Géwël in Boston

January 15, 2010

Prof. Robert Bellinger and Lamine Toure.

Prof. Robert Bellinger and Lamine Toure. (Prestige Image)

The two months of the Faye family residency as Distinguished Visiting Scholars at Suffolk University were amazing. Along with the Géwël Tradition Project the members of the Faye family – Moustapha Faye, Aziz Faye and Malick Ngom – introduced the Suffolk University community to the saber tradition of the Sing Sing Géwël family through classes, presentations, lectures, films and performances. Additionally, they gave classes, workshops, presentations and performances throughout the greater Boston area. In some instances they provided people with their first exposure to saber drum and dance. But in quite a few cases, people came out because they were already familiar with saber. And in the Boston area, they most likely gained their familiarity from Lamine Toure or a member of his family – Chiekh Ngom, Yeumougor “Paa” Seck, and Babacar “Moha” Seck.  They are based in the Boston/Cambridge area and through their classes in saber dance and drum, and their traditional and popular performances, they have created and maintain a saber presence here. Since 2002 Lamine Toure has been resident artist in the ethnomusicology department at MIT where he is founder and, along with Patricia Tang, co-director of Rambax MIT, a student saber ensemble. Lamine is also the leader of the local mbalax band Group Saloum.  Lamine, and the other members of the Mbayène family, have allowed people to experience the power and beauty of saber drum and dance and to learn about the géwël tradition.

The sustained presence of Lamine Toure and the Mbayène family was enhanced by Moustapha Faye and the Sing Sing family’s visit; the Faye family’s residency was given additional depth by the presence of Lamine’s family. After all, both families are géwël. And in addition to their shared géwëlness, members of the two families know each other from Senegal. It was an incredible experience to have members of two of the most significant géwël families in Senegal here in the Boston area together. There was strong sabar energy in the air. The wonderfulness of this was illustrated in the various collaborations that took place. This includes Paa Seck inviting Aziz Faye to teach class during his regular class time; members of the Faye family sitting in with Group Saloum at the Beehive; Lamine Toure inviting Moustapha Faye to take over teaching one of his drum classes; the Faye family taking part in Rambax MIT’s end of semester presentation; Lamine Toure joining the Faye family in the end of semester Celebration of Senegal at Suffolk University. If you came to any of these or the many other sabar events, you understand the energy that was generated. If you were not able to attend, there are a few photographs and video clips from some of the presentations posted below.

The Géwël Tradition Project is especially grateful to Lamine Toure for all of his support during the Faye family residency, particularly the teranga that he and Patricia gave. The Project would also like to extend thanks to Chiekh Ngom, Paa Seck, and Moha Seck for all their sharing. Lastly, the Project wants to thank all of you who support the Géwël tradition by coming out to events, taking classes, buying CDs, and reading the Géwël Tradition Blog.

Moustapha Faye plays with Lamine toure and Group Saloum, at the Beehive.

Moustapha Faye plays with Lamine toure and Group Saloum, at the Beehive.

Aziz Faye dances to Group Saloum at the Beehive.

Aziz Faye dances to Group Saloum at the Beehive.

Malick Ngom and Moustapha Faye play with Group Saloum at the Beehive.

Malick Ngom and Moustapha Faye play with Group Saloum at the Beehive.

WITH RAMBAX MIT, December 4, 2009

Lamine Toure with Rambax MIT.

Lamine Toure with Rambax MIT.

Aziz Faye, Moha Seck and Moustapha Faye play together.

Aziz Faye, Moha Seck and Moustapha Faye play together.

Paa Seck and Aziz Faye dance together.

Paa Seck and Aziz Faye dance together.

Rambax MIT finale.

Rambax MIT finale.


CELEBRATION OF SENEGAL,  December 10, 2009.

Moustapha Faye, Kimani Lumsden, Lamine Toure and Malick Ngom play.

Moustapha Faye, Kimani Lumsden, Lamine Toure and Malick Ngom play.

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The following photographs of the Celebration of Senegal are from Kamisa Barry of Prestige Image (www.prestigeimaage.com).

Moustapha leads the Young Achiever Drummers

Moustapha leads the Young Achiever Drummers. (Prestige Image)

Aziz leads the dancers from the dance class.

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

Dance class students.

Dance class students. (Prestige Image)

Aziz leads the Suffolk dance class students.

Aziz leads the Suffolk dance class students. (Prestige Image)

Moustapha Faye, Kimani Lumsden, Lamine Toure and Malick Ngom play for dancers.

Moustapha Faye, Kimani Lumsden, Lamine Toure and Malick Ngom play for dancers. (Prestige Image)

Sabar Drums.

Sabar Drums.

The final presentation of the Faye family 2009 Distinguished Visiting Scholar Residency at Suffolk University was the Celebration of Senegal held in the Ridgeway Gymnasium at 12:00 noon on December 10.

Before the program opened, Kamisa Barry and Ousman Ba, from Senegalese Organization of Boston and Gracechildren, made a request for support for Isha, a 6 year old Senegalese girl who was badly burned in a house fire. She is in Boston for the surgeries she needs and funds are needed for her and her fathers housing while they are here. But she also needs clothes, toys, and school supplies. And most importantly she needs support. Donations for Isha can be made online at: http://www.gracechildren.org/

The afternoon’s program began with a brief introduction in Wolof by Stevan Redojev, who had taken the Wolof class offered by Lamine Diallo during the semester. He was followed by a rousing drum presentation by the middle school students from the Young Achievers Charter School. They flawlessly played the two compositions they had studied with Moustapha, Aziz and Malick.

Lastly, the students from the Sabar Dance Class (BLKST 263/THETR 263) took center stage. The young women wearing brightly colored beccós, (skirts that dancers wear) and the young men wearing outfits of African fabrics, presented the dances they learned during the semester. Led by Aziz Faye the students listened closely to the drums as they enthusiastically danced through the steps of Kaolack, Ñaari Gorong and Ceebu Jën to the applause of those who attended. Moustapha and Malick were joined by Lamine Touré and Kimani Lumsden, teacher of the Young Achiever School students, in providing the rhythms for the dancers.

Moustapha leads Young Acievers School students.

Moustapha leads Young Acievers School students.

Moustapha leads the Young Achiever School students in a rhythm.

Moustapha leads the Young Achiever School students in a rhythm.

Young Achievers student playing sabar.

Young Achievers student playing sabar.

Dance students prepare to begin.

Dance students prepare to begin.

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

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

Aziz leads dance students in choreography.

Aziz leads dance students in choreography.

Dance students present choreography.

Dance students present choreography.

Students dance to the rhythms.

Students dance to the rhythms.

Lamine Toure joins the drummers.

Lamine Toure joins the drummers.

Aziz Faye demonstrates some dance moves.

Aziz Faye demonstrates some dance moves.

Happy New Year!!

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!!

The Géwël Tradition Project would like to wish all those who visit this blog a wonderful, fulfilling New Year. Thank you all for your support.

I would also like to thank all of those who extended themselves to Moustapha Faye, Aziz Faye and Malick Ngom while they were here in the Boston area. Thank you for your sharing, whether it was in the form of  attending the programs we gave, taking classes we offered, inviting us to dinner, just saying hello and being welcoming, or by reading the Géwël Tradition blog. It is all greatly appreciated by Moustapha, Aziz, Malick and me. Thank you.

Happy New Year from us all.

Robert Sipho Bellinger

Director, Géwël Tradition Project