Can't wait until the next workshop? Click here for information on our weekly Congolese drum class in Oakland.
Intensive Congolese Drum Classes at the Workshop
Three levels of Ngoma (drum) instruction are provided twice daily, for at least one hour per class. Classes are taught in small groups and build from basic drum sounds and rhythms to a full consistent vocabulary, combining various rhythms into a composition, within a steady bell pattern. A limited number of drums are available for purchase or for daily rental during the workshop.
Simple skills tests will help you assess the right class level for you. If you haven't tried hand drumming before, or are unfamiliar with basic Congolese rhythm patterns, start with a beginning-level class. The criteria for the intermediate class are the ability to create clear base, tone, and slap sounds with both right and left hands, and stay on the beat. The criteria for the advanced class are the ability to make the full vocabulary of drum sounds consistently and be able to hold a 6/8 bell pattern steadily.
Our drum instructors are world class Congolese artists with a lifetime of experience performing, recording and teaching the rhythms of these unique drums. Some live and perform in the San Francisco Bay area; our master guest instructors are brought to the camp each year from France or the Congo.
The instructors gather together twice daily to accompany the dance classes with a powerful drum line of a dozen Ngomas or more, joined by steel bells, shekere and other traditional instruments. This is a truly amazing experience!