Moustapha plays Tagumbar on nder.

Moustapha plays Tagumbar on nder.

On Friday evening, November 20, 2009 the members of the Faye or Sing Sing Family – Moustapha Faye, Aziz Faye and Malick Ngom – gave a performance of the Sing Sing Géwël Tradition in Suffolk University’s C. Walsh Theater. The theater was filled with approximately 200 people from Suffolk University and  the Greater Boston area who came out to celebrate Senegal and its most important cultural traditions. The audience, from babies held by parents to folks with 60+ years, was reflective of the wide range of people that the members of the Sing Sing Family interacted with during their residency as Distinguished Visiting Scholars at Suffolk. There were the middle school students from the Young Achievers School in Mattapan where they taught weekly drum classes; there were secondary school students from the Gold’s School in Brockton who, during the evening, mounted the stage to demonstrate what they had learned from the Fayes; members of the Suffolk African Students Association; students, staff and faculty from the Suffolk University community; adults who attended the various sabar dance classes the Faye family taught in Cambridge; members of the local Senegalese community who wanted to hear rhythms from home; and of course, Suffolk students from the sabar dance class taught at the university. Over the next two hours this wide range of people who came to a concert were transformed into a community taking part in a celebration.

Once Moustapha Faye struck the opening notes of Tagumbar on the nder from the back of the theater, the musicians/dancers/performers – géwëls, held the complete attention of the audience. As Moustapha played he inched his way toward the stage. Once he mounted the stage Aziz Faye played a solo on the cól, after which they moved into Ya Ñu Moom and the performance was officially launched. The first half of the show presented some rhythms that are specific to the Faye family tradition (a Bakk, Ndaw Rabin) and some that were popular in the sabar dance tradition (Tuss, Kaolack, Baar Mbaye). What they established during the first set was the wide range of skills each possessed as drummers, dancers and commentators, and the tight bond that existed between them.

After a brief intermission the Faye family returned with new costumes of chia pants and matching top. They started the second half of the show with a modern creation – Sound Relax – which uses the ñarri loxo, or two hand technique. The bulk of the second half of the show involved rhythms that are staples at sabar parties in Senegal (Ceebu Jën, Ardine, and Farwujar), and provided the perfect foundation for the Faye family to interact with the audience and transform the space from a theater to a community space, and the people from audience to participants. This was most noticeable on Ceebu Jën, where many members of the audience entered the circle that formed at the from of the stage (or even mounted the stage) to dance to the infectious rhythm. After the high energy playing and dancing Moustapha, Aziz and Malik demonstrated their skills as rappers and commentators with Tassu, an old Senegalese speaking style that employs a very rhythmic use of language to make commentary. They closed the concert with Ndeup, a rhythm used in healing ceremonies to restore balance to individuals and communities.

The final stop on our voyage to Senegal was a reception featuring food from the Teranga Senegalese Restaurant in Boston’s South End. The reception gave people the opportunity to speak with the performers, renew old friendships, make new acquaintances, and bask in the warm afterglow of a shared experience, while refreshing themselves with the wonderful food Teranga prepared – fish and vegetarian fatayas, chicken brochettes, salad and bissap.

Through music, dance, food and interchange, the evening was truly a Celebration of Senegal. The evening was also a celebration of the release of Moustapha Faye’s first CD – Galan u Sabar ci Ngéwël. (presently available throught he Géwël Traditon Project, but soon available on line as well).

[The following photos are by R. Sipho Bellinger unless otherwise indicated]

Prof. Bellinger greets students at the Sing Sing Tradition concert.

Prof. Bellinger greets students at the Sing Sing Tradition concert. (photo by Ken Martin)

Lamine Diallo greets students at Sing Sing Tradition concert.

Lamine Diallo greets students at Sing Sing Tradition concert. (Photo by Ken Martin)

Before the show.

Before the show. (photo by Ken Martin)

Prof. Robert Sipho Bellinger introduces the Sing Sing Tradition concert.

Prof. Robert Sipho Bellinger introduces the Sing Sing Tradition concert. (photo by Ken Martin)

Moustapha plays Tagumbar.

Moustapha plays Tagumbar. (photo by Ken Martin)

Aziz Faye playing cóls.

Aziz Faye playing cóls.
Malick Ngom mbalax on mbungmbung.

Malick Ngom mbalax on mbungmbung.

Malick, Aziz and Moustapha.

Malick, Aziz and Moustapha.

Aziz Faye dances.

Aziz Faye dances.

Malick, Moustapha and Aziz create a rhythmic experience.

Malick, Moustapha and Aziz create a rhythmic experience.

Moustapha demonstrates some dance steps.

Moustapha demonstrates some dance steps. (photo by Ken Martin)

Malick breaks it down.

Malick breaks it down.

Moustapha and Ziyadah work Ceebu Jën.

Moustapha and Ziyadah work Ceebu Jën.

Dancers from the Gold School demonstrate their sabar steps.

Dancers from the Gold School demonstrate their sabar steps.

Malick dances as Moustapha raps Tassu.

Malick dances as Moustapha raps Tassu.

People head to the reception.

People head to the reception. (photo by Ken Martin)

Moustapha Faye, Marie-Claude Mendy (owner of Teranga) and Prof. Bellinger.

Moustapha Faye, Marie-Claude Mendy (owner of Teranga) and Prof. Bellinger. (photo by Ken Martin)

KAAY FI VIDEO CLIPS

December 10, 2009

On October 16, the film Kaay Fi was shown at Suffolk University as part of the Celebrate Senegal program. Zapo, the director of the film was in residence at Suffolk University under the Collection of African American Literature’s Writer’s Forum. Her residency was a compliment to the Distinguished Visiting Scholar residency of the Faye family, and the film Kaay Fi which was shown for the first time in the United States has the Faye family as a focus. The following clips from that film will give those who were unable to attend the opportunity to experience the film and the Géwël tradition. Enjoy!

SING SING ON VIDEO

December 8, 2009

Here are a couple of video clips from some of the presentations that Moustapha, Malick and Aziz have made during their residency as Distinguished Visiting Scholars at Suffolk University.

The Museum of Fine Arts. Boston, MA.


http://www.vimeo.com/8049069

Suffolk University World Music Class


http://www.vimeo.com/8049479