Due to the uncertainty of the Coronavirus and the impact on finalizing the logistics of the TDDC, we have decided to postpone the conference.

We are very excited about bringing this conference to the Triangle area to share West African culture through dance, song and music led by world-class dance and drum instructors, but feel this postponement is in the best interest of everyone involved.

We will share more information about the conference as details are available.

Aly Camara

Aly Camara was born in Guinea, West Africa. Growing up in the capital city of Conakry, he was exposed to rhythms and celebrations from many different ethnic groups, including his native Susu. Aly was drawn to drumming as a child and started his own group, Sehwe, at age 5. By the time he was 10, he was a member of a local touring troupe. In his early twenties, Aly was recruited by the renowned choreographer, Mohammed Kemoko Sano, of Les Ballets Africains. Aly became the lead drummer for Les Merveilles de Guinee. Shortly thereafter he was invited by Sano to audition and was then selected as the lead drummer for a group of five artists that traveled from Guinea to perform at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Aly, his wife, and three daughters have made Atlanta, GA their home for many years. He created an African drum and dance troupe called SaMato. Aly provides artistic direction for Sehwe Village Percussion, and teaches and performs at countless camps, schools, weddings, festivals, and corporate events.

Aly is a masterful performer and teacher on several percussion instruments including djembe, dun duns and krin. He also plays gongoma, bolon, boate, and other percussion instruments indigenous to Guinea and sings traditional songs from a variety of West African ethnic groups. He loves teaching and sharing his culture. Aly has particular skill in creating arrangements and musical productions and bringing drum and dance performances together. He is able to guide students to learn complex mixes of rhythms, bridges and song in the course of a day, making him a very sought-after teacher.

Mamady Sano

Mamady Sano is a dynamic performing artist from the country of Guinea, West Africa. Born into an artistic family, he is the son of the world renowned choreographer of Les Ballets Africains, Mohamed Kemoko Sano. Mamady’s natural talent as a dancer was recognized early on. As a young boy, he often performed with his brothers and friends, and quickly became known as the top dancer in his region. Mamady began performing with Les Merveilles D’Afrique African Dance Troupe, a highly acclaimed, internationally recognized performance ensemble under the Artistic Direction of his father. He spent several years traveling throughout the world with Merveilles D’Afrique. In 1998, Mamady was invited to come to the United States to teach and perform. A resident of the USA for the past thirteen years, Mamady teaches workshops, clinics, and master classes, as well as performs as a guest artist, throughout the world. He has been a member of the faculty at the prestigious Alvin Ailey School/Ailey Extension, where he taught Guinean djembe dance. Mamady lives as well as teaches in New York City.

Mouminatou Camara

Mouminatou founded Seewe African Dance Company in September 2005. Mouminatou is praised as the preeminent female instructor of Guinea dance in the United States. For a decade, she was the principal dancer for the world-renowned dance company, Les Ballet Africains. She also performed with Les Ballet Djoliba and the Army Ballet. An instructor and performer of West African Dance and Drum, Mouminatou has performed and taught workshops extensively in the USA, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Martinique and the West African countries of Senegal, Mali and the Ivory Coast.

Having spent her life in Guinea, Mouminatou has stated that she has been dancing since she was in her mother’s womb. Affectionately called “Moumi”, she brings firsthand knowledge of the history of each dance and imparts that knowledge with great clarity and passion to her students. Her generosity as a teacher is matched by her attention to detail and historical relevance. Mouminatou Camara has received many awards and recognition for her unique style of dance, outstanding talent and for her work in the field of dance. Her popularity and skill as a performer and instructor makes her one of the most sought after instructors at dance centers and festivals across the country.

Youssouf Koumbassa

Perhaps the world’s most sought-after teacher of Guinea-style African dance, Youssouf was born in Conakry, Guinea. He was a principle dancer with Ballets Djoliba, one of Guinea’s most important national dance companies, for 13 years, training and touring extensively throughout the world. With his prodigious skill and thrilling talent, as well as the precious pedagogy and choreography of his teachers before him, Youssouf relocated to the United States to share his passion and his legacy with dancers and audiences everywhere.

