Since the 22nd of May I have been working on a community project alongside the wonderful Griot Chinyere called Story Seekers; a series of percussion and storytelling workshops and performances that bring these ancient Nigerian and Ghanian traditions to the communities of Ipswich and Colchester.
A project produced by Arts La Olam and funded by the Arts Council England and Ipswich Borough Council, the programme is put on free of charge (apart from one performance at the New Wolsey Studio in Ipswich on the 24th of June, which is £5 for adults, free for children).
So far, we have met a diverse bunch of eager budding storytellers and percussionists of all ages, backgrounds and from many different countries; all with a story to tell. Each week the group has grown and it has been so well-received that at times, we have been fit to bursting!
We have also previously performed amongst the pine trees of Broomhill Park in Ipswich, which was well received by an audience made of all ages and cultural backgrounds.
I have been teaching many traditional rhythms and sounds of the djembe, taking the group on a drumming journey, whilst Griot has been crafting captivating stories. Each member has taken their turn to add something new to the mix. Some have never played a drum or told a story before, whilst others have come with their own djembe or are already storytellers and poets.
Week after week, we have been weaving together a performance with the workshop attendees, and each session has taken on its own unique life form. It is exciting to see the art twist, turn and evolve; what is being crafted is something quite magical.
There are 2 more workshops left on the programme - Ipswich workshops are on Monday mornings at The Smokehouse, 6 South Street from 10-12 noon until the 26th of June. Colchester workshops are held at Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, every Wednesday evening from 7pm-9pm until the 28th of June.
There will be a series of performances where the attendees of the workshops will perform in Ipswich and Colchester until the 9th of July, and full details for these can be found on the Arts La
Pictures are courtesy of Arts La Olam.