Announcing ~ Mini Guinea Festival!

Click Here for our Weekly Dance & Drum Class Schedule

Mini Guinea Fest

Saturday May 16, 2015 

At the Woodford’s Club, 179 Woodford St. in Portland, Maine

 Building community and sharing the love, we celebrate master drummer Namory Keita’s move to Portland, the 10 Year Anniversary of Portland’s West African Inspired Dance, and the many artists and students who have helped build the energy here over the years. 

Click HERE for Tickets

Some of the amazing artists we’ll celebrate with:

Namory Keita

Youssouf Koumbassa

Sayon Camara

Sayon Camara

 

 

 

 

Abdoulaye Toure

Abdoulaye Toure

Abou Sylla

Abou Sylla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mini Guinea Fest is a celebration of West African Dance and Drumming, and its growing community here in Maine and New England.

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The event begins with a lively dance class with Youssouf Koumbassa ~ world-renowned for his dancing, and gift for making Guinean dance accessible to all learners.

Youssouf Koumbassa teaching at Mechanic's Hall Ballroom, in Portland 2014

Youssouf teaching at Mechanic’s Ballroom in Portland, ME 2014

Youssouf teaching at Camp Fareta in California

Class will be followed by breaking bread together, an evening of performances with some of Guinea’s finest musicians, and some local talents from ME and NH. 

Stay on afterward to join the dance party and help us give Namory a warm welcome!

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Welcoming Namory Keita!

Welcoming Namory Keita! Photo by Philip Styles

Mini Guinea Fest ~ Saturday May 16

At the Woodford’s Club, 179 Woodford St. in Portland, Maine

Doors Open at 3:30pm 

4:00-5:30pm ~ All Levels West African Dance class with Youssouf Koumbassa 

No experience necessary in what is certain to be a joyous dance class with revered teacher, and renowned master dancer, Youssouf Koumbassa, from Guinea. ($15 advance/$18 at door)

5:30-7:00pm ~Potluck and mingling 

Please bring something to share.

7:00-9:00pm ~ West African Dance and Drum Performances 

With Guinean artists, Namory Keita, Abou Sylla, Sayon Camara, Abdoulaye Toure, Theo Martey and more! Portland’s local Blue Moon Tribe, lead by Marita Kennedy-Castro, Kittery dancers lead by Elizabeth Fowler, and Araba-Lon, from New Hampshire will open up the show. ($15 advance/$18 at door)

9:00-11:30pm ~ Stay on for the party, and join the celebration! 
(Included in performance ticket)

Purchase Tickets Here:

http://miniguineafest.brownpapertickets.com

Join and share the Event on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1575977879343761/

Learn about some of the guest artists: 

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Youssouf Koumbassa: 

http://youssoufkoumbassag.wix.com/site

Class with Youssouf in Portland last June:

Youssouf’s Summer Camp in California:

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Namory Keita: 

http://www.namorydrum.com

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Sayon Camara: 

http://sayoncamaradrumming.com/sayon/

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Abou Sylla: 

http://www.abousylla.com

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Abdoulaye Toure: 

http://www.meetup.com/westafricandrumdancewestchesterny/events/217732082/

Plus many additional musicians and dancers!!

Join our weekly classes in West African Inspired Dance and West African Drumming with this welcoming and ever-expanding community in Portland Maine!

~ More info HERE ~

See you at Mini Guinea Fest!

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Sing, Dance & Drum with International Guinean Star, Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate

Click Here for Our Weekly W. African Dance & Drum Class Schedule

Join us for a weekend of exhilarating workshops & performances with Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate                       & Namory Keita ~ January 16-18, 2015! 

All Workshops Open to Beginners ~ W. African Drum & Dance is for Everyone!

Scroll down to learn more & click HERE to pre-register for the Portland workshops

Ismael_dance

Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate

Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate was born in Guinea, West Africa to a long line of ‘Griots’, the oral historians that preserve the history and culture of Africa through songs, stories, music and dance. He began dancing professionally at the age of 12, when he was recruited by Les Percussions de Guinee’ to perform in their international tour, which included Europe and Asia. In 2004 he joined Les Ballets Africains, The National Dance Company of Guinea, for their 50th Anniversary Tour of the US. 
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He amazed audiences throughout his travels, and was contracted by the team of the Broadway hit FELA! to serve as a Master Choreographer and Performer for the production. He performed with FELA! internationally, to sold-out audiences from 2008 to it’s final show in 2013.
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Ismael Kouyate in Fela!

Ismael Kouyate in the Broadway Production, Fela!

