Kaay Fi (10/16)

October 26, 2009

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In support of the Faye family’s residency at Suffolk University, Zapo, film maker from Paris, France is in residence as well. Her residency is sponsored by the Collection of African American Literature’s Writer’s Forum, a program that brings writer’s, film makers and others whose work adds to the study of African American (and African) literature. A classical dancer for twenty years, Zapo has transfered her passion for dance to film and has been documenting dance and cultural traditions in West Africa for the past decade.

On The 16th of October Zapo presented the United States premier of her film Kaay Fi a documentary of the sabar tradition of the Faye or Sing Sing family. The film flows around the preparations for a  tànnibéér or sabar party, but its presentation of this event includes footage of many aspects of the géwël tradition including géwël children learning to play the various rhythms on the sabar drums, a tailor preparing the outfits for the group to wear at the sabar party, and the magnificent playing and dancing by members of the Faye family. Those in attendance enjoyed the journey through the Medina community that the film provided. They were further enthused by the brief sabar drum demonstration by Moustapha Faye, Aziz Faye and Malick Ngom that followed the film.

For three years, Zapo Babilée, dancer and choreographer, went to Dakar, Senegal to film the dances of Sabar. Zapo said the following about her work on the film:

Since my first stay in Senegal I have been received in the families. I like this form of communal life where all generations live together. It is generally in the courtyard of each house that one lives; there is an unceasing and rather happy buzz. . . At the Faye’s home I felt like I was in my own family. I took the time to observe, to feel, to try to understand before filming. I don’t place my view as that of an ethnologist. I want to give a feel rather than to try to show; to try to touch the spectator rather than to teach to him.


Moustapha Faye

Moustapha Faye in the film Kaay Fi

Sing Sing at beach

Playing at the beach (scene from Kaay Fi)


Moustapha Faye plays with his father Vieux Sing Faye (scene from Kaay Fi)

Drummers from the Sing Sing family play.

Sing Sing drummers playing in family compound.

Ndeye Thioni dances at sabar party

Ndeye Thioni dances at sabar party while Moustapha Faye plays.

Dancer at a sabar party.

Dancer at a sabar party.

Photos from US Preview of Kaay Fi

Zapo Babilée


At screening of film Kaay Fi

(l-r) Aziz, Malick and Moustapha play at screening of Kaay Fi.

Moustapha Faye

Moustapha Faye

Aziz Faye

Aziz Faye

Malick Ngom

Malick Ngom

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