I recently watched the Guinea Masters at Habesha Lounge (which is a terrible venue for such impressive talent). The highlight for me was Takosaba and Bolokonondo – and Simbo danced and danced and danced.

These rhythms are very important to the Mande people from West Africa. Traditionally Dundunbas were played for the rites of passage of young men who proved their strength and bravery by standing up to increasingly harder blows from whips. The rite is now, for the most part, a series of prescribed movements and dance to mind-bending off-time rhythm. Truly beautiful to watch and hear.

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jembe masters

July 13, 2009

If you were at Afrofest on Sunday, you probably heard Mohamed Diaby’s Manding Foli Kan Don on the small stage (!) on the north-west part of the park. They were so hot there was fire on the stage. Mohamed had a few guests with him from Guinea – Cobra, Mito, Simbo and Soumah. Even Amadou and Amara joined in for a rhythm.

These drummers are in Toronto this week for a Guinea-style performance on Friday July 17. Want to hear what the jembe is supposed to sound like? Catch ’em if you can.