December 15, 2008


This summer there is a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested to experience the Gewel Tradition first hand. The Black Studies Program at Suffolk University in Boston is having a summer program in Dakar Senegal. The Gewel Tradition is a central part of the class offerings with two of the classes being taught by members of the Sing Sing family- BLKST 263 – Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal and BLKST 264 – The Gewel Tradition in Sound and Motion. Both classes recognize the connection between the drum rhythms and the dance steps so there is an element of each in both classes. BLKST 263 has dance as the focus and in this class students will be introduced to sabar dance technique and traditional dance movements. BLKST 264 will teach students about the sabar drums and the techniques for playing them. They will also learn about the rhythms, bakks (or musical compositions), and the sabar drum orchestra. Students in both classes will also have the opportunity to expereince sabar drum and dance in both traditional and popular contexts. The instructors for these classes are Moustapha Faye, Aziz Faye, Malick Ngom and Nogaye Ngom, all members of the Sing Sing gewel family. The will be assisted by members of the Sing Sing Juniors Sabar Drum and Dance Ensemble. For more information on these instructors check out earlier postings and stayed tuned for additional postings that will be up soon.

In addition to these classes students will have the opportunity to learn about another artisan tradition in BLKST 463 – The Art of the Silver Smith. In this class students will have the opportunity to learn about each aspect of the jewelry making process from families of traditional silver smiths. Students will learn how to use the tools of the smith and will apply their creativity to the creation of  chains, rings, pendants and bracelets. The other classes offered – HST 330 – The History and Culture of Senegal and CJN 419 – Photography in Dakar are taught by Prof. Robert A. Bellinger and Prof. Ken Martin respectively, both Suffolk University faculty members. University credit is available for all classes. To get more information or to register for the classes please contact Prof. Robert A. Bellinger, Director, Black Studies Program at:

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