January 10, 2017 to January 25, 2017
Join us for the trip of a lifetime, studying djembe and dunun drumming in Africa with Masters of the craft. A true cultural and musical immersion in Malinké music. Boston area’s DrumConnection is hosting an unforgettable journey to the birthplace of the djembe. In this solid 2 week trip you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the music and culture of The Gambia
Study drum and dance, attend festivals and celebrations, learn about the country and its people and discover the magic that IS Africa! This year, we have added Safari Days and nights!
“I just read the follow-up email you wrote Alan. I can’t thank you enough for this incredible experience. I am amazed at how much I learned and not just on djembe. But, for me, it was about the people of Africa. They made me a brother and we became very close. Thanks for changing my life!!”
“It amazes me that we became part of a family within a day and were so welcomed. For me, for the first time in my life, I felt at home. The instruction in all the instruments was fantastic and the teachers were extraordinary. Thank you for making this at all possible. It was, as you said, life changing!”
“Thank you Alan, Your great work continues to inspire, even in the face of violence and war--ESPECIALLY in the face of the darkness. Blessings to you and Fanta in 2011--may DrumConnection grow and spread the beauty of African drumming far and wide! I hope to travel with you once again this coming year on this great trip.”
"I have only studdied with Famoudou for a week in the United States a few years ago and have been hoping to travel to Guinea to study with him in his home. I am so excited to see this trip posted. I am signing up right now!"
While we will be drumming quite a bit we will also experience traditional Guinean dance and experience the connection to Africa. Through this experience, we will grow as musicians and experience profound personal changes as we develop and explore our new relationships with our teachers, friends and the environment.
The trip is for a solid 2 Weeks. More info soon.
You will be able to buy jewelry, fabric and visit tailors to have fitted close made for you, your friends and family and even your complete performance troupe!
Some nights you will enjoy candlelight when there is no electricity. You will see the Moon and Stars like never before as we are very near the equator. The days are warm and it usually cools down a little at night with an ocean breeze.
When you register you will receive detailed advice and support on what to bring in a comprehensive list that will be provided in a few emails. We can also send by post, if necessary.
In memory of my good friend Rainer Dorer, friend to Famoudou and a man you should know about.
ALAN TAUBER, (Boston, MA US) will be your host. This will be Alan’s thirteenth trip to Guinea. Alan has played and studied with Famoudou for over 15 years and assisted him in over 100 days of workshops! Alan will be available to you for any of your wishes or concerns from before you pack your bags to the day we come home once again. We will make your stay very enjoyable and be able to tailor (within reason) a workshop that will meet your needs.
THE AFRICAN EXPERIENCE
Over the course of over two weeks, travelers may participate in group drum, dance classes five days a week. During your stay you may also attend balafon and/or Fula Flute classes as you wish and as available.
We will be staying ON THE Beach! Safari is included this year!!
Traveling to Africa can seem hard or crazy to some people. It is best to do it in a safe and structured setting that we provide. What you will gain as a participant and traveler will, very likely, change your life. An immersion in the culture and music of The Gambia like this is not to be missed. Our DrumConnection trip is designed for newbie travelers to Africa as well as veteran West Africa dancers and drummers.
The experience is real and you will be safe. The Gambia is so culturally rich, it will change what you believe about the world and yourself. A trip of this nature will bring you into contact with perhaps some of the most open and generous people you have ever met. Though financially poor, these people have hearts as large as the widest seas!
Please send us an email as soon as possible to let us know of your interest in this tour. There are some meetings (optional) that give you a great idea of what to expect and how to prepare. Upon request, we will email you a registration form to get you started.
The food will be traditional African fare based on rice with a variety of sauces or traditional fare. You may enjoy chicken, beef, goat and lots of fresh fish from the Atlantic. There are always fresh vegetables and delicious fresh fruit. Vegetarian meals will always be available for you. Food will be prepared at the compound. The cooking goes on ALL day! If you like it spicy, we do spicy! Or tame, if you must.
