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A Successful Exchange

At Cradle of Jazz Project, our mission is to sponsor 3 months a year of musical, educational, and lingual exchange for small groups of musically inclined Malian and Western children, on an annually recurring basis. Our initiative is more than a one-time exchange. CoJP participants enroll with the anticipation of yearly invitations to our CoJP education programming until their high school graduation, and successful scholarship-funded transition to a university.

Through this annual quarter of immersive programming, both Western & Malian youth participants grow up to be truly fluent in multiple musics, languages, and cultures.

Mande Strings kids

Musicians in training: Kalif, Lassi, and Karamina (photo: Tiecoura N’daou)

We are proud to work with musicians Kokanko Sata Doumbia and Lamine Soumano, two artists of our Mande Strings tour, in bringing their children to South Carolina to participate in our first year of educational programming.  Beginning in August 2016 with these children in our first student body, our target goal is to annually serve up to 25 international children, with an equal number of young American students gathering to learn.

Kokanko’s son Kalifa, 12, Lamine’s son Lassi, 8, and his daughter Karamina, 6, have already been paired by age and gender with a small group of musical American children, who together become the first students of CoJP’s annual bi-musical education initiative.

Kokanko, Lamine, and CoJP interpreter Assigué Dolo are also participating in the educational initiative. As a team, our Mande Strings musicians paired with the CoJP board is able to offer a comprehensive curriculum for both Malian and American student participants, including:

  • Musical instruction from Lamine and Kokanko in guitar, ngoni, mandolin, kora, percussion, vocals, and music production.
  • Western music theory and instruction in the Suzuki music method from CoJP Director Julie Moore.
  • Additional weekly musical opportunities through the Hendersonville Children’s Choir and Pacolet Jam (a traditional music program).
  • Language instruction in French, English, and Bambara in a teaching effort utilizing all adult participants, Rosetta Stone Homeschool edition curriculum, and the natural learning that occurs through children’s play and interaction.
  • Daily environment of immersive forest play including a pond for swimming, fishing, and boating; dirt trails for bicycles; and ample hiking.
  • Supplemental instruction in science and math utilizing well-tested home school curricula.

Mande Strings family

The Asheville, NC based band Toubab Krewe has worked for years with Lamine Soumano to raise funds for the establishment of a school for Malian student musicians in Mali. Pairing their efforts with those of the CoJP education initiative, the opportunity exists for Malian youth to receive excellent education year-round with their primary learning facility being Lamine’s school in Mali, with an annual quarter at the CoJP facility in the US.

While we are funding this endeavor through grants and touring (link to ourselves), this program only becomes sustainable through public support and encouragement. Please take a moment to like and share us on fb, and if you are so inclined, make a tax-deductible donation.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our education initiative.