Sound of the Drum Tours

Hi Philip: I just returned from a three-week tour of Ghana, and relied on your excellent guide for most of my accommodation and activities. I wanted to make you aware of one wonderful opportunity that is not mentioned in the 4th edition of the guide (August 2007). This is the West African Cultural Exchange, located in Dagbamete in the lower Volta region, about 20 minutes from Akatsi. Dagbamete has a brief mention in the East Coast chapter on p. 224, where the locally famous fetish priest is described. While the shrine is certainly worth visiting, readers should also be aware that the village offers the opportunity to learn Ghanaian drumming from a master drummer, Kwasi Dunyo, who is the brother of Hunua Yao Dunyo, the head of the Apetorku shrine. Kwasi Dunyo has a long-standing connection with Canada, and currently teaches at two universities in Toronto. In the summer, he welcomes visitors to the West African Cultural Exchange for a three-week “Into the Sound of the Drum” tour that include daily drumming lessons, visits to drumming societies in other villages as well as excursions to Accra, Cape Coast, Elmina, and Kakum National Park. Participants stay in the Kathy Armstrong Lodge, a comfortable building with 12 double rooms for sleeping, a sitting room, and dining hall. There are showers and flush toilets, as well as electricity. The food is mostly Ghanaian dishes, with some accommodations to Western tastes, such as eggs for breakfast and meat or fish with most main meals. In addition to the drumming lessons, held in the shade of large mango tree, one of the great attractions is experiencing daily life in what is still a small traditional farming village.. The cost of the tour in the summer of 2009 was $1990 U.S., which included classes, board, and lodging for 3 weeks in Dagbamete, hotel accomodation in Cape Coast, transportation to and from all community drumming and dance performances, as well as the excursions described above. Shorter individual stays can also be arranged in the summer. My daughter and I visited for five days in August, in the company of one other drumming student who had stayed on from a longer group tour organized by the University of Alberta. The cost of our accommodation and three daily meals was US$65 a day, and four hours of drumming lessons was an additional US$ 20 a day. No previous drumming experience is required – I had none, and found Kwasi to be a patient and skilful teacher who soon had me feeling at home with the drums. Details about the Into the Sound of the Drum tours can be found at http://www.dunyo.com, and Kwasi Dunyo can be reached by e-mail at kwasi@dunyo.com. I hope you can include a description of this in your website updates and the next edition of your guide. Thanks, Brian

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