Sabar Drums

Sabar Drums

In the not too distant past, learning about sabar or other African drum and dance traditions required having an actual teacher. In reality, this still holds true. There is no substitute for a good teacher. But now sabar has an on-line presence. As these sites proliferate Americans are getting more exposure to sabar, which is a good thing. However, not all sites are created equal and many of the problems that exist in the real world transmission of traditional cultural knowledge are amplified on-line. This is a presentation of some of these challenges as a way to help those interested in learning about sabar or other drum traditions in their assessment of teachers and websites.

Learning about sabar, or other African traditional drum traditions can be a wonderful journey. However, this journey has many challenges that can make it difficult to learn these traditions. One of the challenges with African cultural traditions is the way they get transformed when they travel outside of the continent. It is kind of like a bad game of telephone because it generally falls prey to certain myths about Africa.

The most damning myth is that Africa is a continent of oral (or preliterate) traditions. In most western minds, literacy is considered to be the cornerstone of civilization, which then relegates non-western societies and cultures to an inferior status. Orality is wrongly considered to be less definite than writing and capable of widely fluctuating. And since everyone is capable of talking and listening, it is also believed that every person in Africa possesses traditional and cultural knowledge. (1)

This connects to another extremely colonialist/racist myth – that every African person can sing, dance and play the drums. The result of this is a view that sees every African person as a knowledgeable cultural scholar regardless of the reality of that person’s actual background. Regrettably, there are many Africans who take advantage of this ignorance by presenting themselves as bearers of cultural knowledge and thus perpetuate and strengthen the belief in these myths. The biggest difficulty with this is that the pseudo-knowledge does not only get passed on to the naïve or unsuspecting “student.” But often travels far beyond the reaches of the person who presents that misinformation. But the myths about Africa do not exist as separate entities. They are usually riding on top of ideas and attitudes that are part of the western self.

Privilege is one of these attitudes. Privilege allows many outside of Africa to feel that learning even a little bit about an African cultural tradition (even though it may only be a little more than they knew when they started) makes one an expert on the cultural tradition. It is not uncommon to see statements on-line about how years were spent learning one or more of these traditions. These statements usually conclude with a claim of attaining mastery. Even when there seems to be some reverence for the tradition there is limited recognition that the traditional drummer or dancer, who is born into and raised in the culture, and speaks the language of the drum’s ethnic group, will achieve mastery only after many years of devotion to the tradition. In most of these cases, the teacher is only named as a way to provide legitimacy for the skills or knowledge they are claiming to possess. This reflects a sense of superiority over African traditional knowledge, so that even when one is learning, they are not really learning. (2)

Once I attended a workshop with drummers from Percussion de Guinea where a young man asked: “How do you get to play so fast.”After an exchange between the translator and one of the drummers he was told: “They practice for eight hours each day.”The young man responded with disdain: “I don’t have that kind of time, isn’t there some secret you can tell us?”

Even when told the path that has been trod to develop expertise, like this young man, many will look for shortcuts. When this attitude is combined with the lack of recognition that a drum is connected to a people and their cultural sensibilities, you have quite a few who assume that it is not necessary to learn technique to play these instruments or to dance to the rhythms they produce.

When this attitude is combined with the unbridled enthusiasm that one has for the tradition, it leads those who are neophytes to think of themselves as more than that and they want to share/teach what they know before they really know it. The internet allows folks to create blogs, websites, tumblers, and what have you to disseminate information that they have not fully grasped.

Another factor that influences the transmission of West African drum and dance traditions in the United States is the domination of the ballet style. It is through the various African national ballets and performance companies that many in the States were first introduced to these systems of music and dance. Presently, the many videos posted, most often on You Tube and Facebook, have taken the primary role of introducing people to these cultural performance traditions. What these two mediums share is that they are both presenting these traditions to audiences outside of the cultural homelands of these traditions. In order to capture and keep the attention of these audiences, the dancing and drumming have to be as “hot” as possible. While this is exciting and fun to watch, it is only one part of the whole. But this is the part that gets people excited and motivated to learn these dances and rhythms.

There is some really good information on-line provided by “students” who have taken time to really study the cultural practice and know it before trying to teach it. I am writing this not to promote or attack any particular site. The purpose of this is to provide some things to consider when looking at information on sites, including this one.

