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Soul sessions with Keb’ Mo’ on his Blues safari in South-Africa!

By | Keb' Mo' | 2 Comments

KEB’ MO’ Blues Safari

28 February, 2018 – 8 March, 2018

 

What an honor it was to have 4 time GRAMMY winner and Blues legend – Keb’ Mo’ as the instructor and host of our 2018 Blues & Songwriting safari in South-Africa. Eight magical days immersed in music, learning and the majestic beauty of the African bush.

Guests came from North–America, Uzbekistan and South-Africa to be a part of this once in a life time musical adventure. Everyone was very exited to meet one another, to be in South- Africa and to have the rare opportunity to spend time with their musical hero – Mr. Keb’ Mo’.

We departed the cultural village at 09:00 AM on day one and took a relaxed and easy drive through the lush greenery and rolling hills of the South-African country side on our way to the game reserve. The excitement on the bus was tangible and it wasn’t long before a bunch of the guys pulled out their guitars and harmonicas and started a jam right there on the bus. I sat next to Mr. Mo. He looked at me and said: “ Hey man, I can’t just sit here while that jam is going on”, and with that he stood up and joined the jam at the back of the bus – a testimony to his great spirit and kind heart.

After about two hours of driving on a dirt road which was described by some of the guests as ‘the longest stretch of dirt road they had ever seen in their lives’, we finally arrived at the game reserve. It was a hot summers day in Africa and folks were eager to get to the lodge and go out for their first game drive. We unloaded the bus and got all of our luggage loaded onto the 4×4 safari vehicles by the game rangers. We departed from the gate in the open air vehicles and encountered a herd of 30 elephants crossing the road right in front of us within 2 minutes of entering the game reserve. The guests could not believe this. We literally had a herd of 30 elephants as our welcoming party! The scene was set.

After settling in at the lodge we embarked on our first official game drive of the trip and we saw a lioness with two cubs, White rhinos, more elephants, Buffalo, plenty bird life and a wide variety of common game. Four out of five of the Big five on our very first game drive.

The rest of the trip was filled with many awe inspiring game drives, delicious dinners in exotic locations, world class service from the staff, great company and of course – amazing music sessions with Mr. Keb’ Mo’.

A typical day on safari:

We got up at 06:00, had a tasty bite to eat and departed for our morning safari drive. Got back at around 09:30 AM. Had a delicious brunch and started our music sessions at 11:00, and ended around 15:30.
This is where Mr. Mo worked his magic. Eight lucky guests sat in a tight little circle around their musical hero and got to play music with him for 3-4 hrs a day for 7 days straight. Keb’ Mo’ brought a kind, gentle and thoughtful attitude to the workshop sessions and it was clear that he really wanted the guests to get the most out of the learning experience. They worked on the importance of good timing. Worked on, and learned his song ‘Every morning’ and a Blues Gospel song named ‘Somebody hurt you’. In addition to learning songs Keb’ Mo’ put forth to the group, the group also learned some songs from each other. This was all in preparation for the grand finale concert to be held on the last evening. The highlight must have been the one on one private lessons Keb’ Mo’ had with each guest where the guests could get advice and pointers on how to improve their playing. Keb’ Mo’ made sure that each guest got a lot of individual attention and he went above and beyond to make sure that every guest got something to take home and work on. And if this was the highlight then the cherry on the cake must surly have been when Keb’ Mo’ gave an intimate unplugged performance to the group in the heart of the African bush with the sun setting red in the back ground.

We had an amazing week filled with inspiration and good times and the group topped it off by giving a grand finale performance to the spouses and the staff to showcase what they had learned throughout the week. Keb’ Mo’ was our entertaining M.C. and musical director and lead the flow of events and entertained us all with his charm and charisma.
It was a wonderful way to end a very special week and we were all most fortunate to have been a part of it.

A huge thank you to Keb’ Mo’ and his team and a special word of thanks to all the guests for joining us on this trip!

We hope to welcome you guys back soon, and here is to the Keb’ Mo’ Blues safari class of 2018!

Sincerely,

Wiam Otto
MSWIA Music Safaris

Bluegrass guitar in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South-Africa!

By | Tim Stafford | 4 Comments

Tim Stafford – Flatpick & Songwriting safari.

26 January, 2018 – 31 January, 2018, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South-Africa

 

Tim Stafford is just a great guy and his warm spirit and thoughtful nature made this trip very enjoyable and memorable for us all .Tim plays with some of the best tone and timing in the game, and it was a real honor to have him as our 2018 Flatpick & songwriting safari instructor.

Not only is Tim a great guy and wonderful musician, but he is also a brilliant instructor. We were fortunate to have Tim with us to instruct us on the art of songwriting and how to hone and perfect the basics of the flatpick style of guitar playing.

Tim started off with the basics of guitar playing, the five T’s – Timing, Tone, Taste, Technique and Tuning, and shared his experience and methods on how to practice and improve upon each aspect. He shared his practice of working with Funk backing tracks to improve your sense of timing and to deepen your groove. He showed us how to use the tuner to tune your ear instead of the guitar. We talked on the importance of a good pick, and how to maintain good tone through out your solo by using hammer on’s, pull off’s and down strokes. When it came to taste, it was all about keeping it simple and playing the melody. His ideas on technique were all about efficiency of motion and making the guitar sing.

The sessions were informal and laid back and we all ( the 4 of us), had a great time learning from, and playing music with Tim.

Tim lead a group songwriting session where the group co-wrote a very special song, and it was a real fun and insightful experience to sit and write a song with such an accomplished songwriter.

A typical day out on safari with Tim went as follow. At 05:00 AM we woke up and got ready for our first game drive of the day. With the sun rising red on the horizon, the crisp fresh air and a cup of coffee, the mornings were set to be glorious. After about three hours of being out in the African Savannah, and typically viewing anything from Giraffes, to Buffalo, to Zebra, Rhino and Hippos, we would head back for a delightful breakfast.
After breakfast we would have our music sessions for a couple of hours, and relax some in the afternoon just before we departed for our second 16:30 game drive

On our second last day out on safari, Tim treated the group to an inspiring and intimate sun set performance while out on our afternoon game drive. We all sat relaxed in camping chairs with G&T’s and listened to some of the most beautiful guitar playing in the heart of the African Savannah. Tim picked he classic Wildwood flower, and a couple of his own compositions – Indigo Blue and Horse shoe bend.

The Kwa-Zulu Natal Savannah was lush and green, we had great weather and we saw ample wildlife out on this 5 day music safari. We were all enriched by the musical instruction, the concerts, jamming and the magnificence of the African wildlife. New friendships were made, and we all left as richer musicians and people. Thank you Tim, and here is to another Music Safari with you in the future.

Sincerely,

Wiam Otto
MSWIA Music Safaris