African Sanké

I went to a concert on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 8:00 PM-9:45PM performed by the African drumming and dance group African Sanké. They produced a show called The Woman Who Couldn’t Find Happiness.

The leader of the African Sanké group is Aboubacar Sidick Camara, who lives in Adams Center here at OU with his wife who is a professor. He will begin teaching drumming classes next semester. He is from West Africa and lived in both Guinea and Senegal. The performance he used different styles of music from Guinea.

The performance had a romantic plot to it, but the plot was somewhat hard to follow as there seemed to be little or no conflict present in it. The plot went something like this: a man falls for a woman who is washing something in the river. He helps her carry this something in her basket back to village and gets her to fall for him. He then tells his friend about who tries to teach him some dance. Then there was a celebratory dance followed by another sequence with the friend teaching him dance moves. Then, while spending time with the woman, two elders try to break the relationship up by scolding them, but they did not even seem to notice. Then the village has another celebratory dance. This is all that I could tell happened.

The drumming in this production had very complex rhythms. It was amazing how Aboubacar Camara was playing his drum. I could not tell if his palms were actually hitting the drum or he was hitting it with his wrist. The drumming was fast and energetic.

The dancing in this program involved the dancers doing a lot of swinging motions with their arms and for the male lead, his head. The dance towards the end with the two guys and the poles reminded me of Fred Astaire. The majority of the dancing was more figurative than this example though. At one point they had the main male and his friend do back flips on the stage and walk on their hands. This was interesting. Most of the dancing was not as demanding as this tough. There was lots of swaying.

This program was very interesting. The cultural meaning portrayed by some elements of the production, such as the costumes, were lost on me, but I had a great experience anyway, and gained appreciation of Guinean music.


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