We’re celebrating the beautiful music and dance from Guinea at the Dance Hall next weekend, May 21! Beyond the afternoon workshops – between noon and 5pm – we’re looking forward to the evening performance. It will be opened by students from both Kittery and Portland classes and then followed up with at least six Guinean master artists sharing their talents!
Abou Sylla has been teaching and performing balafon throughout the US for more than twenty years. He comes from a musical family in Guinea and was in one of the country’s national ballets, Ballets Africains for many years before he moved to the US.
He’s now located in the Monadnock region of NH, but is often invited to perform at festivals all over the country.
Ismael Bangoura has been drumming for most of his life. He began as a young boy in Guinea and then played for years with his mentor and friend, Ibrahima “Boca” Camara. For nearly twenty years, he’s been a member of Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater, teaching, performing, and producing an annual festival. He taught the first workshop at the Dance Hall in April of 2011 and we’re always thrilled to welcome him back!
Namory Keita has been teaching a weekly drum class and accompanying dance class at the Dance Hall every Thursday for the past four years. He grew up in the village of Sangbarala in Guinea and was mentored by his uncle, the world renowned Famoudou Konate. Besides teaching in Kittery and his current hometown of Portland, ME, he also teaches in Cambridge, MA and is frequently invited to perform and teach throughout North America.
Sayon Camara comes from the village of Kouya Sidia in the Sankaran region of Guinea. He began playing the djembe when he was a young boy and his hands haven’t stopped drumming since. He lives in Vermont and teaches classes and performs regularly throughout New England. Sayon’s skillful – and joyful – drumming is infectious.
Seny Daffe was born in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who plays djembe, dunduns, balafon, gongoma, bolon, krin, and more. He relocated to Vermont in 2006 and has been sharing his music and dance throughout New England since.
Sidiki Sylla was born and raised in Conakry, Guinea and joined Ballet Djoliba in 1984. He toured the world with both Ballet Djoliba and Ballets Africains before relocating to Burlington, VT in 1997. He’s the artistic director of Jeh Kulu and teaches weekly classes in the area. His dance classes in Kittery have been some of the most joy filled we’ve ever seen.