Trips To Mali

Join master drummer Abdoul Doumbia in Mali, West Africa for three weeks of drumming, dancing and cultural immersion.

January 25th - February 15th, 2015

Abdoul has been organizing annual trips to Mali for more than eight years now. To speak with a past participant please contact:

Paddy & Othelia Cassidy (608) 251-6996
Nate Vellinga (720) 253-6431

Basic Information

Enjoy three weeks studying traditional rhythms and dances from some of Mali’s greatest musicians and dancers, exploring the ancient and beautiful country, and learning about the rich cultural heritage of the Malian people. In the home base of Bamako, the capital of Mali, there will be one extended class for dance and one for drumming each day. These classes are tailored to various levels of experience, so all levels are welcome and included. Small or private classes for ngoni, kora, balafon, bari, guitar or other instruments can also be arranged. When you are not dancing or drumming, you can shop Bamako’s amazing artist markets where you can find traditional arts and crafts, jewelry, and beautiful fabrics. Many musicians come to pay their regards to Abdoul, and his visitors spend the days and evenings playing music right in the courtyard of Abdoul’s house. At night, you can experience Bamako’s nightlife where you can see international stars and local talents perform in the clubs. You will also have opportunities to see traditional Malian celebrations, and even join in when you want to. 

The food is cooked by Abdoul's family members and is delicious! Most Malian food is gluten free, and might include lamb and peanut sauce, or beef and green beans in a tomato sauce over rice or couscous (amaranth). They cook with fresh vegetables, meats, and offer fresh fruit. Vegetarian options are available.

Other Excursions

You will be offered the opportunity to travel to Abdoul's home village of Zambougou, near Segou, where you will experience rural life in Mali, and enjoy a welcome celebration. While in the area the group may choose to attend the annual five-day-long Fête sur le Niger, or Festival on the Niger (winter tour only as it is celebrated in early February). This is an incredible cultural festival featuring traditional dancers and musicians, arts and crafts, and nightly performances by musicians from all over West Africa. Other possible excursions include a visit with the Dogon people, who live in cliff dwellings along the beautiful and breathtaking Bandiagarra Escarpment, a trip to the famous Djenne mosque, or even a journey north into the desert to visit the ancient center of trade and scholarship; the town of Timbuktu

Program Cost

The cost for the three week tour is $1600, which includes all drum and dance classes, program related travel within Mali (including the trip to Zambougou), all meals, and lodging. This cost does not include airfare to and from Mali, any additional tours to the Dogon cliffs, Djenne mosque, Timbuktu, the Festival on the Niger (approximately $200 for lodging plus the current rate for tickets), or personal expenses like bottled water, snacks or tips. Arrangements for any other excursions or tours must be made with Abdoul since these trips require additional funds and planning. Full payment is due by January 9th. To join this trip please contact Abdoul directly to express your interest and begin planning for your trip. Please talk with Abdoul before sending any portion of your payment. Abdoul’s experience leading trips to Mali combined with his own sensitivity to issues of traveling abroad ensure a truly moving, authentic African cultural experience. He welcomes you to share the wonder and adventure in his homeland of Mali.