Language, the medium of communication, is often an area where complications arise. In many cases, languages from “the west” (English, French, German, etc) are not the first languages of an African musician. For them to translate cultural concepts and ideas into the western language often leads to gaps or lack of clarity. Sometimes there is a mismatch between the western language of the African teacher and that of the western student; if the translator is not fluent in both the language translated from and the one translated into there can be a loss of information. Sabar drums (and all drums) have names in the languages of the people who play them. Sometimes this cultural knowledge is disregarded, misunderstood, or ignored. In one egregious on-line example it was stated that variance in the names of drums could be attributed to the European language that came with colonization rather than the different African languages that were indigenous to the people. Eurocentric approaches that ignore African systems of knowing are a major difficulty. This can also result in the mispronunciation or mis-spelling of common terms described in on-line writing. Contrary to the “myth of orality” African languages do have systems of writing and thus a way of spelling terms and this should be recognized and understood. However, this requires a level of respect for African systems of knowledge and a willingness to step away from the entrenched ignorance of a colonial mindset. This mindset is reflected in the use of terms that are culturally loaded, such as referring to ethnic groups as “tribes.” (3)

Privileging European epistemic systems is also reflected in assessments or descriptions of the sabar drum and dance traditions. In discussing African cultural traditions from a European perspective, even when the describer seems to be impressed with what is experienced, there is a tone of condescension towards it. So you may find descriptions of sabar drumming as “beating,” “exciting syncopated crazy drumming” or as “chaotic brilliance”; sabar dance may be described as having a “limb-flinging motion” or be compared to martial arts. While these may be apt descriptions of how sabar drum and dance appear to a western mind, it does not come close to describing the actuality of what sabar is.

Another major issue is having a limited sense of the history or culture associated with the sabar tradition. The result of this is viewing the drum as primarily an instrument of entertainment. So even when drums are seen in an event they are thought of as being played “after all the formal ceremonies are finished,” when the reality is that in just about every case drums are an essential part of the formal ceremony.

A western mindset also leads people to try to place sabar in a hierarchical relationship with other systems of drumming. For example there are some who claim that learning to play sabar drums will enable you to play any type of drum. Aside from the fallacy embodied in this notion, this completely ignores African knowledge systems. Sabar drums, and every other drum in Africa, have specific techniques, specific histories and specific rhythms that one must learn in order to play them.

Lastly, the sense of privilege allows one who is outside of the tradition to make conclusions about what the future of sabar should be. This rarely involves any sense of supporting the people who have the responsibility for this tradition. Most often it involves some idea about how to acclimate the sabar to western institutions, such as gyms and exercise places because it is “much better cardio-vascular exercise” than can be found at such venues.

If drum and dance traditions such as that of sabar, are stripped of technique, removed from cultural connections, separated from traditional knowledge systems, and repurposed as systems of physical exercise one has to ask, what does this new form of cultural imperialism mean for the future of these cultural traditions?

Notes

(1)For more information on the significance of the oral tradition see the post The Géwël and African Intellectual Traditions March 11, 2009 on this blog site.

(2) An extreme example is a gentleman who wrote about his attempt to become a griot during a 6 month research trip in several countries in West Africa. He wrote about the difficulty he encountered in this despite learning to play several griot instruments and being taken in my a griot family. His lack of success he attributed to “his conspicuously foreign appearance” and his “attempts to remain a disinterested observer.”

(3) While the dictionary definitions of “tribe” and “ethnic group” do not vary greatly it must be recognized that words not only carry denotative meanings, but connotative meanings as well. The word “tribe” has connotations of being primitive while the term “ethnic group” does not. For a discussion of how words can represent privilege and domination see the article “Why Are White People Ex-Pats When the Rest of Us Are Immigrants?” http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/mar/13/white-people-expats-immigrants-migration

Drummer’s Hands

August 6, 2014

Drummer's Hands

Drummer’s Hands

 

Shake hands now and come

Out conjuring.

                 -Ishmael Reed

Hands are a very important part of the human body. It is with our hands that we experience the world. The sense of touch is most intimately associated with the hands and we like to use our hands to touch things – to feel their textures, their temperature, their weight, their density. There is a reason for that. Fingers are some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body and thus are the richest source of tactile feedback.

