First, we head to the Saine Pottery. The family business, which has been established in 1980, is still attracting many visitors who want to learn about making a product out of clay. In a 2-hour workshop, you will know where the clay comes from, how to prepare it for moulding, which techniques to use when creating different types of products and what to do with moulded product to get a red, firm and decorated art to take with you as a souvenir.
There is also a bit of an entertainment program waiting for you and lunch to give you some energy for the following workshops.
Our next destination is the Brikama Craft market. A place is an epicentre of art. Many local craftsmen have a shop here, making different types of handmade art, from wood carvings to instrument making, to sewing, painting, jewellery, accessories, souvenirs and more.
Our host here will be a member of Foroyaa Art, Culture and Tradition Institute, which is contributing a lot to spreading knowledge about the tradition, music and culture of The Gambia. Part of the institute is also some craftsmen at the Brikama Craft market, which have obtained skills of making instruments and woodcraft from their fathers.
Djembe is one of the instruments that is a must-have when it comes to the ceremonies in the Gambia. This distinctive drum is made out of wood, animal skin and other materials for decoration. You will be able to learn how to transform a big piece of timber into an hourglass-like shape, which will later become a djembe. You will get to know and use different tools used to shape the wood in the desired and acoustic form of the famous drum. And of course, try to drum with the help of our craftsmen musicians.
Another instrument, which has played an important role in the history of the Gambia is the balaphone. It has till now been a significant instrument used by griots, who are known for keeping the history and tradition of the place through the music.
The knowledge about how to make a balaphone is slowly dying, but there are still some people who know not only how to play it but also how to make it. One of those is Mr Mohammed Kuyateh, a band member of Foroyaa band, who has his own workshop at the Craft Market. He is an excellent player, mainly because he has been involved in balaphone making since he was a child. Learned from his father, today he is transferring his knowledge to the younger generation and visitors, who want to learn more about this art itself. You will be able to witness the whole process of making a balaphone and assist Mr Kuyateh in doing so.
In the meantime, you will be welcome to visit other shops, buy some souvenirs and speak with the craftsmen.
The must-do stop is also at Mr. Bamu’s shop. He is a skilled woodcarver, which can control almost every type of wood and create amazing art in nearly no-time.
Do you want to spend a day with Brikama’s craftmen Yes?
Let us know when do you have time and we will organize everything for you: transportation, local guide, meals and anything else you wish.
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