GROUP LAIENGEE: A COOPERATIVE MUSIC APPROACH FOR ASSISTING CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN CONAKRY, GUINEA (WEST AFRICA)
This project links Group Laiengee with the Sidney Lanier music program and was included in the 2010 United Nations Compendium: Music as Natural Resource, Solutions for Social and Economic Issues. A video example can be seen on the international video link. Here is a link to the United Nations Compendium: (We begin on page 32)
Group Laiengee is a performing troupe in Guinea comprised of children with significant disabilities led by Alsaney Camara and other prominent traditional African Griot musicians. We are currently working cooperatively with Lansana Camara, a community musician in Florida to enhance and support this program in Conakry. Mr. Camara comes from a long line of Griot family musicians dedicated to the crafting of instruments and the performance of classical Griot songs for ceremonies, celebrations, social occasions, and stage performances. The structure of their troupe models the style of the country’s professional touring companies.
Please contact Dr. Donald DeVito (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in networking for the following goals:
1. the development of grant funded research in the fields of music education, special education, performance, community music or ethnomusicology
2. the networking of resources for establishing similar ensembles internationally
3. the development of artists in residence programs, workshops, and performances in public schools in Florida to support the program in Africa. Please read below for specific information on networking with this program through workshops, performances, and instruments.
Group Laiengee Approach: The theory behind Group Laiengee’s approach is that all human beings have an innate responsiveness to music similar to that of the infant and the sound of its mother. This natural instinct remains intact even with the challenges in life brought on by physical, cognitive, or emotional disability. Musicality is a basic human characteristic in people, cultures, and a binding element in the socialization of a community.
PURPOSE: The purpose of the Group Laiengee Project is to support and enhance the quality of life of children with disabilities (several without homes) in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa. This is enhanced by supporting the local musicians and artists who teach and care for the children. If successful, this project could be replicated in other areas of Guinea and Africa. A workshop in Gainesville, Florida to raise funds for the project. The balofone is in the center.
Method: Meeting the goals of this project are based on a three staged method.
Stage One: The leasing of a home in Conakry for the purpose of providing the musicians and children in the ensemble (those who are without homes and families) with a stable place to live. Through the $5,000 Jubilation Foundation Fellowship, Florida workshops and performance by Lansana Camara, and financial support from Dr. DeVito, this first stage has been accomplished. The musicians and children have a home just outside of Conakry with a gate for safety and space to grow crops that supplement the purchase of rice as a food staple.
Stage Two: The purchase of a van to transport the children to Conakry for performances in the downtown area which raises their level of honor in the society as well as providing small increases in their ability to support themselves. Projections for a van large enough for this project are $3750 to $4500 (based on conversion rate since the van is going to be purchased in Conakry. Currently, the music teachers are using mopeds and public transport where available.
Stage Three: The leasing of a building in downtown Conakry that can be used as a school and a shop for the participants to sell their handmade instruments which includes koras (African harp) and balofones (similar to a marimba and pitched in the key of C). With this music school (the children have no public education available to them due to their situation), local children with disabilities who have families and homes would have access to participate in the ensemble. The sale of instruments to tourists in Conakry and the local residents would go far toward making the project self sufficient.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: 1. Lansana Camara will be availble beginning in March to visit schools in Florida to perform with the children and share techniques and information on their culture in Guinea. Please contact Don DeVito (352-262-6533) or email the school: email@example.com for information.
2. Koras and balofones are two of the primary instruments they make.
Click on the symbol above to hear Mr. Camara perform on the hand made kora. Our students interacted live with Group Lainegee using speaker phones!
A handmade balofone being taught during a workshop.
Thank you for your interest in our project! For more information please contact Donald DeVito at firstname.lastname@example.org