What You Can Expect
There are two trip options to travel to Guinea with Helen Bond
Drumming and Dancing Workshop or
Service Trip to Guinea to work with Benkadi Project
Class Structure Accommodations and Meals
Free Days During the Workshop Travel Requirements for Guinea, West Africa Cost

Travel to Guinea with Helen Bond

Drumming & Dancing Workshop in Guinea

December 2017- January 2018
December 2017 (3 weeks)
(Please note flexible date options for the entire month of December.)
Cost $2,000 US Dollars for 3 weeks


Come the dates that work best for you picking a 3 or 4 week option with a travel option to the village
Contact me with the dates that work best for you. (There is a 4 week option $500 additional)
As we get closer to the date a decision will be made as to whether there will be a travel option with a trip to the villages of Sangbaralla & Sanenkoro ($600 additional)

Come experience the adventure of a lifetime…...
Join Helen Bond on an exciting and educational tour of Guinea, West Africa! This voyage will truly be the experience of a lifetime. It is an amazing opportunity to visit the birthplace of the djembe and dunun drums. Experience the captivating music of the Malinké, Susu and other Guinean people. Learn about the culture that created the instruments and how music, dance and songs are interwoven into daily life. Gain a global perspective by connecting on a personal level with the people of the land.

What you can expect
This unique study trip will involve first-hand experience of the arts, culture and social customs in Guinea. Helen has drawn on the full breadth of all she has learned about Guinea during her annual trips for over a decade to design this three/four week excursion to West Africa. This trip will offer unique opportunities to expand your skill and understanding of traditional percussion, dance and song, while learning about their cultural significance and expression among Guinean people today. You will work with incredibly talented artists and teachers and make connections with new friends in the music and beyond. As you live side by side with local people in the capital city of Conakry on the Atlantic coast, you will immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the local culture. Additional relaxing trips to the countryside will add to your experience during your stay.

Helen Bond
A long term student of hand percussion and healing art forms, Helen has traveled to Guinea, West Africa for the past thirteen years to study traditional drumming and to deepen her experience and understanding of the cultural roots of this beautiful, energizing and powerful music. Helen has completed intensive study with Famoudou Konate (Grand Master of the djembe drum and its orchestra) and Famoudou's nephew, Nansady Keita (one of the "next generation" djembe virtuosos), Sekou Conde (djembefola from Senankoro village) and other accomplished djembefola, dancers and griots (oral historians).

While in Guinea each year, Helen also collaborates with local artists, community leaders and young people on charitable projects aimed to address the significant education, health and basic human needs of people in Guinea. This work, accomplished through the Benkadi Project, a project affiliated with the NGO Motherland Rhythm Community (501c3), which Helen co-founded. The Benkadi Project is working to improve the lives of children and families in Guinea. It is an opportunity to "give back" to the people who created the djembe drum and its rhythms, which have now spread across the globe.

Drumming and Dancing Lessons
Helen's workshops will offer wonderful opportunities to receive expert instruction on all instruments in the traditional djembe orchestra while deepening your understanding of the place of music, dance and song in Guinean life.

In these workshops, you will study with and get to know some of the most accomplished traditional drummers and dancers available in Guinea. Helen has assembled skilled and patient teachers who are ready to share their talents and love of Guinean music through engaging workshops. Teachers have extensive experience with music and dance in traditional villages, where the music began and has flourished for centuries.

You will learn full orchestrations of traditional rhythms, including individual voicing for the three dununs (barrel-shaped drums), djembe accompaniment parts and solo techniques, as well as echauffements (the patterns that "heat up" the song) and the "break" or signal from the lead djembe for each rhythm. In addition, you will learn songs sung by the griots, or oral historians, that accompany the rhythms as well as historical origins of each rhythm.

Our instructors will present the historic music of their culture in addition to the modern music which is played at festivals and for rites of passage today. There is a place for all skill levels in this workshop, we will pair you up with a teacher who can teach you at your level. Beginners to the professional level are welcome. You will be challenged at your level!!

When possible and available, we will attend captivating local festivals and performances where traditional dancing, singing and drumming will come alive as never before.

