September 11th, Accra airport, Ghana: My flight from Bamako, Mali, just landed in Accra. I’m supposed to meet with Abdul Rahman, director of the school, who is coming to pick me up. I’ve never met him before but he’ll be wearing a Playing For Change t-shirt so I can recognize him. After a brief glimpse at the people waiting in the arrival area of the airport, I see Abdul Rahman. He is smiling and says, “Welcome to Ghana,” during our very first hug. We have to jump on a propeller airplane to reach Tamale, where the school is located. The flight is going to be quick and safe.
Tamale looks like a very spread out city, with thousands of little houses covered with sheet-metal roofs. Ghana has the most dynamic economy in Africa, and Tamale has grown very fast over the few last years. The Bizung Music School opens every afternoon between Monday and Friday. Most of the kids are between 8 and 15 years old and attend classes in traditional music, dance, chant and keyboard. I can’t wait to meet everybody at the school! The goal of this trip is to maintain a close relationship between the Playing For Change Foundation and the people on the ground, but also to document the progress that has been made at the school since its opening last year.
If the students appear a little shy in front of the camera on the very first days, little by little they seem to forget that I’m filming and start to play the game. I also want to screen some videos for the kids; I’m editing a video on the road for them so they can see themselves on a big screen, but I also have a video message from the kids at the music school in Kirina to the kids in Tamale that I filmed while I was in Mali. The students from Mali are introducing their school to the kids in Tamale and ask them some questions through the video: “What language do you speak?” “What kind of music or instruments do you play ?”
Here is a link to this video message.There are only 850km (around 528 miles) between Kirina and Tamale; that’s why we hope that one day we’ll be able to create a cultural and musical exchange between the two schools. Kirina and Tamale have a lot in common and a lot to share, too.
This week in Tamale was absolutely beautiful. It has been very emotional to see the passion of our teachers at work and how talented and eager the students are to learn at the school. As words are not enough to share this experience and demonstrate the positive change currently happening in Tamale through this music school, here is a short video that will introduce you to the Bizung School of Music and Dance. You’ll see and hear the school’s teachers and students playing and singing during the classes and also giving witness to the impact of this music school on their lives.
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