West African Music for third level institutions, music colleges and Ethnomusicology courses.

Presenting the new ‘Mande Music’ course for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Available as an academic module or as a practical course for aspiring musicians with an interest in West African music.

toumani-and-sidiki-diabate‘Mande Music’ refers to music that encompasses modern day Mali and the Sahel countries of Guinea, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire to name a few.  Famed as the ‘cradle of musical civilisation’ according to multi award winning artist Toumani Diabate, the region is known for its’ diverse range of instrumentation and musical styles.   Central to this is its’ artisanal class of musicians known as Griots who have been the hereditary keepers of music and folklore for Millennia.

Mande Music lecture.

Exploring the central components of traditional Mande music including:

  • famoudou-seckou (1)The art of Griots (Jeliya) – The recounting of history and genealogy, song and instrumentalism.
  • Donso (Hunter) music – The art of praise in traditional and modern hunting societies and associations.
  • Traditional forms of West African percussion – the cultural significance and place of ritual drumming for life cycle events and in the modern context.
  • The Cuban influenced evolution of the modern West African Orchestra.
  • The sounds of 21st Century Mande Music.

Practical Mande Music Workshop

Ensemble music focusing on traditional hunter harp music and African percussion. This workshop can focus on the use of traditional instrumentation or transpose an interpretation of the music to modern western instruments including drum-kit, bass and guitar.

Afro-Eire can provide workshops in traditional Mande percussion (Djembe, Dunun and Percussion) for groups of 20 (instruments provided).   We can provide kamele n’goni and hunter harp workshops for groups of 8.  We can also operate orchestra workshops for large groups blending traditional and contemporary instruments.

Visiting Masters Workshops

Afro-Eire organises specialist concerts with some of the worlds’ best proponents of traditional African music.  As part of these events we are committed to providing an opportunity for musicians to learn from these artists.  If you are interested in hosting workshops by visiting artists or in attending specialist workshops please CONTACT US

Griot and Master drummer Sidiki Dembele (Cote d’Ivoire), Down With Jazz Festival 2015 with Paul McElhatton (Kamele n’goni) and Cote Calmet (drums).


Paul McElhatton has been studying West African Music for over fifteen years with some of the greatest artists in West Africa. He has conducted over two years of field research in Mali, Guinea, Senegal, The Gambia and Burkina Faso, studying traditional percussion with teachers including Mamady Keita, Babara Bangoura and Malian master drummer Drissa Kone.  Since 2006 he has been studying Kamele n’goni harp and balafon in Burkina Faso and Mali with a variety of master including Salif Traore (Farafina) and Drissa Diarra (Nankany Kante)..

In 2011 he attended the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.  And in 2013 founded the Mande music group Manden Express where he plays Kamele n’goni harp, in 2015 he invited Griot Master drummer Sidiki Dembele to Ireland to form the group The Sidiki Dembele Sextet..