Out of Africa
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A lot comes out of Africa: music, joy, community, dance, strength, legacy, inspiration, and more. Tonight we celebrate the music and dance of West Africa with guest artists Saeed Abbas and Balla Kouyate. West Africa has blessed the world with a wealth of culture spread near and far and affecting us all. Featured in this performance is the soso bala—the nearly 1,000-year-old traditional mallet instrument with its roots at the beginning of the Malinke Empire. Also featured are a variety of instruments from Ghana, including the palm drums, Kalango talking drum, and atenteben flute. Joining our special guests are members of the Berklee West African Drum and Dance Ensemble and a student group led by Ryan Edwards, with dance choreography by Jennifer Criss.
Saeed Abbas is percussionist from Ghana, trained in the traditional musical arts from a young age. He performs as a drummer, flutist, and balafon player. He joined the National Dance Ensemble of Ghana at 19, and has traveled the world performing for thousands of people including President Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II.
Balla Kouyate's artistry is firmly rooted in the tradition of oral history-keeping through music of the Malinke Empire. He has traveled far to share the music of his homeland, has toured extensively with West African pop artists, fronts his own group World Vision, and has recently recorded with both Yo Yo Ma and Angelique Kidjo, among many others.
Directed by Joe Galeota and Ryan Edwards and sponsored by the Office for Cultural Diversity and the Percussion Department.