There is always bottled water available for purchase, highly recommended. Many surprises too! Can’t tell you everything:)
Classes in Drum or Drum and Dance will be 4-5 days a week. Many afternoons we will have dance classes as people wish. Drum Classes will include proper tone production, feel, relaxation, speed, rolls, solos, traditional rhythms, songs and the cultural context of the rhythms. We may add in a ballet style arrangement and definitely the echauffements!
Dance classes will be available to those who want them and arranged during the part of the day when it is not as hot. Drummers may play for dance classes where appropriate. Balafon classes are also part of our tour as is the flute. These classes will be set up depending upon interest from you, our students.
Every 3-4 days we will have the next day OFF. These OFF days may be perfect for further musical study with a specialist in the instrument you love or perfect for a vacation.
The price of this year's trip includes:
• Transport on the ground in The Gambia.
• Lodging, based on double occupancy.
• Breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared exqusitly local chefs to your liking.
• Drumming classes 5 days a week, dancing, balafon and language classes arranged by request. (sometimes, a little extra or a tip).
• Transport to and from Airport.
TUITION & DEPOSIT
Plan to bring spending money for expenses not covered and purchases you may make during your stay. A $500.- deposit is required to secure your spot on the trip. Deposits must be received by November 20, 2015.
DrumConnection Trip to Guinea 2012 with Mamady Kourouma, Instructor and students.
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE (but not much more)
Food when we are away from the compound is slightly extra. Probable side trips in taxis and the like and your airfare is not included in the price. Airfare is from $9,00 RT to $1750 RT depending on where you are departing from. The cost of obtaining a passport and visa are not included in the tuition.
All the above ‘not includeds’ are not much more cost. Pocket change.
We will supply you with a very small, powerful flashlight, a microfibre cloth for cleaning glasses or camera lenses, and more. Most importantly we will give you all the information you need in easy to do steps that make this trip doable! Money can be kept in a safe or hidden well in your room.
NECESSARY PRE-TRIP TASKS
•You must have a letter of invitation from The Gambia for this trip.
•You must get your documents in order. We will help with all of it.
•You must have a passport and a visa to enter The Gambia.
•Yellow Fever vaccination is required.
•Anti-Malarial medication is also required by DrumConnection. (Many choices are available)
•Other vaccines may be warranted.
The weather conditions January in The Gambia, in the area we'll be, is beautiful. The days are warm (hot) and sunny and the nights are much cooler next to the ocean. There is a light breeze in the day and night. Prepare for warm conditions. Details will be sent to registrants to help you plan your trip.
ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES
You must arrive on or after January 9, 2017 and leave the last day of the workshop on January 25, 2017. If you need flexibility with dates we can assist you. If you wish to stay on for a longer period of time, arrangements can be made. You can travel to another part of Africa or stay on with me and visit my family in Guinea.
If you are so enthralled with Africa and would like to stay for a longer time, the cost will be $65 a day which includes your food and lodging. You can arrange lessons in drum, dance, other instruments or just enjoy some down time with your new friends there.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 781-316-8068 (country code 001)
By US Mail:
PO Box 1311
Arlington, MA 02474 USA
Travel with us to The Gambia . . . You will never be the same.
...I was amazed at the conversations I had with co-workers from Africa about family life, respect, and the difference between our cultures. Before I went to Africa the conversations alone changed my views of my own race. After I went to Africa.....It changed my life!
from a drummer on her first trip to Africa.
DrumConnection 177 Massachusetts Ave. Arlington, MA 02474 ph: (001) 781-316-8068
I will update this soon.
5.0 star rating
5.0 star rating 2/9/2017
I was thrilled to find that this store doesn't just have hand drums, but is also well-stocked with hardware and parts for rock drum kits. And if they don't stock something you need, they'll order it for you or point you in the right direction.
Alan, the owner, is extremely knowledgeable and helpful if I have questions or need advice. When I came in last year wanting to restore my vintage kit, I had no idea where to start, and Alan helped me through the entire process, from cleaning, de-rusting, to finding missing parts. Whenever I have a problem with my kit or something breaks, I always go to Alan first (it's a good idea to call the store to see when he's working!) Often he'll find a way to fix it without having to purchase new parts.
