By Dana Albon
POUGHKEEPSIE - Filling the Poughkeepsie Public Library with vibrant and enthusiastic music on Saturday, February 2, 2013 was the Fakoli Dance and Drum Group. Performing to over fifty local residents, Amadou Diallo and Moustapha Diedhiounot performed lively melodies on an assortment of instruments from their native Senegal, West Africa.
In West Africa drumming is used not only for musical entertainment, but also as a means of communication. The djembe drum, as illustrated by Moustapha Diedhiounot, is a popular choice because of the many unique sounds it can produce. Shaped like a large goblet, the djembe drum is hollow at one end and has animal membrane at the other. Because of it’s unique construction, it produces rich bass, tone, and slap tones.
"Our presentations are geared towards families, children and parents coming together to learn about a new culture," explained Toby Stover- member of the Fakoli Dance and Drum Group. Through music, the Fakoli Dance and Drum Group is able to foster communication and education about the rich West African culture, traditions, and music that they grew up in. "We believe that the way to create understanding between people of all different ethnic backgrounds is to learn about different cultures, and come together as a result," commented Stover.
Amadou Diallo, who currently teaches at The Living Seed in New Paltz, began drumming in 1985 in West Africa. Playing djembe, dun duns, and marimba, Diallo toured with several prestigious ballet groups such as The Ballet Bougarabou and The Ballet Welingara.
The Fakoli Dance and Drum duo, with over thirty years of combined experience, has brought West African music to the Mid Hudson Valley. Through their workshops, they are able to educate the community and foster a relationship with both children and adults through the music and culture of their home in Senegal.