FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

Gambia: First Music Academy Launched

Manding Morry Academy of Music (MAM) and Foundation of Performing Art MANFOPA) has launched the first academy of music in funded at a a tune of over 1.5 million dalasi on 16th January, 2013 at the Red Cross Building in Kanifing Municipal Council. Manding Morry Academy of Music (MAM) is a one year youth pilot music training project funded by the Roskilde Festival Society in Denmark which is the biggest music festival in Scandinavia.Mr. Abdoul Aziz William,

the moderator of the event said the Manding Morry Academy of Music will be in theory and practice and would include: Music theory (Music language and music notes), Vocals and song writing(singing, harmony, speech and ear training, arranging music communications and performance), Drumming (Drumming set and Djembe), Guitar (Acoustic, Rhythm and Bass), African Instrument (Kora and Balafong), Music business and administration (copyright and publishing, public speaking and communication, artists management, marketing, music technology and new media, finance and live event management). The academy has an equipped music studio for practical work and recording."MAM and MANFOPA is a non-profit art advocacy organization formed in 2011 with the main aim of enhancing professionalism, building capacity and creating opportunities for livelihoods in the performing arts that encourages public participation in the arts",.Mr. Ibrahim Ceesay, Executive Director MANFOPA and MAM said the primary objectives and purpose of the foundation include but not limited to the promotion of the performing arts and African cultural heritages, practice through training and capacity building for performing artists with a special focus on young talents.He noted that MANFOPA has established the Manding Morry Theatre and Manding Morry Entertainment as performing arts or media unit operating under the foundation for the purpose of fundraising to sustain the work of the foundation. "MANFOPA recognizes the increasing number of young people taking up music as a career and means of livelihood but without any professional music training to produce quality music for the public consumption thereby creating a means of livelihood", he said.Mr. Ceesay said this triggered the need to establish a music academy for the aspiring talents providing them with professional training, monitoring towards their development as self employed youths. He said the aspirations of the academy will achieve for young and upcoming musicians above all for the staggering music industry is perhaps the most important dimension.

"It is our aim that in two year's time the music academy will produce musicians and talents that would be able to compete internationally and produce quality music for public consumption to reduce influx of foreign musicians, because music has no boundaries", he said. According to him, they have given scholarship to 20 students through an open call for application underway with the 9 month pilot training programme.He said based on the successful piloting and lessons learnt from this music training academy, it is their intention to transform this project to an independent music school with professional teachers, management and board.Mr. Tijan Camara, Chairman, Board of Directors MANFOPA and MAM said the importance of such a music academy is a set in the right direction. "It nurtured professionalism in performing arts in the country as manifested in the blue print of the nation Programme for AcceleratedGrowth and Employment", he said.

According to him in recent years, the Gambia has witnessed a huge number of young people venturing into music as a career without no formal training, but their music are gaining momentum from fans. He said there are so many untapped talents in the country, so MANFOPA and MAM have come to close that gap.Mr. Oko Drammeh, chairman of the technical advisory committee MANFOPA and MAM said creative economy can only make Africa rich. "In 2015 creative people will improve the country's economy and this academy is a gate way for young talented people to give their careers a headway", he said.Mr. Baba Ceesay, Director of National Center for Arts and Culture, speaking on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture said, his ministry is keen to support a vibrant music industry as it serves as an employment of many youths."We welcome such private sector initiatives as they empower young people to take up a career in creative arts", he said. He said the Gambia government has taken significant strides in transforming Gambian music industry in providing copyright forum forthem, assisting various artists in production of their albums.

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