11 Reasons to come to Wula Drum and Dance Retreat

 

#1 Last ride of the summer!

CABINs, campfire area, and dining hall at The Beautiful Pocono Valley Resort

CABINs, campfire area, and dining hall at The Beautiful Pocono Valley Resort

It’s no mistake the retreat is on last weekend of the summer! Although it's after labor day, the retreat is a great way to celebrate our last hours of summer and also welcome in the new fall. Hot days, cool nights! There is something magical about it. Come get your last hourahs in before the work schedule kicks in. 


#2 All levels welcome! Feel Comfortable. 

Students performing at the saturday night performance

Students performing at the saturday night performance

We take pride in the fact that our Retreat is about people coming together. It’s all about community. No matter your experience level, this is a place of learning and celebrating. We encourage people to try something new from our vast array of classes and disciplines.

We strive to make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable: from the absolute beginner, to the seasoned professional, everyone will learn and grow. Everyone is invited to come celebrate with us - check your ego at the door!


#3 Special Rates for Children and "Supporters"!

A 'Supporter' enjoying the Retreat

A 'Supporter' enjoying the Retreat

We offer a special rate for Children, as well as a discounts for being a ‘Supporter’. Don’t drum or dance, but your partner does? No problem, we’ve got you covered. There is something for everyone! We have Swimming, Yoga, Boating, Hiking, Sports, Zipline over the lake, or just schedule a massage and relax! Focus on one thing, or sample a little of everything! And don’t forget — you can enjoy the beautiful location, community, marketplace, and the hum of drumming without even setting foot in a class.


#4 Learn to build a drum!

Putting a head on a wula djembe in guinea - make your own at the retreat!

Putting a head on a wula djembe in guinea - make your own at the retreat!

Want to learn how to mount a skin on your djembe? This year we are flying in the production manager from Wula Drum in Conakry, Guinea! Yamoussa Sylla, will be attending the whole Retreat and offering drum building and tuning sessions. We can also supply shells and skin and rope if you don't have your own. Sign up for the drum building sessions at the retreat and Yamoussa will teach you step by step. A great activity for parents and children to do together.
 


#5 Networking

Hanging out with the legendary M'Bemba Bangoura

Hanging out with the legendary M'Bemba Bangoura

The Retreat is a place where drummers and dancers from all over the world come together. A lot people find new connections here - link up with folks to play with in your area, exchange stories and info about traveling to Africa, learn of new places to drum and dance and other festivals to attend, learn about drum and dance related projects, companies, and products, and connect with the artists and teachers! You can also hang out at the marketplace, which features drums, other instruments, fabrics, clothes, jewelry, and more unique multi-cultural items.


#6 Top-Notch Teachers

shane shanahan of the grammy® AWARD winning silk road ensemble teaching frame drum

shane shanahan of the grammy® AWARD winning silk road ensemble teaching frame drum

The facilitators at the Wula Drum and Dance Retreat are World Class Artists. They are chosen not just because of their technical mastery, but also their ability to actually teach people their craft and overall approach. We employ artists that are open, honest, approachable, and convey a positive welcoming spirit towards the arts of the African Diaspora.  This is important to us, knowing that there are many performers out there, but to teach and guide people is a different skill that we value.
 


#7 Self Expression!

Quenia teaching fun dance moves

Quenia teaching fun dance moves

It's all about expression - the most important thing to us at the Retreat. The learning of the arts is a means toward the expression of self. It's not the content of the lesson that is most important, it's the experience learning it. African traditions are taught by example and passed down aurally. Come to the Retreat to learn how to feel drum and dance, how to use this feeling to express yourself, and how to call on this feeling later in life when you need it. For our health, the health of our families, and the greater community around us - Dive in! Go for it!


#8 Deep Learning

Baba richard gonzÁlEz's classes are deep, spiritual experiences!

Baba richard gonzÁlEz's classes are deep, spiritual experiences!

Get away from the distractions of your daily routine. Engulf yourself in the rhythms and the dances. This is a Retreat - not a workshop, or a conference, or a camp.  It's a place to dig deep, revitalize, rejuvenate, and completely immerse yourself. 


#9 Soak Up the Culture

Wula faculty cutting loose at the saturday night performance

Wula faculty cutting loose at the saturday night performance

The Wula Drum and dance retreat has an amazing diversity. It is a festival of the cultures! And not just ethnic diversity, but age, class, experience, everything and everyone. We welcome all walks of life to the Wula Retreat and we love the way music and dance help us learn how to respect and appreciate each other.


#10 See old friends, Make new ones! 

Retreaters group photo at the 2015 Retreat

Retreaters group photo at the 2015 Retreat

Who doesn’t need more friends? Along with all the new faces at the Retreat each year, we have a lot of folks who make it an annual tradition. After coming a couple times, you start to see the same people and make great connections. Many people love coming each year to drum and dance with their Retreat friends. You have to start somewhere - so dive in for your first time and start your Retreat tradition. Take it from our testimonials, first-timers are blown away by how much they are welcomed into the community.


#11 The African Diaspora at work!

Afro-Brazilian drum and dance at the Saturday Performance featuring quenia ribeiro

Afro-Brazilian drum and dance at the Saturday Performance featuring quenia ribeiro

This year we will have more than 150 classes, 20 teachers, 200 drums being played at once, and YOU! African drumming has made its way around the world and back, and we love the opportunity to demonstrate through our classes and performances the similarities found in music around the world that share a common African root. From Africa to Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, America, and more, come to the Retreat to learn how the African Diaspora is all around us and enriches our lives.

New York Public Library Interview with new faculty: Marie Basse Wiles

 New York Public Library Interview with new faculty: Marie Basse Wiles

We are thrilled to bring Senegal into the West African mix at the Retreat. We are lucky to have a highly respected teacher of this style with us, Marie Basse Wiles. Watch this interview for the New York Public Library Digital Collections to really get an understanding of where Marie is coming from, and how lucky we are to get a chance to study with her.

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Retreat Faculty Valerie Dee Naranjo discusses women in percussion and more

Retreat Faculty Valerie Dee Naranjo discusses women in percussion and more

For many years, retreaters have enjoyed learning the Ghanaian Gyil from one of the foremost Gyil experts in the Western world. We've all seen her jaw-dropping performances at the Saturday Night Concert each year at the Retreat, and we all know her insane resume: playing weekly on Saturday Night Live, Broadway shows, film scores, teaching at New York University, and so much more. 

During all this commercial work, she finds time to write, record, and perform the music she is passionate about as well. As one of the top percussionists around, Valerie is a great role model for women and girls in music. In this interview - from her website mandaramusic.com - Valerie discusses her teachers in West Africa, and being a women in the drumming business.

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New Faculty! World Class percussionist Shane Shanahan to teach frame drumming and more...

New Faculty! World Class percussionist Shane Shanahan to teach frame drumming and more...

World class percussionist Shane Shanahan is a member of the renowned, Grammy-Nominated Silk Road Ensemble. Led by Yo-Yo Ma (one of the world's greatest cellists), the ensemble tours around the world, bringing people of different cultures and languages together through the power of music. This is exactly the purpose of the Wula Drum and Dance Retreat, and we are happy to have Shane teaching with us in 2016!

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Make your own shekere with Apache at the Retreat!

Make your own shekere at the Retreat with legendary Retreat faculty member Jose "Apache" Rivera. Apache always brings shekeres to the Retreat for his classes, but this year we will have a new opportunity to connect with Apache: he will teach us how to make our own shekere! Start with a gourd.. tie up a net.. add some beads.. OK, we're not sure how, so we'll see you in class!

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