Dance classes will be available with various teachers so that you can be exposed to and study different styles of dance. These classes will deepen your understanding and enjoyment of traditional drumming music and expand your knowledge of how music and dance are interconnected in West Africa.

Service Trip to work with Benkadi Project
Motherland Rhythm Community's Benkadi Project
has been working in Guinea since it's formation in 2002. Over the years they done extensive work in Sangbaralla Village including building a small school house, provided school furniture, built a cooking/lunch house, repaired the old school, built a large youth center, dug and repaired wells, assisted the elderly women's garden group and provided improvements and medical supplies. The Benkadi Project has also assisted the neighboring village of Senekoro Village with multiple well repaires and provided funding for the purchase of medical supplies.

Over the past few years Benkadi Project has been focused on constructing, delivering and training on BioSand Water Filters. These filters provide clean water for families of 10 for more than 10 years. They are constructed with sand, granite and cement and are made on site by locals and provided for free to families, schools and clinics. Should you with to participate in this project we are happy to have you join us in making and delivering the BioSand Water filters while in Guinea.

Dance classes will be available with various teachers so that you can be exposed to and study different styles of dance. These classes will deepen your understanding and enjoyment of traditional drumming music and expand your knowledge of how music and dance are interconnected in West Africa.

Class Structure
Each week we will have 5 days of classes. The remaining 2 days of the week will be "free days". On the lesson days we will have drum class for 3 hours in the morning (10am - 1pm) and afternoon (4pm - 6pm). In the afternoons of the third day of class we will have a dance classes (if participants are interested). You are welcome to take dance instruction or to participate by drumming for the dancers. Occasionally in the evenings we will enjoy concerts and performances by various artists. We will arrange the classes so that we have 3 days of class then a break and 2 days of class and then another break to make 5 days of class per week. We will not necessarily have free days over the weekends. They will be spread throughout the week.

If you are interested in studying other instruments such as the balaphone, kora, bolon, flute or gongoma, Helen and her friends can arrange for you to study with a teacher of that particular instrument. You may also arrange private drum or dance classes with local instructors. (These classes are outside of the workshop fee but the cost is typically minimal and well worth the expense.)

At times during the workshop, we may travel to see traditional celebrations to experience the music and dance in nearby communities.

Accommodations and Meals
We will be staying in Cimenterie, a semi-rural suburb outside of Conakry. The room choices are based on availability. In the home, we will have western style toilets. There are also traditional outdoor toilets. Family and friends will prepare all of our meals, offering traditional West African fare including rice, traditional sauces, fresh vegetables and fruit, fish and meats. If you are vegetarian, they can accommodate your needs. Please be sure to let us know ahead of time (there may be an additional cost). Participants purchase bottled water at nominal prices.

Free Days During the Workshop
There are many options available to you on our "free days". We may plan a trip to the market, make excursions to various local sites or plan a trip to the countryside. You will also get the opportunity to be part of local festivals and celebrations or plan your own activity for the day. All day trips are voluntary. Please note - these trips are outside of the workshop fee; however, they are quite reasonable and can cost $10 - $30 (for the entire day) depending on the number of students who wish to participate in the activity.

Travel Requirements for Guinea, West Africa
To enter Guinea
  • a visa is required.
  • Yellow fever vaccination is required.
  • Malaria prevention is highly recommended.

    For further information regarding other recommended vaccinations for traveling to Guinea please contact your doctor or travel immunization professional.

    Cost: The workshop cost includes accommodations, meals, occasional evening concerts, group drumming and dancing lessons, transportation to and from the airport in Conakry.

    The cost of the workshop is dependent on your date options and if you will travel with me to the village.$2,000 US dollars (for 3 weeks at our house outside of Conakry). A deposit of $700 US dollars is required to secure your spot in the workshop.

    You are responsible for securing your own flight to and from Guinea. During the winter, the flights are in demand. We recommend that you book your airline ticket as soon as possible after you have received your registration confirmation.

    Space is limited. Sign up early so you don’t miss out!

    For additional information or registration contact Helen Bond at helen@MedusaDrums.com (based in the USA) at 001.847.543.0708.

    Helen Bond
    Medusa's Musical Mysteries
    Copyright © 2017 by Helen Bond (www.MedusaDrums.com)