The hands also have the greatest positioning capability of the body which allows us to use the hand not only to perceive the world that is within our reach, but to also manipulate the world around us. This is due to the skeletal structure of the hand. The skeleton of the human hand consists of 27 bones, most of which (14 bones) are the phalanges or the bones of the fingers. There are 5 bones that connect the fingers to the wrist (metacarpals) and 8 that connect the wrist to the forearm (carpals). The fixed and mobile parts of the hand adapts to various everyday tasks through the arches formed by the relationship of these bones to one another. There are longitudinal arches (the rays formed by the finger bones and their associated metacarpal bones), transverse arches (formed by the carpal bones and distal ends of the metacarpal bones), and oblique arches (between the thumb and four fingers). 1

 Hands are particularly important to those who play traditional drums because it is the hands that bring out the sound of the drum, even when that hand is using a stick. Yet there is no one particular type of hand that is more suited to the drum than any other. A drummer’s fingers may be long and thin or short and thick; their palm can be enlarged by callouses or smooth like a baby’s skin; they may be hard or supple; they may be old or they may be young. And just like people, no two drummers will have the same hand. This is one of the things that makes a drummer’s hands special. As special as a drummer’s hands are, they are often an unnoticed aspect of drumming.

Like other paired organs, (eyes, feet, legs), each hand is dominantly controlled by the opposing brain hemisphere, so that handedness, or the preferred hand choice for single-handed activities such as writing with a pencil, reflects individual brain functioning. Handedness, ones preferred hand choice, is very significant in drumming. Also ones handedness affects which hand plays the dominant role, especially when you are first learning. But to be an effective drummer you have to develop a balance between the hands, so that your weak hand becomes as strong as your dominant hand, and so the sounds between the two hands match. This is one of the first steps towards developing the balance, or equilibration that drummers need to have. As Sule Greg Wilson wrote in The Drummer’s Path, “If both your hands work, then so do both sides of the brain.”2 The balance between the hands reflects the balance between lobes of the brain, which reflects ones deeper connection to/understanding of rhythm and time. It is also an important part of the journey towards balance between the physical, the mental and the spiritual.

In discussing drums, percussionist Rocky Maffit said ”under knowing hands they [drums] are capable of complexity, subtlety, and power.”3 The particular phrasing of this comment is significant. It is the hands that bring out the drum’s range of expression because the hands are “knowing.” The idea that the hands of the drummer possess a particular body of knowledge that allows them to bring out the voice of the drum is an insightful description. An important part of a drummer’s training involves developing the hand -its sense of touch, the shape of its arches, its movement through space – so that it can make the drum talk.

In his song Grandma’s Hands Bill Withers sings about the many skills that were expressed through his Grandma’s hands. In one line he says: “Grandma’s hands played the tambourine so well.”4 It was not the Grandmother, but her hands that held the knowledge of how to make the tambourine sing.

A drummer’s trained hands are a wonder to behold. “The drummer’s hands stroke, dart and weave, like a boxer’s hands.” A drummer’s hands can bring out the full expressiveness of the drum. A true drummer understands that drums are not just struck, but that they can also be tapped, snapped, brushed, rubbed, and stroked and they are able to use their hands to caress the full range of tones and slaps from the skin on the drum. It is the hands of the drummer that enables drums to communicate, to “rustle, ripple, march, dance, bend, and buzz.“ A drummer’s hands can make “drums laugh, but can also” make them “give voice to tears.” A drummer can use a rubbed finger to make a drum moan, use a slap to make the drum shout or use a caress to make the drum whisper or tell secrets. It is through the hands of the drummer that drums become the life of the party, whether providing the rhythm for a carnival strut, a slow burial pulse, or for a rebellion.5

It is not only playing rhythms, the combinations of tones and slaps. A drummer’s “knowing hands” are not only skilled in the production of sound. They also understand how to manipulate the energy of the sound. The drummer knows how to either send the sound energy through the body of the drum and into the earth, or pull the sound energy from the drum and send it out to the heavens.

In the hands of a trained drummer, the drum communicates. On the earthly plane the drum is part of a community and shares the values, emotions, and aspirations of its community and it is able to communicate aspects of that community’s history. So traditionally speaking, the drum is the voice of the community in which it is a member. To say a drum is a member of the community is to recognize the drum as a being. After all each drum has a body, and each body has a particular shape and size. And once the skin is attached a drum has a head. But it is the drummer’s hands that bring out the drum’s voice. It is when the human skin of the hand comes together with the skin of the drum head, whether that is cow, goat, lizard or other, that the drum is brought to life and is able to share its message with the community.

But the drum is also a spiritual entity and is a vehicle of communication between the world of humans and the world of spirits. But whether it is being played for earthly or spiritual purposes, traditional drumming is not about the drummer. The drummer is merely the vehicle that the message comes through. To play traditional drums, one’s hands become part of the drum and one’s being the extension of the drum. The drummer is a conduit for the passage of the rhythmic energy between the corporeal and spiritual planes.

