Live & Learn in Ghana
I normally 3 week tours around April, but the group tours are on hiatus for a bit. However, if you are interested in studying in Ghana, I can easily arrange for you to do that with my friends/teachers there, at any time! It would be considerably cheaper than going on the group tour, but also less structured and require more independence on your part.
(Click to hear music from the Brekete religious sect...popular in Dzogadze)
My trip to Ghana with Curtis and co. was one of the most engaging, and wonderful experiences I have had. I got to live in the heart of a fascinating culture, make new friends, and experience perspectives and memories that are treasures. The fact that I can say that I have ripped across the plains of Africa on a motorcycle with two other guys, two live goats, three live chickens, and two pineapples on the handlebars was worth the price of admission alone. This was all-in-all a great experience. Thank you Curtis! - Peter Duchemin
"I am ever so grateful for the experience, the beautiful people, the land, the learning. I miss the sunshine, the children, the laid back sense of calm, lifestyle, the music..." - Gloria Williams
"I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to live in a village with these amazing charismatic and joyous people and to have made a connection. Curtis, you and Ledzi did an amazing job setting us up comfortably." - Kim Winsor
Kids in Dzogadze
Tafi Monkey Sanctuary
Atsiagbekor Dancing, Dzogadze
Apetorku Festival, Dagbamate
3 weeks of immersion in traditional music, dance, song and cultural life in a village/rural environment with local experts
dates are TBD, but normally around Easter; if enough interest, a summer program could happen
tropical climate with a range between 21°C - 32°C (70°F - 90°F) with occasional (and refreshing) rainfall
visits to spots of breathtaking natural beauty
cost of $1800CAD , exclusive of airfare/visas/vaccinations
Located in West Africa, Ghana is one of the few English speaking countries in the region. Besides being easy to navigate, it is also one of the safest and most stable countries in all of Africa.
It is also a place I am intimately familiar with, which is why this trip will give you access to experiences you won't find anywhere else. I have been visiting this area since 1999 to study music and dance and have forged some special relationships with the people here. It is my pleasure to be your guide and liaison.
Equally as warm and inviting as it is rich in culture, Lonely Planet boasts that Ghana might be considered "the country with the friendliest people in West Africa." It is also a role model for the rest of Africa in terms of democracy, political stability and economic development.
But it is Ghana's people, with their hospitality and amicable nature, that are perhaps its greatest assets.
Our time will be spent primarily in the Volta region (southwestern Ghana, bordering Togo). The Volta Region is the home of the Ewe speaking people who have some of the most intense drumming and dance styles in all of Ghana. This is the music that we will be living and breathing. It is also an area strong in traditional religious practices which we will also experience.
This trip will take you into the epicentre of Ghana's traditional life and culture with:
-daily drum/dance/singing lessons with local experts in the amazing village of Dzogadze
-trips to areas of natural beauty including Kakum National Rainforest Park, Tafi Monkey Sanctuary, Wli waterfalls and more (see photos)
-unique access to traditional spiritual ceremonies, funerals and musical performances in surrounding villages. These are things no guide book will ever tell you about!!
-visit to the haunting slave castles of Cape Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
-opportunities to learn the Ewe language as well as historical and cultural information
-visits to the amazing local markets where you can buy anything from drums to cloth to goats to dried lizards!!
-an experience you will never forget!
We will be in living in the semi-remote village of Dzogadze, where I have forged strong connections. In fact, I helped to build a school there which you can read about on other pages of this website.
You are invited to come and live among the people and in doing so, you are helping create new opportunities for people in this village as several different services will be rendered by locals (teaching, cooking, laundry and more).
We will be staying in the newly renovated house within the community. There are 5 secure double rooms, each with a ceiling fan and two single beds (and mosquito nets). A common outside eating space exists as well as a "sitting room" with some couches and a small fridge (for cool drinks!).
Meals will be primarily drawn from the local diet. This is mostly based on spicy (or not) soups made with various styles of fish, beans, various vegetables. Meals can also be tailored to suit vegetarian/vegan needs though they'll be a little more limiting in variety. Some "Western" food will also be available (fried eggs, toast, pasta, etc) occasionally. And of course, a feast of some of the most amazing pineapple, coconuts, bananas, mangos and papaya you will ever eat! We hire local women to do the cooking which gives them a much needed income boost. Most all food is sourced locally at the weekly markets. Shopping there is an experience in itself.
I have been visiting this area since 1999. To say that I know my way around is an understatement. With me as your guide, your experience will be that much richer and your connections that much deeper.
Oliver Torgboh will be your main teacher and has extensive experience teaching music and dance to non-Ghanaians. He is one of the village's most accomplished drummers and dancers and an amazing teacher.
Lesson schedule is 2 sessions per day...morning drum/dance and afternoon drum/dance. Each session will be at least 2.5hrs each, but usually more...it depends on your stamina!! Songs will usually be taught during the dance lesson and/or after class, in the car, walking through the village, while having a few drinks. So 5-6 hrs of formal instruction. Language will also be taught on an on-going basis.
This schedule will be followed everyday except for when we are doing some travel to other villages/performances/sightseeing.
If you want specialized/advanced lessons, this can also be arranged, but learning with the group is still encouraged to keep the spirit together.
AN INSIDE LOOK
Besides the exceptional lessons in music, dance, language and history that you will receive, one thing I strive to do is introduce you to some amazing ceremonies that will occur during the time of your visit. This includes funerals in different villages (funerals are where most traditional music/dance occur) and special performances by cultural groups in other villages.
But of special note is the annual festival of renewal at the shrine of the god Apetorku in the village of Dagbamate. The shrine of Apetorku is one of the most popular and powerful in the region and is a prime example of the traditional religion of Africa. This annual festival, which occurs around the time of Easter, is one of renewal, love and kinship and sees thousands of members of the shrine return for 1 week of confessions, offerings, wake-keepings (all-night music/dance) and feasting.
Through me (an adopted son of this village), you will get an inside look at this incredible festival and the spiritual life of the people. THIS AIN'T NO TOURIST SHOW!!!
COST: $1800 CAD
Space is limited to 12 people...book early.
Includes: -all lessons (drumming, dancing, singing)
-all meals in Dzogadze
-all transportation within Ghana
-access to all funerals/ceremonies/performances
NOT included: -return airfare from country of origin
-entry visa/passport fees
-vaccinations (Yellow Fever is required)
-personal purchases (souvenirs, snacks, drinks)
For questions, comments, concerns, advice and other information, contact me here