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In 2011, Ismael was sought out to do a special on CNN about Africa in America. His class of over 100 people ecstatically learned and modeled his movements, while speaking of their excitement to study from this legend of Guinea (Link to video). You may also recognize Ismael from his studio time with Beyonce, adding his amazing vocals to her hit, “Grown Woman”. Ismael is available as in individual performer or with his band, Waraba or his West African Dance Company, African Soul International.
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Kouyate, Ismael

Ismael “Bonfils” Kouyate with Waraba Band

Namory.Keita

Namory Keita, djembefola.

Namory Keita was born in 1982 in the village of Sangbarala, Guinea. At age 7 he began drumming and became the lead drummer in his village since 2006. Members of his family are other well-known drummers, Solo Keita, who lives in Japan, and Nansady Keita, in England. He grew up drumming with his uncle Famoudou Konate, who is highly regarded for his African drumming around the world.

Namory recorded his first CD in 2010 named Kolafolo (“Beginning of Everything”), and he is a featured artist on many additional artist’s recordings. As a teacher and performing artist, he has travelled to share his culture internationally, and since coming to America in 2010, has played with Famoudou Konate, Mamady Keita, Bolokada Conde, Mousa Traore and many more.

Currently Namory performs and teaches weekly drumming classes throughout New England. He is a patient teacher for all skill levels and brings a thorough understanding of the drum ensemble and West African musical experience to his students.

WEST AFRICAN SONG, DANCE & DRUM WORKSHOPS & PERFORMANCE 

Friday Jan 16th, Saturday Jan 17th in Kittery, ME

To Register for Kittery workshops & performance CLICK HERE

Sunday Jan 18th in Portland, ME

To Register for Portland workshops CLICK HERE 

Reserve your spot today!

Or pre-register in person, at either of our weekly West African Inspired Dance classes  

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MARITA4-3
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All classes open to beginners / No experience necessary

Facebook event Link HERE

Guinea is coming to Maine!!

Click HERE for our Current Weekly Class Schedule

 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

I never anticipated a day would come that I’d get to make this special announcement:  Portland is welcoming master drummer Namory Keita, from Guinea, West Africa ~ to LIVE HERE!

I am thrilled to share that this gracious, kind, djembefola (master drummer) from Sangbarala, Guinea, has chosen Portland, Maine as his new home and community. Big Up to you Namory! We have much to celebrate!

A Warm Welcome to Namory Keita!!!!!!! 

Namory.Keita

Namory Keita, djembefola

Starting in January, Namory will be accompanying our Tuesday night beginner dance class at the Woodford’s Club (yes yes!) and teaching drum classes directly following. We are blessed!

Weekly Drum Classes with Namory Keita, starting January 6th, 2015

Tuesdays 7:15-8:45pm at the Woodford’s Club, 179 Woodford’s St. in Portland

Please bring a drum if you have one. Limited number of drums available for reservation.

FMI contact Janice Erickson: jerickson002@maine.rr.com

Dancing & Drumming Without Borders ~ Supporting ebola relief efforts

Reminder: Over the next 2 months a percentage of funds from every dance class will be donated to Doctors Without Borders to aid in ebola relief efforts. Please consider donating directly, via their website, and help to support the people and families from which this music and dancing comes!

HOLIDAY Discount Offers &  Gift Certificates Available in December & January

Good for Tues OR Thurs night Dance Class ~ (we can’t do multi-location passes)

*4 classes ~ $48
*8 classes ~ $88
*12 classes ~ $120
*Introduce someone new to class and you BOTH attend their 1st class at 1/2 price (redeemable one time only)
*Barters available for members of Hour Exchange Portland
*Students: $2 discount with I.D.
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SAVE THE DATE  January 17-18, 2015

Workshops & Performances with Special Guest: 

Ismael ‘Bonfils’ Kouyate!

Ismael ‘Bonfils’ Kouyate, world renowned artist of traditional Guinean dance and song is coming to Maine in January 2015, for a weekend of workshops and performances.
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Bonfils comes from a family of artists, and was a long time performer with Les Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballets Africains, one of Guinea’s national ballets. You may have caught him in the Broadway musical FELA!, or performing with Ismael Kouyate: Waraba Band.
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Spread the Word
Saturday Jan 17th ~ Ismael teaches song, dance, drum and dundun dance classes in Kittery, topped off by an evening performance with several other musicians and dancers from Guinea, including master balafone player, Abou Sylla.
Sunday Jan 18th ~ Ismael teaches song, dance, drum and dundun dance classes in Portland
 More Details Will Be Posted Soon!
 
