The Bizung School of Music & Dance is located in Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana, hometown of Mohammed Alidu, who has been performing with the Playing For Change Band since 2009. Alidu is a descendant of a long line of talking drum chiefs known as the "Bizung" that have lived in the area for more than 1,000 years. In his family's honor, this place of inspiration has aptly been named the Bizung School of Music and Dance.
The school offers music and dance classes that are rooted in the traditional style of Northern Ghana. Children have a safe and nurturing environment in which to learn, as well as opportunities to share their cultural and musical traditions with other children around the world.
Construction of the Bizung School was completed in February of 2010, and after hiring teachers, planning curriculums, and enrolling students, classes began on May 17, 2010. Courses are currently offered in drumming, dance, xylophone, gonje, keyboard, guitar and vocals. For many students of the Bizung School of Music and Dance, taking classes here is their first time attending a school of any kind, as there are currently no other tuition-free schools in the northern region of Ghana.
Since opening in 2010, the Bizung School continues to grow with the addition of an open-air classroom to accommodate more children and a van to go out into the surrounding areas and transport children who would not be able to participate otherwise. A music studio has been opened for the students to learn how to use recording equipment and editing software--skills they use to tell their own stories and share their music, and which advance their education and work opportunities.
VIDEO OVERVIEW: TAKE A VISIT AT THE BIZUNG SCHOOL
LIFE IN THE COMMUNITY
Tamale is a city with more than 300,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the Northern region of Ghana. The main languages spoken in the area are Dagbani and English, and most of the inhabitants are Muslims. The people of Tamale live by the sun. They wake at 5:30AM for morning prayers, and go to sleep shortly after sunset. The Bizung School of Music and Dance is located in an area of town called the Norrip Village. Every afternoon from Monday to Friday, dozens of kids attend classes at the school to study music and dance. Most of the students live in the area but some of them come from other parts of Tamale to attend classes traveling by bicycle, walking or carried by one of the teachers.
Aïcha has been a student at the Bizung School of Music and Dance since she was fourteen years old. In the last four years she has learned many skills that have enriched her life and brought her...
A New Van For Bizung
After about 10 months in Ghana, and a couple more months of fundraising after I returned to San Francisco, I have completed the last unresolved portion of my Fulbright-MTVu Fellowship...
The Tora Dance: students performance
Meet with Mohammed
A Song by one of our students