Definitely recommend this gem over bigger places like Guitar Center.
5.0 star rating
Jan 22, 2017
"Hi Alan, Eddie & I LOVED Nancy's classes. We stopped going because it was dark & cold & late & it was the only time we could both make it ( I work nites ) but we plan to resume classes probably in the spring. I miss it. Rochelle"
5.0 star rating
Purchased beautiful instruments...
I recommend the workshops to all my college student studying world music in the classroom. We've also purchased beautiful instruments I use in my teaching. People marvel at their sound and touch.
5.0 star rating
So much fun...
Participating in a beginners drumming series was so much fun, and I was surprised at what they were able to teach us! We plan to go back as soon as our schedule allow a steady attendance.
5.0 star rating
Just bought my 3rd instrument from this store. Always a pleasure to do business with DrumConnection, and home to a great community of drummers.
5.0 star rating
Honest, original voice...
Way back in 2011, I wrote and published a feature story about Alan Tauber and DrumConnection. Read it at YourArlington
Nothing that has occurred since would cause me to change my mind about Alan and his business: He's an honest, original voice in a fast-changing town, offering a rhythm that is hard to beat.
5.0 star rating
Always a great experience...
Alan is always a pleasure to do business with. He is knowledgeable and very kind. The classes they have are fun and very informative. Always a great experience.
Redington Beach, FL
Alan's knowledge is vast...
I needed to replace the head on a djembe. I live on the south shore of MA, and was having a hard time finding a place to do the job. I discovered the DrumConnection through a list serve and found the best resource I could hope for. Alan's knowledge is vast, and the service was done professionally, on time, and at a reasonable price. I do not need to look any further for my hand drumming needs.
It is a privilege to know you...
You play such an important part in drumming education in this country. It is a privilege to know you...
Name withheld upon request.
(but a famous dude in percussion).
Great Local Place, Great Stuff, Nice People
Bought a present for a friend and they had just what I wanted. They helped me pick the right one. Weren't pushy. Really nice vibe. Will definitely go back when I need a drum or a present for someone.
5/16/2016 5.0 stars! Yelp!
DrumConnection is great! Excellent teachers, extremely high quality guest drummers from Africa, and female teachers and leaders.
5/15/2016 5.0 stars!
Thank you Alan, Thierno, Audrey, Issa and Moussa!
At DrumConnection, I began my beginners' class feeling lost and insecure. However, while the drum is quite challenging, I have felt more and more connected to the group thanks to the wonderful teachers, and the kindness and acceptance of other drummers.
In other words I am deeply indebted and grateful for the opportunity to expand my skills, horizons, and sense of belonging thanks to the drum. The ongoing learning experience is challenging, exhilarating and humbling. Thank you Alan, Thierno, Audrey, Issa and Moussa, and thank you to all my fellow students!
5/13/2016 5.0 stars!
Thanks so much. Tuned up my kids drum, very knowledgeable and friendly!
4/28/2016 5.0 stars!
Love DrumConnection in Arlington!
Great teachers including the Masters from West Africa; great drums (all kinds) and accessories. Director and owner, Alan, is an excellent drummer himself, friends to all and always willing to share his knowledge. Classes & Workshops at all levels challenging and tons of fun. Serious drumming going on here!
4/27/2016 5.0 stars!
Knowledgeable, and very helpful.
I watched Alan help a gentleman trying to rent an accordion. Yes, this sounds like a Seinfeld script, but it was touching seeing Alan help someone out. Additionally, the store is well supplied, and the prices are quote reasonable for being able to get your hands on what you need right now. Truly, an asset to the community!
Brian C. J.
April 9, 2016, 1:47 p.m.
