In January 2018, Global Grooves took a team of 40 artists of all levels of experience to the Gambia on an international study experience.

One of the main focus points for the trip was to help provide a sustainable funding model and support the bi-annual Kartong Festival, as well as take an illuminated Carnival to a poorly lit community area to inspire local artists and residents.

Our artists learnt a whole host of different traditions and skills from leading artists from the Gambia and Senegal. The trip comprised of a variety of drumming and dance workshops, including masterclasses with local artists, Modou Diouf, to gain a more in depth knowledge of Senegalese Sabar, while our visual artists immersed themselves in local arts and crafts traditions, such as mask masking and masquerade.

Our artists also took part in a night-time Carnival, weaving through the small streets of the Kartong village, where we were joined by many local artists and cultural groups.

One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to develop a workshop programme in the St Martin’s Basic School in Kartong. Here, our team worked with young people to create a performance consisting of dance, percussion, song, and lantern making. It was a beautiful connection to see how songs rhythms and traditions had found their way into Afro-Brazilian Carnival in the modern day from their origin in Africa many years ago. We also enjoyed performances from traditional characters derived from the Mandinka tribe and Senegalese wrestling.

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