In order to do this the drummer must take the time to develop that most tactilely sensitive part of the body – the hand. The full preparation of a drummer’s hands is not only a physical undertaking. It must also encompass the mental and the spiritual for a drummer’s hands must be an extension of the brain and of the heart. To be a traditional drummer means that one is engaged in developing “the head, the hand and the heart.” This is an essential, though often overlooked part of drumming.

Sabar hands

Hands of Sing Sing Faye

Notes

1. General information about the structure of the hand from Wikipedia entry on Hand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand)

2. Sule Greg Wilson, The Drummer’ Path, 40. Additional information about the relationship between the hand and the brain from Hand Movements by J. Randall Flanagan and Roland S. Johansson (http://psyc.queensu.ca/~flanagan/papers/FlaJoh_EHB_02.pdf),

3. Rocky Maffit, Rhythm & Beauty, the Art of Percussion, 65

4. Bill Withers, “Grandma’s Hands” on Just As I Am, 1971

5. excerpts from Rocky Maffit, Rhythm & Beauty, the Art of Percussion, 45, 62 & 63

This has been a somewhat quiet but constructive year for the Géwël Tradition Project. The focus has been on using the materials from the archives to present ngéwël history and culture and the work of the project to the public through presentations, publications and an increased on-line presence. Our biggest accomplishments were:

March 2013

Géwël Tradition Project opened a Face Book Page

Gewel FB Page

Géwël Tradition Project FB Page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Géwël-Tradition-Project/593776840649951

April 2013

Moustapha Faye was the Visiting Scholar and Artist in Residence for the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston, MA. Moustapha’s fourth residency for the Black Studies Program was a huge success.

Moustapha Faye teaching dance class.

Moustapha Faye teaching dance class at Suffolk University.

Spring 2013

The Géwël Tradition Project: Supporting A Living Tradition

An article on the Géwël Tradition Project was published in the Spring issue of African Arts Magazine.

African Arts magazine cover

African Arts magazine cover

http://www.mitpressjournals.org/action/showMultipleAbstracts?doi=10.1162%2FAFAR_a_00045&href=%2Ftoc%2Fafar%2F46%2F1&title=African+Arts+-+Volume+46%2C+Issue+1+-+Spring+2013

October 2013

Dancing Through Time and Space: African Dance and the Géwël Tradition of Senegal at Suffolk University

An article on the dance class that the Project has taught at Suffolk University since 2005 was published in the Journal of Pan African Studies, an on-line journal.

Journal of Pan African Studies Cover

Journal of Pan African Studies Cover

http://www.jpanafrican.com/docs/vol6no5/6.5-Bellinger.pdf

The Géwël Tradition Project would like to wish everyone a prosperous and productive New Year! May we all continue to learn from and share with each other. And int hat spirit we invite you to continue to visit the Géwël Tradition Project’s blog and Facebook page. We also invite you to read the articles about the project in the publications above, and please let share your comments on either the blog or Facebook page. Thank you for your continued support in 2014.

Remembering the Elders

January 1, 2014

The child looks everywhere and often sees nought; but the old man sitting on the ground sees everything.    –Wolof

One of the most important natural resources that a community has is its elders. It is said that a long life brings wisdom. An elder is a repository for a lifetime of learning and experience as well as for the wisdom gained from his or her elders. So a physically long life, by linking to previous generations adds cultural, historical and spiritual length to a physically long life. And because during their lifetime elders have welcomed many when they entered the world and have bid farewell to many who have departed, elders know their communities. This is why they are and should be revered. To gain knowledge from an elder, to have the opportunity to listen to or converse with an elder, and take in the wisdom that such an exchange will bring, is a special thing. But it is an even greater blessing when one can sit in the shadow of an elder, even if only for a brief time. To share space with an elder during moments of quiet reflection, to feel the wake of their energy, amassed over their lifetime, washing over you, and through you, informing you and enriching you with its power. This is special. As we start the new year The Géwël Tradition Project would like to remember all of the elders who have made a transition from this plane, especially Elhadji Moussa Faye and Nelson Madiba Mandela.

Elhadji Moussa Faye

Elhadji Moussa Faye

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

A parent dies in the body, but not in the minds of the children.  –Ganda

 

In addition to teaching university students during his time as Artist in Residence, Moustapha has also shared the power and joy of the Sing Sing Experience with a variety of young people in the Greater Boston area. These are a few photos of Moustapha at work.

Cambridge School of Weston, Weston, MA

Moustapha teaching drums to students at the Cambridge School of Weston.