Friends cannot believe how light it is and how good it sounds. Easy for me to carry. It is also very nice looking, not ornate, just beautiful wooden swirls. Thanks for all your help on this..... kdl
4/10/16 ; 5 Stars
I have spent several wonderful weekends at DrumConnection studying drumming rhythms with various master drummers (djembefolas) and I just want to thank Alan and the wonderful community of people I met at there for a wonderful, fun, inspiring and informative time. If I didn't live on Long Island, NY I would be there every week. 5 star rating from me!
Long Island, NY
2/24/2016 : 5 Stars!
DrumConnection is a wonderful place. Alan is so helpful, thoughtful and kind. The store has a great selection of drums that will help you connect to music from all over the world. Highly recommended!
Jan. 16, 2016 : 5 Stars!
Great experience, no pressure to buy or spend more than I wanted to, just the perfect assistance to help me find the right drum for me - a clear joy for drumming and very welcoming - made me feel right at home.
12/22/2015 : 5 Stars!
A great little store
I was looking for some nifty percussion accessories for my son-in-law and I really didn't want to go the the Guitar Center. What a great place! I got great advice & was able to find exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for! A perfect shopping trip & well worth the weekly trip down from Cape Ann!
Cape Ann, MA
5.0 star rating 12/6/2015 Yelp!
I took a beginner drum class here this fall. I was impressed by the business's connection to West African drumming. Thierno, a drummer from Guinea, was our teacher. If you want to learn drumming, have a weekly class with lots of laughing and meet people from around the world this place is for you.
5.0 Star Rating 12/4/15 Google+
Alan the owner is always friendly and helpful. When I was looking for a drum, he chose 4 drums he thought I might like, each unique. He helped me sort out the differences to find the combination of pluses that added up to the perfect drum for me.
Alan the teacher is a non-judgmental, supportive, and clear instructor whose decades of experience and amazing skill as a drummer combine to provide a safe and inspiring learning environment. I've studied with four other DrumConnection instructors and each is excellent in his or her own ways, and all certified by examination.
A great store and a wonderful school. I recommend it without reservations.
11/15/2015 5.0 Yelp!
The beginner drum class was extra special. Taught by Thierno Keita-what a wonderful escape each week from the work-a-day world into a world of rhythm and movement. Great for the brain and the soul. Alan Tauber, who runs the Drum Connection could not be kinder or more devoted to his art. This has been a postive turn for me and I will continue on this road with pleasure.
5.0 star rating 11/11/2015
DrumConnection is an nook of musical magic on Mass Ave in Arlington. The drumming teachers are from Africa, they sponsor workshops and trips to Africa to learn drumming. Alan the owner is very flexible and understanding with scheduling lessons. The drum selection is fantastic!! I recommend it to everyone I know. What a gem!
5.0 star rating 11/9/2015 Yelp!
Broad selection of percussion instruments from all over the world. Alan, the owner, really knows a lot about the instruments and the music they make.
5.0 star rating 11/7/2015 Yelp!
We have purchased many instruments from Alan. He knows so much about percussion instruments that we trust him with ordering sight unseen and have been pleased with our purchases. Prices are very reasonable. We drive 2 hours each way to shop at the Drum Connection and it is worth it.
5.0 star rating 11/6/2015 Yelp!
You will not find a more beautiful person than Alan to assit you with your journey of learning the drums. I have traveled with Alan to Guinea, purchased various drums, and attended numerous classes. Have not been able to find the joy I felt when I was involved with the Drum Connection. Please open a southern location!
5.0 star rating 10/5/2015 Yelp!
The drum I purchased from Alan several years ago is both beautiful and is a joy to use. The classes are fantastic -- designed for all skills levels and taught by master teachers that are knowledgeable and exciting.
They are patient and know how to break rhythms down to bite size. I have enrolled my 4 year old in the children's drum class and it is dynamic -- teaching movement and African songs. She loves it and loves her teachers."
5.0 star rating 10/19/2015 Yelp!
The Best! Thanks!
Purchased my djembe here a few years ago, just bought new skin, Alan and staff always knowledgeable and helpful.
5.0 star rating 8/29/2015 Yelp!
