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Drums! Dancing! Free Concert and Master Class by Moussa Diabate and the Djely Kunda West African Drum and Dance Company, October 16

Expanding Your Horizons Brown Bag Concert Series kicks off 2013-14 season at Meadows

by Mackenzie Ferch

Moussa Diabate via

The Owen Arts Center’s Taubman Atrium will be filled with the beats of African drumming and dancing at noon on October 16 when international performer Moussa Diabate and the Djely Kunda West African Drum and Dance Company take the stage for a free concert. The public is also invited to stay after the concert for a free master drumming class at 1 p.m.

The performance is part of the Expanding Your Horizons Brown Bag Concert Series at Meadows, launched in 2007 by Jamal Mohamed, director of the SMU Meadows World Music Ensemble, and former Division of Music chair Nancy Cochran. The series presents two concerts per semester and has showcased both local artists and world class performers from all over the globe, including the Tuvan throat-singing group Alash, the Russian folk duo Kalinka and percussionists from India. “Our idea was to expose Meadows students to the music and dance of other cultures,” Mohamed said. “I think it’s important for students to understand and appreciate the traditions of other cultures as well as their own.”

Mohamed noted that Moussa Diabate not only possesses a unique cultural background and perspective, but has an artistic resumé – in terms of both music and dance – that is both varied and impressive. Diabate traces his lineage to the Malinke people of Guinea, West Africa. He was taught the dance, music, storytelling, history and mythology of West Africa by his father, Komba Ansou Diabate, the “Great Griot of Guinea,” and by his mother, one of the first leading dancers with Les Ballets Africains.

A master musician, drummer and dancer, Moussa Diabate served as artistic director for the National Ballet Silimbo of Senegal, danced with the National Ballet of Guinea (Africa), performed on Broadway and, since 1987, has choreographed, lectured, performed, and taught extensively in France, Japan, the U.S. and West Africa. He is currently a resident choreographer at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas.

Diabate is also the artistic director and founder of the Djely Kunda West African Dance Company, which will include dancers and musicians from Booker T. in its upcoming performance. Noting that Diabate and his group proved “a huge hit” when the series included them a few years ago, Mohamed urges SMU students, faculty, and friends to take advantage of the “high energy drumming and dancing” and investigate the cultural experience hands-on, for themselves, during the lunchtime brown bag event.

For more information on Moussa Diabate and the Djely Kunda West African Dance Company, and for details regarding their upcoming performance at SMU, visit event listing and

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