Master Drummer and Dance choreographer Ndakhte Ndiaye, a Saint James City resident, is announcing her ongoing schedule of classes, performances and upcoming activities.
Every Wednesday and Friday night at 7 p.m. and on Thursday afternoons at 4 p.m. Ndiaye's home comes alive with drumming, dancing, film and food, but mostly fun. The public is invited to participate in these exciting and highly social weekly classes in which authentic hand carved drums are provided. After class students are treated to a free gourmet dinner using many spices, vegetables and other ingredients grown on her land. A film from Ndiaye's rare collection is shown during dinner.
Students from all walks of life learn to play rhythms from West Africa on hand carved Djembe and Djun Djun drums, which Ndiaye builds her self. The rhythms are taught in an easy, follow along style using repetition. Students also learn and practice technique "so that the drum will call and speak with a beautiful voice, as opposed to mindless pounding and wailing which is so often heard coming from untrained drummers," she said.
Ndakhte Ndiaye performed at ArtPoems in Sanibel with Saint James City residents Darlene Bender and Marie Connor.
The rhythms, which recount tradition, history, and various aspects of village life in Africa are handed down from drummer to drummer with no use of sheet music or instructional DVD's.
"Even today, the African tradition is to learn and to teach in this liberating manner. Hands on, and from drummer to drummer, handed down from generation to generation," said Ndiaye.
Students sometimes worry in the beginning that they wont be able to remember what they've been taught in class, or feel that they are rhythmically challenged.
If You Go:
What: African Drum Class, Dinner & Film
Where: St. James City
When: Every Wednesday & Friday at 7 p.m.
and every Thursday at 4 p.m.
Reserve: Call 283-7885 or email
Information: Classes are two hours
and include free use of a drum,
dinner & film
"After teaching literally thousands of students over my lifetime, they all remember and they all get it if they try and if they love it," she said.
Ndiaye has successfully taught many programs to those with learning disabilities and at organizations serving the blind and even deaf community. She conducts many workshops and performances at libraries, museums and festivals.
Ndiaye is now conducting auditions for those who are interested in learning and performing traditional West African dance to join her troupe.
On Thursday Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m., Ndiaye will perform at a special benefit in Naples at Caf and Bar Lurcat in downtown Naples. This event is a kick off party for the two men who will be making a 20,000-foot hike on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. All of the money raised will benefit the Shelter for Abused Women and Children of Naples.
On Friday, Nov. 30, Ndiaye will perform at the Captiva Holiday Village parade. This will include an amazing decorated golf cart parade, sponsored by the Tween Water Inn, and will culminate with a spectacular cultural performance including an African drumming, dancing and fire show on a beach stage.
Ndiaye is also forming a committee to host a major fundraiser for the Helping Paws Animal Sanctuary on Pine Island. She is asking that volunteers call her directly (and to not bother the shelter)
"I need help to organize this annual event and look forward to giving all of the proceeds to this wonderful organization," she said. "They are guardian angels for our islands' pets."