I am new to drumming and am having a ball. I went to a Sunday night lecture and lesson on one type of drums and followed that with 2 Sunday night drumming circles with an excellent teacher-but not at the rank beginner level. Still, I loved it and just tried to follow and keep up.
Now I am in a beginner class and I am still enjoying every minute. Alan is a kind and welcoming person. He coordinates to bring in a variety of excellent teachers and classes take place most every day of the week. He gives great advice about what to purchase and has rentals available. Come join the fun!
5.0 star rating 8/24/2015 Yelp!
This is a great little shop. Alan was able to rent me some drums for my autism caregivers retreat and was very accommodating. The drums were gorgeous, beautiful sound. Our group had a great time thanks to Drum Connection coming through at the last minute for me. Thank you!
June 25, 2015
5.0 star rating Excellent Teaching!
This is the first time I took drum lessons. I have taken piano lessons off and on for years. I really enjoy playing the drums. I had two teachers. They both had their individual style of teaching. I found that Alan is an excellent teacher. I would recommend anyone with a desire to learn drumming to check out DrumConnection. I haven't gone to their drum circle yet, but that's the next step for me. I am finishing up my first six weeks of classes, two more classes to go.
August 4, 2015
5.0 star rating 8/4/2015 Yelp!
I'm new to the djembe and drum circles in general. The drum circle I attended last week was a blast. Very relaxed and friendly, the drumming was amazing. Alan and Fanta were both very warm and welcoming. As others have noted, great energy. I'm definitely going back.
July 6, 2015
5.0 star rating Incredible Drums!
I returned to the store today to purchase my first djembe. Alan was more than helpful. He gave a mini-lesson on the spot so I would know how to evaluate the variety of drums, their tonal differences, etc. He also played several of them for me to have a better impression of what it sounds like once technique is mastered. The drum I finally settled on is incredible, love it. My wife was looking for a bodhran, and he gave demonstrations of those as well!
July 8, 2015
Way better than 5 stars!
Alan clearly loves what he is doing and it shows in the friendly, professional and deeply knowledgeable service. Way better than 5 stars.
June 10, 2015
Alan was so helpful. He came highly recommended, and lived up to it. I got a wonderful drum for my nephew - have not yet given it to him, but he is going to love it.
April 8, 2015
Five stars all the way!
Honestly, I can't say enough good things about DrumConnection. Alan and John helped me pick out the perfect drum, and when I came in tonight, Alan talked with me for at least an hour about technique, the history of the djembe coming to America, and more. The place is warm and inviting, and the people who work there are the same. I am confident I chose the best place to start my drumming journey, and I will be back for their classes! Five stars all the way!
March 7, 2015
My son is now starting drum lessons. We stopped in to purchase a drum pad and drum sticks. This is an amazing store. There is much to learn about choosing an instrument that suits you...and we were encouraged not to rush in and spend a lot of money at this stage. The store is packed with drums (mostly hand drums) and each visitor is encouraged to try out items that spark their interest. While visiting, my son tried several thumb pianos as well.
March 6, 2015
Fanta lead our group of 21 drummers thru two hours of song, dance, and drumming. Everybody was smiling at the end of the evening. What a deal for 10 bucks!
February 24, 2015
Drum Connection is a fantastic place to take African drumming lessons, meet some wonderful people and really expand your horizons by attending workshops with master drummers from West Africa. It's been a life changing experience for me. I am so blessed to part of Alan and Fanta's community.
February 13, 20115
As always Alan was right there to make sure I got exactly what I was looking for. He even sent me a photo/text to confirm that he had the correct size, shape and sound of rattle I needed. This was that perfect combination of personal service and immediate results.
February 5, 2015
Hey just wanted to write you a note to tell you how much I absolutely love the drum! It was the perfect choice for me. The slaps are just incredible and yet it gives good bass response. I brought it to work to play with the children and it was just such the perfect instrument. It’s just the right one for me and I'm really thrilled with it. Thanks so much.
January 24, 2015
Thanks Alan for your undivided attention today as I purchased the replacement head for the djembe I had previously bought at DrumConnection. Could not be more satisfied!