By Makutu Manneh
The talent of Gambian musicians has attracted the establishment of an international music school in the country.
On Friday 27th August 2021, a music school dubbed International Music School (IMS) was launched in the country at Brusubi phase 1.
The school aims to train its students to be skillful and successful in their music careers and reach international standards in music. The school will be offering classes, ranging from vocal training, guitar, keyboard, drums, music production, music reading and music engineering.
“When I come to Gambia, I always see the great talent in music but we just lack the education when it comes to international standards,” said Marco Link, the CEO of IMS.
Marco said the institute will impact quality music education onto its students as they have hired experienced teachers across the world- from Nigeria, Ghana and Europe. He said their team believes that a quality education system lies in the commitment of its members and that they are ready to deliver.
“Our mission is to put the great talents in shape. We work together tightly with music schools in Europe, especially in Germany,” he said.
Marco, a drummer himself, said they want to introduce the possibility and opportunity for young Gambians to be able to reach international standards through music.
He also said there will be an examination which will be internationally certified. This, he said, is to ensure their students are at the same level when they meet with other musicians around the world.
Hassoum Cessey, Drictor General at the National Center for Arts and Culture, said the school has come to fill a big gap in the Gambia music industry. He said their artists are doing well collectively and individually. However, he added that the academy part of music is important as it will strengthen their skills.
Mr. Cessey assured Marco of the government’s support and informed the institute that he has spoken to the line minister on ways to sponsor students at the school. He encouraged all interested youth who are ready to take music as a career to be enrolled in the school.
Momodou M. Sarr, President of the Gambia Music Union, expressed his worries about the sustainability of the school, but he was assured by the school management that they are here to stay.
“Over the years, we have seen a lot of institutions that ventured into music schools but at the end of the day, we have one problem and that is sustainability,” Sarr said.
President Sarr told the CEO that they need them to sustain the school because an international music school will add value to what they already have. He said The Gambia has a problem of instrument players, saying it is noticed that the same circle of instrument players play almost in every performance of all the Gambian artists. He said such should be changed. He told them if they want to build their music industry, they must have instrument players.
Mr. Sarr said IMS should be able to provide them an opportunity to have as many instrument players as possible
Gibrel Faal, President of Gambia Association of Music Producers and Promoters, was also present and expressed support to the school.