Taught by dance teacher, Yamoussa Soumah, Marietou was invited at a young age to join the world famous dance company, Les Merveilles de Guinée, which was directed by the world renowned dance choreographer Mohamed Kemoko Sano.
She rapidly became one of the group’s celebrated dancers, and toured with Les Merveilles de Guinée for many years. She has also danced with Ballet Djoliba, and with Les Ballet Africans, directed by Italo Zambo.
Master drummer and musician, Ibrahimasory Fofana, also known as Soriba, is from the Susu tribe of people who reside on the coastal region of Guinea, Conakry in West Africa. Soriba’s love for traditional music began at an early age and he began studying with Ali Sylla of Les Percussions de Guinea and later with Morcire Camara of Percussion Wassa. He went on to become Director of music for Percussion Wassa in Matam, Conakry in 2005.
Soriba came to the US in 2009 and began teaching and performing traditional music of Guinea in schools, festivals and in workshops nationwide. He is the director of MORIA, West African Dance & Drum Ensemble in New Mexico. Soriba believes in sharing his traditions with all who are seeking, captivating and inspiring all, as the melodies and ancient rhythms reach the soul and call out to the spirit of the ancestors
Tata Kaya (Makaya)
Tata Kaya (Makaya) is a choreographer, dancer and drummer of Congolese traditional dance as well as contemporary dance. Born and raised in Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) Kayos is an artist who been initiated and ritually trained in the art of Congolese dance and music. His training spans over 2 decades though. He took part in various folkloric dance groups and percussion groups and realized a few pieces. Then, he was engaged in a contemporary group where he developed a new dimension of his art. These seasoned artist-musician and his talents, in traditional and contemporary forms of Congolese-African music and dance, have accorded him opportunities to travel the world and earned him numerous honors and accolades for his excellence and artistic mastery.
Congolese drum, song, and language
The ancient Kongo Kingdom, one of Africa’s great empires, covered present-day northern Angola, parts of Gabon and Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This region is ancestral homeland for over two hundred ethnic groups and their dance, music, and theater: forms deeply rooted in religion and ritual that are intertwined in everyday life.
Kiazi Malonga has been learning and performing Congolese drumming and dance as the son and child protégé of his late father, the world-renowned master artist Malonga Casquelourd. Kiazi has performed with his father’s Fuia Dia Congo Performing Arts Company since the age of 6. He has a lifetime of experience performing and teaching Congolese drum and dance, and is the current Musical Director of Fua Dia Congo.
As a artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2013, Kiazi shared with his apprentice Latanya Tigner (a former apprentice of Mukudji, or stilt dance, with master Shaka Zulu) the historical significance and technical intricacies of Congalese drumming.