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My hand-drum hero and once-teacher, Leo Brooks sent out the following mass email that I thought I'd share here. He just returned from a lengthy journey to Africa where he devoted his time to studying African rythms and drum making techniques. If you're at all interested in learned hand drumming, this is the man to teach you.

Talking Drums

March/April 2006

Hello Gang,

I am back from a long sojourn in Africa and (somewhat) recuperated, decompressed, and acclimatized to life back home. I am extremely happy to be reunited with my Family and nearly as excited to get back out in the community and start drumming again.

Many friends have asked me when I will be doing a presentation of the photos, recordings and video I was fortunate enough to make while in Africa. I am planning on finding a room and doing a pot-luck dinner/multi-media show in the near future, so I will keep you all posted. I hope everyone can attend as there is so much to share. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Canada Council for the Arts once again for the Travel Grant for my trip.

Also, I was befriended by an amazing family in Guinea who would dearly love to immigrate to Canada to give a better future to their kids. They have refugee papers issued Guinea and the United Nations. If there is anyone at all out there with any expertise in this or who could point me in the right direction to help these fantastic folks, please, please let me know.

O.K. so here is what is going on in the city this spring (lots and lots) Hope to see you out there!


1. Classes at OFC music with Leo

2. Michael Markus Workshops

3. Balafon Classes

4. Drum and Dance Classes with Shara and Leo

5. Djembe classes with Mohamed Diarra

6. West African Dance Workshop with Lainie (A.K.A the Sufi Girl)

7. Percussion Group Yayé looking for new members

8. Famoudou Konaté (Leo’s Djembe Teacher in Guinea) in Canada

9. List Subscription/cancellation instructions.

1. Classes at OFC music with Leo

I am back to give my introduction classes as well as intermediate classes (which are filling quickly) Lots of insights from Africa in these classes for sure!

An Introduction to Hand Drumming

Think of this class as a buffet table of hand drumming- a little taste of many different styles from Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. The first two classes cover the essentials of tone production and rhythmic structure. The ensuing weeks are dedicated to learning traditional rhythms such as Bomba, Kpanlogo, Kuku, Tumbao and more.

Dates: April 6 to June 8, 2006

When: Thursdays, 6:30 - 7:45 pm

Cost : $150 per 10 week session.

Intermediate Hand Drumming Group

For the graduate of the intro class who would like to continue to learn and work on material with a dynamic group of folks at an intermediate level. Some new concepts that are covered will be: more complex rhythmic structures such as 6/8 time and swing. Rhythms to be studied are chosen based on request, and the skill level of the group. This class is ongoing and will take new members as space allows.

Dates: April 6 to June 8, 2006

When: Thursdays, 8:00 to 9:15 pm

Cost : $150 per 10 week session.

You can visit OFC Music at 1111 Bank St., or call 730-2887 and register by phone with a credit card.

For more information, call me at (819) 682-8827 or email me at leo@treefrogpercussion.ca

Last chance to take classes with Leo until September!

2. Michael Markus Workshops

(This information is also available in French. Simply email Catherine Veilleux at catherine@sologlobe.com)

Michael Markus, who may be the only Non-African I have ever encountered who has attained true mastery on the djembe, and who I also consider a great friend, is coming back to Ottawa. Thankfully for me and all of you, Catherine Viellieux has taken the reins in organizing this session and all the information you need is below. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Big news! Michael Markus is coming to Ottawa/Gatineau during his spring teaching tour. We are very lucky to have this talented drummer and teacher from New York in our region. It will be his only Canadian destination. Dates to mark on your calendar are April 28-30 2006. So check the information on the poster attached or in this message and register quickly since places are limited. Please note that all workshops will be in Hull at L'Avant-Première.

For information, call Catherine Veilleux during the day or the evening at: 777-2208 or 639-1208 (cell)


April 28 to 30 2006


1 - Beginner’s Drum Workshop - $20

7 pm - 8 pm

2 - All Levels Dance Workshop - $25

8 pm - 9:30 pm


3 - Drumming all levels - $30

10 am - 12 pm

4 - Drumming all levels $30

6 pm - 8 pm

5 - All Levels Dance Workshop $25

8 pm - 9:30 pm


6 - Advanced Drumming - $30

9:30 am - 11:30 am

7 - Percussion Dundumba - $30

1 pm - 3 pm

(for experienced drummers who want to play dundun)


For more information about Michael Markus and his work

visit his Web Site: www.magbana.com

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I'm already registered for his Thursday nights OFC classes...and chomping at the bit to get started!!!!

anyone wanna join me?

I did 2 classes with him before my car accident last fall put it on hiatus, and I can attest to his skill and charisma! While I know the class will be fun, fun, fun (and informative!), it'd be funner still (god, I love the word, 'funner') with a friend!

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