It is, not surprisingly, very humid and warm, the temperature gauge seems to be permanently set between 28 and 30 degrees, so gone are the ‘chilly mornings of 10 degrees and lower! No need for a fleece at any time of the day or night, and we try to wear as little as possible for as long as possible.  The gardens and surrounding bush have become incredibly lush, with flowers appearing on plants that we could never really see the point of before!  The architectural bare branches of Frangipane bloom endlessly and wild plants produce amazingly complex flowers. Butterflies are everywhere and the birds are all in their best plumage.  Small Monitor lizards seem less shy and the more common Rainbow Lizards have put on their purple yellow and white suits

Wild flower in the bush

What a year so far!

We hope you’ve been able to manage OK wherever you are in the world during the CoVid19 crisis.  We are still in Kafountine, Senegal where we decided to stay once it became obvious that travel and other restrictions were starting to be imposed.  The May workshop in France, WOMAD, our UK workshop at Cwm MAddoc and Tribal Earth were all cancelled but we are very hopeful that the September Workshop in France (23rd-30th) will go ahead.   So we should be heading back to Europe  mid-July, and able to catch up with all our outstanding kora orders – we’re very grateful to all our very patient customers!   See you soon 🙂

A group of people with some colourful koras at a workshop at WOMAD

Cwm Maddoc Kora weekend

Hats off to our kora students, they manage to have a great time and learn loads, even with high winds and rain lashing down. Of course those in the yurt, cabin, houses, campers and caravans had it easier but nothing seem to dampen the spirits of the campers either! Sitting around the camp fire, singing their hearts out and eating great food together whilst absent-mindely humming the kumbengo to Kelefa Ba kept them happy and wanting more, so next year we will make it Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon again. Some gluttons for punishment even stayed on for some more kora time 🙂

5 kora students
Q: How many kora students can we squeeze into this kitchen?
A: When it’s wet enough outside, all of them

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