Unbelievably I am half way through my stay here in Senegal and so far it has been such an incredible experience. Investigating traditional music here is never difficult as it is everywhere you go. Kids on the streets pickup sticks and buckets and are able to play ‘mbalax’ rhythms as soon as they can walk. In my teaching, I always try to include songs with the classes and recently did a test using a comprehension on the most famous Senegalese singer, Youssou Ndour, who also attempted to run for president in the general elections this year.
Politics and music are closely linked here, and I have been to several political rallies in Joal and Mbour, where there are always musicians playing and singers performing, accompanied by the Senegalese dancing crazily with enthusiasm. Our Easter holidays begin next week and we are set to travel to the Gambia, where there are workshops in learning the kora and balafon, traditional Western Africa instruments, so I am very much looking forward to that!
I am also currently in the process of applying for a music bursary in Birmingham University where I will be studying from September. I am now a faithful member of the local Church choir in Joal (although I am not particularly religious) it gives me the opportunity to hear and join in with singing in Wolof, Serere, Diola, French, Latin and drumming. I am more than happy to perform something or perhaps send over a recording when I am back in the UK. I will send another message to the Trust after my stay in the Gambia and again in May when I have been to the infamous Saint Louis Jazz Festival.