For the past 26 years, Youssouf has taught countless devoted students around the world the beauty and energy of Guinea dance. He teaches at conferences and workshops all over the world, from Mexico to Amsterdam, California to Japan, yet maintains his position at the center of his African dance community in New York City. Youssouf returns to Guinea every year to lead a month-long immersion workshop for international students in drum and dance. Youssouf lives in Brooklyn with his wife Mariama, a principle dancer from Les Ballets Africains, and his daughters, Khadijah, Fatim, Nadi, Natalia, and Komala.

Babara Bangoura

Babara was born in Guinea and is half Soussou and half Malinké. Whilst still a child in Conakry he first became a member of the Ensemble Les Percussions de Guinée Junior and subsequently the Djoliba National Ballet Company.

Babara has lived in Belgium since 1999. As a spiritual heir of the great Guinean master Mamady Keïta, he passes on the Guinean tradition and art of the djembe.  Both musician and teacher, Babara travels throughout the world giving workshops and concerts, some of these with the legendary Sewa Kan Ensemble. Groups specializing in musical styles from jazz to electro have welcomed him, recording several of his compositions on their own albums.

Babara is also the founder of the International North-South Cultural Exchange Festival. This festival takes place in Conakry and provides musicians from all over the world with the opportunity to share their passion for the traditional Mandinka music and dance.

As a djembefola, Babara is dedicated to promote Mamady’s message “music has no boundaries and skin color is not an obstacle for meeting other cultures”.

Aboubacar “Abou” Sylla

Abou was born into a family of musicians in Conakry, Guinea in West Africa. Abou’s musical career began at the age of five when his uncle gave him a djembe. As a child, Abou moved from Conakry to a village where he began his study of the balafon. He lived, studied and performed with his balafon teacher until he was nineteen, at which time he moved back to Conakry to perform with his family, as well as other musicians. After returning to Conakry, Abou was invited to join Les Ballets Africains, the prestigious national dance company of Guinea. For six years he performed with them, playing not one, but five instruments – the balafon, djembe, krin, dun dun, and bote.

Nafi Dioubate

Nafi was born in Guinea and grew up in the city of Conakry. She is a Griot (oral historian) and all her family are musicians and singers. She has been dancing since she was five years old. Nafi plays traditional instruments including balafon and dunun. She was part of Les Ballet Matam with her big sister Fatoumata Yayo. In 2005, Nafi joined Ballet Fonike, led by Alseny Bangoura. In 2011 she also joined Ballet Nimbaya. Nafi performed with both groups and then was able to tour the US with Ballet Nimbaya. Nafi now resides in the US and teaches dance classes and song classes.

Ibrahima Dioubate

Ibrahima Dioubate was born in Guinea, West Africa. His lineage is Griot (oral historian) and all his family members are musicians and singers. He has been playing the balafon since he was seven years old along with the dun dun, bolon, krin, bote and other traditional instruments.

In 1968 Ibrahima became part of his family’s company in the village of Fria. He was then chosen from his village to join another company called Troupe Fatalla in the city of Conakry where he also played for Tempo Rhythmic directed by Mr. Mor Cire. In 1984 he traveled to Senegal and Gambia, West Africa where he was the featured balafonist for the Gambia National Troupe and the Ballet Bougarabou in Senegal.

Ibrahima managed and made balafons for his factory in Gambia. Customers from all over the world ordered, and bought his balafons. In Gambia he also had a music school called Sanyakunda and another in Senegal, Casamas called Karamba experience. He taught the balafon, dun dun drum and other percussion instruments to people from Germany, England, Japan, United States and other foreign countries. In 2001 Ibrahima traveled with the company Ballet Bougarabou from Senegal to the United States for the World Fest. He has since played with many musical bands from other cultures, and also plays for various African drum and dance companies to further create and develop his music.

Ibrahima was the former music and historical consultant for Delou Africa Dance Ensemble where he taught traditional West African music. Ibrahima created Fatala in February 2006. Fatala means “village”. His aspirations are to educate, enlighten and teach traditional West African music. Ibrahima believes that music is the universal language that unifies different cultures.