Last week a new volunteer music teacher arrived at the project, having found us through our advert on Airbnb.
Yann Vathelet is a French percussionist who started learning percussion in 1998 with François Dembele, Malian master Djembe drummer (ex first soloist of the national ballet of Mali), subsequently travelling to Cuba to study with master conga player Joaquim Pozo. To complete his apprenticeship, Yann studied for a further year at the Latin Harbour Conservatory in New York. Yann has just spent 5 years in Dakar, Senegal creating an afro-jazz trio and playing with the great saxophonist Issa Cissokho, member of Orchestra Baobab and Youssou N’dour’s band.
Yann arrived on Wednesday night with two huge bags full of authentic African percussion instruments, and on Friday evening did his first workshop with our more advanced students Vinícius, Victor Hugo and Gabriela.
The children enjoyed the lesson, and, as can be seen from the following video, really took to playing the Djembe drum (the video also features Victor Hugo taking his first improvised drum solo). At the end of the lesson the kids expressed a keen interest in showing Yann how to play samba rhythms so I think we’re all set for a very interesting cultural exchange. Welcome to the project Yann!