As part of their French studies, students at St. George School and Thomaston Grammar School participated in  workshops presented by a drummer from West Africa.

Sidy Maiga, a master percussionist from Bamako, Mali, West Africa, was on hand March 27-28 at the schools to perform and conduct the workshops.

Maiga specializes in djembe and dun dun, using particular types of drums. He spoke to the students about how the drums are made and how the act of drumming communicates what is happening in a particular setting.

"Every rhythm has meaning," said Maiga. There are rhythms for weddings, new babies, and hunting to name a few.

"In Mali, your neighbors are your community," said Maiga. "Drumming is done to bring people together."

The students learned three sounds on the drums — the slap, the tone and the base. Following their lessons, they put all the sounds together in celebration.

Maiga resides in Rhode Island where he has a group that performs at various workshops and clubs. His visit was funded by a combination of a community member's gift, the parent association and the adult education program.

World language teacher Kit Harrison organized the event for the two schools.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or by email at