Workshop Session 6 – Practise Makes Perfect
This week’s session things were done a little differently; rather than the usual warms-ups of rhumba dancing, Cheryl led the participants in a ten-minute work-out consisting of deep stretches and lung-openers. With just three months until the big show, the facilitators were keen to get started. After the intense warm-ups, the participants were split into three groups: singers & dancers, writers, and percussionists.
Vocalists Emanuella and Tyndale led the singing and dancing workshop. The melody of Independence cha cha and shouts of war, war! echoed through the walls of Federation House as the participants once again, perfected their Lingala. It is clear from the effortlessness in their pronunciations that there has been a great amount of improvement from our first workshop back in February.
Our resident percussionist, Pat, led the percussion group. This, being the smallest group, made the workshop more intimate. As passionate as ever, Pat led the participants through a number of drumming styles using his Djembe drum. The Djembe is one of many instruments used in traditional and modern Congolese music. When at a large gathering with live music, you may hear the phrase “beta mbonda!” beta is Lingala for hit and mbonda means drum – hit the drum!
The last group – and by far the most intense – were charged with the task of creating narratives and scenes using the oral histories from phase 1 of the project. Cheryl split the group into pairs and threes and asked them to pick one story per group. Some of the stories they chose included: the funeral director who hacked his coffins; the nurse who had to flee to Uganda; the man with five wives; and the young boy who fled Congo with just his bible and a bag. The group, who have the most important role, worked so hard they didn’t even take a break!
The session culminated with a huddle; the workshop leaders and participants did a quick feedback and preparation for the next workshop, which takes place on Monday 17th March at Federation House. Join us next week for our next summary.