Moustapha teaching drums to students at the Cambridge School of Weston.

Moustapha teaching drums to students at the Cambridge School of Weston.

Moustapha teaching drums to students at the Cambridge School of Weston.

Students at the Cambridge School of Weston in sabar drum class.

Students at the Cambridge School of Weston in sabar drum class.

Students at the Cambridge School of Weston in sabar drum class.

Students at the Cambridge School of Weston in sabar drum class.

The Gold School, Brockton, MA

Moustapha and students at the Gold School.

Moustapha and students at the Gold School.

Students at the Gold School.

Moustapha and students at the Gold School.

Students at the Gold School.

Moustaph and students at the Gold School.

Students at the Gold School.

Students at the Gold School.

Whether taking a drum class or a dance class with Moustapha, the students all had a wonderful experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moustapha Faye has been Artist in Residence and Instructor for the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University in Boston during the month of April. The residency was established through a partnership between the Black Studies Program and the Géwël Traditon Project (see previous post for a history of this relationship). Below are some photos of the Moustapha and his class.

Moustapha teaching students in the saber dance class.

Moustapha teaching students in the sabar dance class.

Moustapha leading students in the saber dance class.

Moustapha leading students in the sabar dance class.

Students in the saber dance class.

Students in the sabar dance class.

Students in the saber dance class.

Students in the sabar dance class.

Students in the saber dance class prepare to present what they learned.

Students in the sabar dance class prepare to present what they learned.

Moustapha preparing students to present what they learned.

Moustapha preparing students to present what they learned.

Sabar dance class 2013

Sabar dance class 2013

 

2001

Sabar Dance Workshop, organized by Kevin King and Moustapha Faye,

offered in Senegal at the Suffolk University Dakar Campus. (Spring 2001)

Students dance at first sabar dance workshop, Suffolk University Dakar Campus.

Students dance at first sabar dance workshop, Suffolk University Dakar Campus.

Dance teacher and drummers Moustapha Faye and Malick Ngom (front) with  Sipho Bellinger and Nailah Randall Bellinger, after class.

Dance teacher Aisatou and drummers Moustapha Faye and Malick Ngom (front) with Sipho Bellinger and Nailah Randall Bellinger, after class.

2002

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, organized and taught by

Professor Robert A. Bellinger, Kevin King and Moustapha Faye, first offered

for academic credit at the Suffolk University Dakar Campus. (August 2002)

Suffolk students in sabar dance class in Dakar.

Suffolk students in sabar dance class in Dakar.

(l-r) Malick Ngom, Doudou Faye, Kevin King, Moustapha Faye and Suffolk students taking drum class in Dakar.

(l-r) Malick Ngom, Doudou Faye, Kevin King, Moustapha Faye and Suffolk students taking drum class in Dakar.

2003

Sabar Dance Workshop, organized by Professor Robert A. Bellinger and

taught by Lamine Touré, presented by the Collection of African American Literature and the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Fall 2003)

2004

Sabar Dance Workshop, organized by Professor Robert A. Bellinger and

taught by Lamine Touré, presented by the Collection of African American Literature and the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Fall 2004)

2005

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, taught by Professor Robert

A. Bellinger and Lamine Touré, first offered for academic credit by the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Spring 2005)

2006

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, taught by Professor Robert

A. Bellinger and Lamine Touré, offered for academic credit by the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Spring 2006)

Suffolk students presenting the dances they learned in class.

Suffolk students presenting the dances they learned in class.

2007

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, taught by Professor Robert

A. Bellinger and Lamine Touré, offered for academic credit by the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Spring 2007)

2008

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, taught by Professor Robert

A. Bellinger and Lamine Touré, offered for academic credit by the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Spring 2008)

Lamine Touré teaching sabar dace class at Suffolk.

Lamine Touré teaching sabar dace class at Suffolk.

Sing Sing Faye, Moustapha Faye, Aziz Faye and Malick Ngom are

Suffolk University Distinguished Visiting Scholars and Artists in Residence for the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (April 2008)

Sing Sing at Suffolk

img_0270

Aziz and Lamine Diallo explaining the sabar drum

Aziz and Lamine Diallo explaining the sabar drum

2009

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, taught by Professor Robert

A. Bellinger and Moustapha Faye with Aziz Faye and Malick Ngom, offered

for academic credit at the Suffolk University Boston Campus. (Fall 2009)

Moustapha Faye, Aziz Faye and Malick Ngom are Suffolk University Distinguished Visiting Scholars and Artists in Residence for the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (October – December 2009)

Celebrate Senegal, a conference on the sabar tradition of Senegal,

presented through lectures, films, demonstrations, classes, workshops and

performances is presented by the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (October -December 2009)

Moustapha (center) with Malick (right) and Kimani (left).