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Click HERE to find us on Facebook

Drum (& Dance) With 5-gallon Buckets in August

I’m excited to offer 3 Drum/Dance workshops in August ~ Mondays: August 11, 18 & 25th

Join the fun and learn a rhythm and dance in a style inspired by West African dundun dancing. We will be drumming with drumsticks on 5 gallon buckets, and a few dundun drums will be provided for students to experience as well.

Those who wish to drum, but are not yet ready to dance, are also welcome!

BucketDunDun_MayoStArts

Bucket Drumming and Dancing

 

Dundun dancing in the traditional style

Dundun dancing in the traditional style

 

August 11, 18 & 25th

5:30-6:45pm

$10 per workshop
Drop-in
OR
Come to all 3 (get solid on the rhythms), and there’ll be potential to perform for First Friday Art Walk on September 5th!

Location:
If it’s SUNNY~
Fort Sumner Park, 60 North St., Portland, ME

If it’s RAINY~
U.U. Church, 425 Congress St., Portland, ME

*Pre-registration is advised, so we can assure there’s room for everyone.*

WHAT TO BRING ~
5 gallon bucket & set of drumsticks.
A limited number of 5 gallon buckets and drumsticks will be provided. Please let me know if you’d like to reserve a set.

It is best to wear clothing that provides you with ease of movement, bring a water bottle and stay hydrated.

*Tell your friends*

We also have 2 weekly classes in West African Inspired Dance ongoing throughout the summer. Click HERE for more information.

Exciting West African Dance Opportunities Coming Soon

A very special guest & my beloved teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa, will return here on June 20th, to teach an all-levels dance class @ the Mechanic’s Hall!

YK

Youssouf brings incredible talent, breath-taking dancing and masterful teaching to this experience.

Live drumming in gorgeous Guinean rhythms will be provided by special guest drummers from Guinea – Namory Keita, Abdoulaye Toure- and beyond.

This is guaranteed to be a summer highlight!

Friday, June 20th, 2014, 6:00-7:30pm,

Mechanic’s Hall, 519 Congress St., 3rd floor, Portland, ME

$16 advance*/ $20 day of  

Additional opportunities to take drum and dance classes with Youssouf & Namory in Kittery, Maine on June 19th & 22nd, and Cambridge, MA, June 23rd. 

*Find out how to pre-register (by pre-paying) for Yousouf’s classes & sign up for the carpool to Kittery in either of our local classes or contact me.

I can’t wait to share this experience with you! 

Youssouf Koumbassa is returning to Portland, ME!

SAVE THE DATE ~ Friday, June 20th, 2014

Master dancer and teacher, Youssouf Koumbassa, is returning to Portland for a West African Dance workshop with live drumming lead by special guest, Namory Keita on djembe!

All levels are welcome ~ Youssouf makes class very accessible and always an unforgettable experience. Come dance with this amazing teacher and total treasure of a human being!

WESTAFRICAN

6-7:30pm @ the Mechanic’s Hall 519 Congress St, 3rd floor.

$16 in advance / $20 day of class

 Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

Click HERE and contact me to pre-register & please spread the word.        

See you there! 

Youssouf Koumbassa & Namory Keita Coming to Portland, ME!

Still buzzing from an amazing day of Guinean drum & dance yesterday, I am thrilled to announce that master Guinean artist, Youssouf Koumbassa, will be returning to Portland, Maine on a mini New England tour and teaching class here on Thursday, October 31st, accompanied by master djembefola, Namory Keita!!

Please help me to spread the word!

Youssouf teaching in Guinea, 2012

Youssouf teaching in Guinea, 2012

Namory in Guinea, West Africa

Namory in Guinea, West Africa

Join us at Maine Ballroom Dance Studio for an exciting night of dancing and drumming!

* Thursday, Oct 31st 2013 *  7:30pm *  $15-$20 sliding scale * Please pre-register a.s.a.p. & reserve your spot by contacting Marita Kennedy-Castro *

*Youssouf will be in New England for 4 days in a row and for 2 consecutive weekends!*

Wednesday October 30th ~ Brattleboro, VT, 7-8:30pm @ Brattleboro Stone Church:  www.africandancevt.com

Thursday October 31st ~ Portland, ME 7:30-9pm @ Maine Ballroom Dance Studio: www.embodytherhythm.com

Friday November 1st ~ Kittery, ME 7-8:30pm @ The Dance Hall: Seacoast West African Dance & Drum

Saturday November 2nd ~ Cambridge, MA @ The Dance Complex (details TBA)

$15-$20 sliding scale for all Locations

The following weekend catch Youssouf and many, many more talented artists from Guinea at JEH KULU’S ANNUAL WEST AFRICAN DANCE & DRUM FESTIVAL in Burlington, VT! Pre-registration is open. Join the fun!

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