Music and adventure in enchanting  Gambia 
The Gambia the kora workshops
travel package 
Gambian cuisine good to know the African way adresses newsletter/guestbook
travel dates and prices

Ba Jammung gives you a unique opportunity to learn more about the music and the culture of West-Afrika during a 15-days musicworkshop to The Gambia. 
Carel with kora
Many of us know the African percussion instruments. The stringed instruments from this area however are rather unknown. That is our reason for paying more attention to these instruments, particularly the kora. 
Initiator of Ba Jammung is Carel van Rijn, a Dutch musician, music professor and composer, who acquired ample knowledge of the music and the culture of W-Africa during several trips to this region. He got struck by the  magical sound of the kora. Carel van Rijn will lead you into the astonishing world of the kora and will be your tourleader during the workshop. The maximum number of participants during the workshop is 8, so we will disturb the domestic culture and the way of life as little as possible. 

Beside koralessons we also offer now the possibility for lessons on other specific W-African instruments such as: bolonbato (basskora), kontingo (kind of fretless guitar), Susa (1 string violin) and balafon (African marimba). 


The Gambia

With a surface of less than half of the Netherlands Gambia is the smallest country of Africa. It lies at the W-African coast, at 6 hours flying distance from Amsterdam. Since The Gambia has been an English colony for a long time,  English is the common language. In spite of the many different tribes which live together in The Gambia, it is one of the most stable African countries, strongly influenced by the Mandinka, a tribe which has spread out from Mali to the whole of W-Africa.
gambian people

The climate is tropical with a rainingseason from June untill September. During the dry season it is very pleasant with an average day temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius. Near the Atlantic coast a cool seawind is always blowing. The currency is the dalasi (1 euro = ± 39 dalasi, dec. 2009), subdivided in 100 butut.



The kora
The kora is a traditional West-African plucked stringinstrument, with a harplike sound and glorious long tradition. Melody and accompaniment can be played on the kora simultaneously. The instrument has 21 nylon strings, divided into two rows, which are plucked by the thumb and the firstfinger of both hands. The soundbox is made from a half gourd with a resonator made of cowskin. The strings run over a high rosewood bridge. The neck consists of a round rosewood stick, to which the strings are attached with leather straps. The strings are tuned by moving these straps up or down. The tuning of the kora is more or less diatonic and the range is a little bit more than three octaves. The kora is a typical instrument of the Mandinka tribe.


The workshop
The workshops are under the guidance of professional local musicians from traditional jali (griot) families. As they spend lots of time with us, we get much information concerning daily life, the tradition and culture at the spot. In the evening you might take part in music sessions with local musicians. So bringing an acoustic instrument from home, is very much appreciated. From our base camp in Tanji we make several excursions by bus or by boat. You can enjoy splendid nature in abundance : extended mangrove areas, crocodiles and hippopotamuses, giant baobabs and different kind of monkeys.


The accommodation
We stay in the the, splendidly situated Paradise Inn Lodge, in roundhouses built in Fulastyle. There are doublerooms with comfortable beds, with shower and toilet and electricity. It is located at the Tanji-rivier, on which it is possible to peddle to the sea and to the Tanji Nature Reserve by canoe. By foot you can reach the Atlantic beaches in 15 minutes. The hinterland of Tanji consists of superb woodlands  with many exotic birds.

The base camp of the workshop is near the domestic fishing village of Tanji,a 15 minutes walk from the Atlantic coast with splendid beaches. In this quiet village people stil live in a traditional way in roundhouses made of mud with roofs of palmleaves. Daily you can see the fishermen sailing in and out in their pirogues (dugout canoes), which are painted  splendidly. Here you can enjoy the real African atmosphere, far away from the tourist area.



The travel package
We offer you a complete and excellent workshop. Included are: the planeticket (not included cancellation insurance) with direct flight Amsterdam-Banjul-Amsterdam; accommodation based based on doubleroom with fullboard including coffee and tea served during breakfast (other drinks not included); daily koralessons ; the use of an instrument during the whole workshop; all transfers in The Gambia; a 4-days roundtrip and 4 halfday excursions. 

For actual  information on travel dates, pricing, accomodation, addresses, departure and arrival dates etc. click here.


A 4-days roundtrip to the inland, plus 4 halfday excursions are part of the program. 
By boat we sail the Gambia river and we visit domestic villages with their traditional music and dance and make trekkings through prestine nature areas. During this trip we stay in beautiful situated and well equiped lodges near the river. 
The Gambia is famous for it's large number of exotic birds.

The Gambian Cuisine
The base of the Gambian cuisine consists of rice or couscous. Next to that one uses sweet potato and different kind of vegetables. And of course there is fresh fish, chicken or meat. The finishing touch is made by deliciously spiced peanut sauce. Fresh fruit such as mango, papaya, bananas and oranges is there in abundance. Nescsafe and tea is also almost everywhere available. Beer (Julbrew) and softdrinks are everywhere for sale.


Good to know
Creditcards and pinpasses you can not use in The Gambia. Best you can bring along travellercheques or cash in euro, pounds or dollars. For vaccinations etc. you can contact the local healthcenter in your place of residence, around six weeks before departure.They will give you the needed advice and medical precautions. Sanitary supplies etc. are different from those in Europe. We cannot drink the local drinking water, for this reason we always have sufficient mineral water in stock. After the workshop you can decide to purchase your own instrument. The price of a kora is  150 euro, incl. transport, preparing and tuning at home.

"The African way"
Since African people feel differently about things as "time", it can occur that, in spite of our good planning and preparations, things sometimes not entirely go according to plan. That is part of a culture in which we are interested. A good amount of tolerancy is thus needed, as a result of which much irritation can be prevented.

Information and bookings:

Carel van Rijn 
Parkstraat 98 
6828 JL Arnhem 
phone 026-4425591 

for booking click here

all mentioned prices and data are under restriction