Moustapha (center) with Malick (right) and Kimani (left).

Aziz leads the dancers from the dance class.

Aziz leads the dancers from the dance class. (Prestige Image)

Before the show.

Before the show. (Photo by Ken Martin)

Celebrate Senegal Conference Poster

Celebrate Senegal Conference Poster

2011

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, taught by Professor Robert A. Bellinger offered for academic credit by the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Spring 2011)

Suffolk students dancing sabar in class.

Suffolk students dancing sabar in class.

 Suffolk Student dancing sabar in class.


Suffolk Student dancing sabar in class.

Suffolk Student dancing sabar in class.

Suffolk Student dancing sabar in class.

2012

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, taught by Professor Robert

A. Bellinger and Moustapha Faye with Nogaye Ngom and Malick Ngom, offered for academic credit by the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Spring 2012)

Moustapha Faye, Nogaye Ngom and Malick Ngom are Artists in Residence for the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (October -December 2009)

Moustapha Faye.

Nogaye teaching Suffolk University students

Nogaye teaching Suffolk University students at the Jeanette Neil Dance Studio.

Moustapha instructing students in sabar drumming.

Moustapha instructing students in sabar drumming in the Donahue Building, Suffolk University.

Pape Faye, Malick Ngom and Moustapha Faye.

Pape Faye, Malick Ngom and Moustapha Faye.

2013

Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal, taught by Professor Robert

A. Bellinger and Moustapha Faye, offered for academic credit by the Black Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (Spring 2013)

Moustapha Faye is Artist in Residence for the Suffolk University Black

Studies Program at Suffolk University, Boston. (October – December 2009)

Moustapha Faye teaching dance to students at Suffolk University.

Moustapha Faye teaching dance to students at Suffolk University.

Moustapha Faye preparing dance students for Celebration of Senegal.

Moustapha Faye preparing dance students for Celebration of Senegal.

Abdoulaye Bậll

Abdoulaye Bậll

A kind spirit with a gentle, caring heart,

with an infectious laugh that reflected the joy he found in life,

and a voice that embodied the drums that he loved so much.

His presence will be missed but he will remain in our collective memories.

Abdoulaye Bậll and Moustapha Faye

Abdoulaye Bậll and Moustapha Faye

Abdoulaye Bậll

Abdoulaye Bậll

Abdoulaye Bậll

(front l-r) Abdoulaye Bậll, Vieux Sing Faye, Moussa DIang, Moustapha Faye. (back row l-r) Lamine Faye, Bakari Diom, El Hadji Moussa Faye, Papa Chas Faye ad Isma Aw.

This i a video of the dance class that Nogaye Ngom taught to the students who were enrolled in the class Sabar: The Music and Dance of Senegal atSsuffolk University during the month of April 2012. Nogaye created choreography to a bakk that was played by her uncle Moustapha Faye and brother Malick Ngom. The choreography/bakk while based on traditional sabar dance movements also incorporated some of the most recent popular dances in Senegal such as yousa representing the fact that sabar is a living art form that is both traditional and modern at the same time.

Stay tuned for more videos soon.

On Sunday, April 29 Moustapha, Nogaye and Malick, along with Pape Faye, played a sabar party at Teranga Restaurant in Boston’s South End. There were quite a few people who came for the party and quite a few who came for the food and had the extra benefit of the party. At any rate, bringing sabar drums to a Senegalese restaurant was a natural combination that added the a fitting ambiance.

Nogaye and Malick relax before the party.

Nogaye and Malick relax before the party.

Moustapha plays outside of Teranga.

Moustapha plays outside of Teranga.

Mloustapha and Pape Faye play outside of Teranga.

Mloustapha and Pape Faye play outside of Teranga.

Sarah joins the drummers.

Sarah joins the drummers.

Playing at Teranga.

Playing at Teranga.

Marie-Claude, owner of Teranga Restaurant, dances to the rhytms.

Marie-Claude, owner of Teranga Restaurant, dances to the rhytms.

Dancing to the drums.

Dancing to the drums.

Nogaye dancing at Teranga.

Nogaye dancing at Teranga.

Sarah dances to the sabar drums.

Sarah dances to the sabar drums.

Marie-Claude takes time to dance.

Marie-Claude takes time to dance.

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