- The apprentice project in Uddebo

 

The Djinadon Association is now starting up Djembé Koro, a new international apprentice project in the small village of Uddebo in Västra Götaland in Sweden. This apprentice project will be like a school and a forum where the students will have the opportunity to discover the inner core of the djembé culture. The goal of this project in Uddebo is to offer access to rhythms that have been played for many hundred years and also provide a place where traditional music may be cultivated and growing. This apprentice project will in many ways be experimental as a forum for those who wish to become familiar with both the anciet (classic)original djembé music as well as with the mentality that characterizes the playing it. Not even in a traditional context is it staked out or explained

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and this is really the point! In order to be able to get in touch with the very core of the djembé culture the student must have an opportunity to become familiar with its spirit and to be steeped in its essence. The idea of this apprenticepursuit is inspired by the animism, life philosophy and mythology out of which the djembé culture emerged among the indigenous peoples of Mali and Guinea.The preconditions for the traditional djembé culture, which also includes storytelling, ceremonies and other folklore in Mali and Guinea, has lately been changing. Much of the uniqueness of the original form of village culture has in many places over time been nearly forgotten. Today it is no easy task to find a school or a traditional apprenticeship that offers a more long term and unaltered form for teaching the basic djembé music the way it was played and taught for such a long time. It may well sound as a contradiction that a place so very far away from the djembé homeland would be able to preserve these traditions, but according to one of the best known djembé masters of all times, Famoudou Konaté, it is thanks to insistent westerners showing a deeper interest in the origins of the djembé and making the effort of staying for longer times in remote villages like Hamanah, Faranah and Wazoulou that the Mali and Guinean peoples living in these areas have come to realize that the ancient culture of their people has important value also for others, regardless of where they come from Fabian Hildebrand, the initiator and artistic director of the Djembé Koro apprentice project, thinks, after having studied djembé music in Mali himself under elder masters of the old generation, that there are elements in the ceremonial drum- and dance culture that houses aspects of man that in many ways have been forgotten. The academic and philosophic bewilderments had seemed like riddles to Fabian during his university studies in Sweden, but were explained just by his staying with a culture where wisdom in a clear and profound way explained about many valuable qualities that should never be forgotten. For one who wishes get a deep understanding of human nature, even in the midst of the increasingly so called modernized world, and to understand from an organic roots perspective, there is much to be found hidden within the animistic and poetic djembé culture. The postcolonial attitude that permeates western culture often blocks us from understanding the evolved and rich cultures that today we see only as residues in different parts of West Africa, cultures that were probably misunderstood from the beginning in the same way as the North American Indian cultures were, due to the colonisers blinding lust for power.

 Fabian Hildebrand has been teaching since 1997 and has long experience in “translating” traditional thinking around a more original way of playing djembé rhythms from Mali and Guinea. Fabian has had long lasting cooperation with traditionally schooled West African musicians who live in Europe. Characteristic for Fabians teaching is the importance he puts into showing the main features of the underlying melody structures of traditional djembé rhythms and the basic principles that primarily controls the framework of this traditional drum music.