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


While our doors are temporarily closed in accordance with COVID-19 social distancing measures, Flushing Town Hall would like to share our renowned, global arts programming online. Flushing Town Hall’s dedicated Teaching Artists are offering online classes in the new series “FTH at HOME: Global Arts for Global Kids.” The series of arts education will run Tuesday through Friday, and culminate in an online family matinee performance on Saturday. Each day participants will enjoy short videos of music or dance and post-lesson activities will be available online at FTH website: http://www.flushingtownhall.org/fth-at-home and live on Facebook Page and Youtube Channel each day at 2 PM. Participants are also encouraged to post short video clips of themselves learning on Facebook and tag FTH facebook page @flushingtownhall.


This week’s lessons introduce you to the rhythms of Ivory Coast of West Africa, led by Flushing Town Hall Teaching Artist 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 him 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! 


Start with this simple activity to learn about Ivory Coast: https://bit.ly/2xwgpab 




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. 


Check out this post-lesson activity about A Homemade Percussive Instrument: https://bit.ly/35uIriP


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.


Check out this post-lesson activity about Instruments & Glossary: https://bit.ly/3b19m7f



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


Check out this post-lesson activity about African Kente Cloth Weaving: https://bit.ly/2Wrdecd



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. 

Check out this post-lesson activity for Drumming Terms Puzzle: https://bit.ly/35uWBjY



Day 5:


On Saturday, May 9, at 2pm, 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 the music with Vado.





Special thanks to Calvin W. Chan, Raymond D. Jasen, Ellen Kodadek, Anne Lewent, William McClure, and TeHsing Niu for underwriting a portion of FTH at Home: Global Arts for Global Kids. 


Flushing Town Hall is pleased to present these programs free of charge but welcomes donations from those who are able and moved to contribute. Donations of any amount are accepted here.


Flushing Town Hall’s facilities are temporarily closed to the public in accordance with COVID-19 safety regulations. Flushing Town Hall’s latest statement pertaining to COVID-19 can be found here.


All videos and contents are for educational purposes only.