Wooden Roots Experience 2023 at Snape Maltings - Photo: Wooden Roots

West African drumming company Wooden Roots is offering free places for people from underrepresented communities at their ‘Experience’ weekend of drum and dance workshops at Snape Maltings in early August.

The places include free tickets to a special performance by pioneering female kora player Sona Jobarteh.

The Wooden Roots Experience takes place on the weekend of August 3 and 4 at Snape Maltings, with a special VIP evening event on August 2 at their base in Bentwaters Parks.

Founded in Los Angeles – and suppliers of bespoke djembes to Marvel Studios’ Black Panther movies – Wooden Roots have booked world-leading West African artists to run the Experience workshops. 

Wooden Roots founder and djembe craftsman Marcus Brown said: “The Wooden Roots Experience promises to be an exciting, dynamic event. We believe in inclusion, so we welcome absolute beginners as well as highly skilled drummers from any background to join us. We’re incredibly proud to have globally renowned West African artists leading workshops. We are bringing excellence to Suffolk, which is essential in giving people outside of large cities a real experience of West African culture.

“Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, we are able to include people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to benefit from a weekend of excellence in West African drumming and dance in a beautiful setting. I know that everyone will leave the weekend feeling inspired, uplifted and energised.”

Tickets start at around £60 for a child. Free places will be allocated to people seeking asylum, refugees, people on lower incomes, and school students over eight years old.

Head of Performance and Public Engagement at Britten Pears Arts Fraser Wilson said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the Wooden Roots Experience again which is a big, bold happening with exceptional artistic talent. We love supporting the event as it echoes our own reputation as an internationally recognised cultural organisation. Naturally, we encourage people to snap up tickets and be part of what is becoming an iconic weekend in rural Suffolk.”