The Ngoma (drum) is arguably the center of African communal life, whose presence marks every significant moment in the human experience. It is more than an instrument that inspires dancers to move, it is a messenger that ushers us through rites and rituals surrounding life-changing and life-sustaining occurrences. Many variations of the Ngoma exist in the Congolese tradition, however, very prevalent are those whose carved wooden exteriors and hollowed interiors are covered with stretched animal hides. Learn to speak the language of the Ngoma through our daily class offerings. Instruction is offered once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Three levels of Ngoma instruction (beginner, intermediate, advanced) are available to help students with varying levels build from basic drum sounds to rhythmic vocabulary and full composition.
Tied to the wrists of the Ngoma drummers, the nsakalas are pairs of seed pods carefully dried and filled with seeds. Their distinctive sound adds an accompanying layer of sound to the sound of the Ngomas.
Kisansi, Likembe, Lukembe, Mbira, Sanza, Kalimba, Chilimba, Thumb Piano, and a host of other names are used to identify the many incarnations of a musical instrument that is innately African. Classified as a lamellaphone, “any instrument with plucked keys (or lamellae) attached to a soundboard,” the Kisansi or Likembe of Congo come in a number of shapes and sizes and are often played by griots and traditional healers alike. A class is offered each afternoon where students can learn basic keys, traditional melodies and songs, and often some of the instructors very own composition.
The Ngongui (steel bell) is an instrument indigenous to all of the world’s people, and like most cultures, in Congolese society, the bell serves two purposes. The first purpose is to summons and call for people to gather and the other is more musical in nature. The Ngongui is a part of the rich orchestra of traditional Congolese music. It comes in various shapes and sizes and is generally made of wood or metal. Learn the rhythmic bell patterns that accompany and reinforce the power of the Ngoma. Classes are offered throughout the ten-day workshop.