Week #6: African Drumming with FTH Teaching Artist Vado Diomande

This week’s lessons introduce you to the rhythms of Ivory Coast of West Africa, led by Flushing Town Hall Teaching Artists Vado Diomande and Lisa Diomande. Vado is a master drummer, dancer, teacher, and artistic director of Kotchegna Dance Company and Lisa is the managing director. You may have seen Vado on stage at Flushing Town Hall, but we will join him at his apartment in Harlem. So grab a plastic bucket or find a table top and let’s explore some rhythms with Vado!

>>Click HERE for a pre-lessons family activity sheet


Day 1 

The first lesson starts with one of the oldest Djembe rhythms of West Africa --- KouKou. Koukou rhythms are played for a traditional dance, which in the old times, was performed when women return from fishing. It is a Mandé people’s dance, who are the biggest ethnic group in West Africa. There are many variations in steps and movements; each tribe has its own way of dancing the basic rhythm that you will get to learn today.

>>Click HERE for a post-lesson family activity sheet


Day 2 

Bolohi rhythms are played for a panther mask dance of the Senufo people in the northern Ivory Coast. This mask dance acts as a warning against fires during the dry season and uses acrobatics and animal-like movements.

>>Click HERE for a post-lesson family activity sheet


Day 3

What’s the rhythm played for a traditional wedding dance in Ivory Coast? Mandé people dance with the Manekadon rhythms. There are different steps for men and women and the dance has long, graceful movements with the body and arms. You may hear the same rhythm in other countries but with different names such as Lamban. 

>>Click HERE for a post-lesson family activity sheet


Day 4 

Vado performed over 60 ethnic dance and drumming traditions from the Ivory Coast and other West African countries. Today he will introduce you to another rhythm from the Senufo people --- N'Goron. It accompanies a colorful initiation dance for young people who have successfully completed their rites of passage, including surviving independently in the forest. The dance celebrates the passage into adulthood. 

>>Click HERE for a post-lesson family activity sheet


Day 5 

Please tune into our Facebook Page and enjoy an excerpt of Kotchegna Dance Company’s performance. The word Kotchegna means messenger in Vado’s native language Mahou. His troupe’s goal is to inspire joy and understanding through the power of dance and drum, promoting the exchange of culture worldwide. We hope you find the joy in making music with Vado.