On Saturday Sound and Rhythm Drumming Stuio hosted Guinean drummer, Fana Bangora for a workshop. Fana was named “Master Drummer” by the Guinean Ministry of Culture in 2008. For over 8 years he was a featured djembe soloist for two national groups of Guinea, Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballets Africains.
I've know Fana for many years, ever since he moved to the United States. When he first moved to Portland we would go on hikes and I got to know him even though he was less then fluent in English. I was fortunate enough to play in his group Mounafanyi and would play dununs for his drumming class. I learned a lot from Fana, seeing the energy that he played with and expected from his group and learning from the depth of knowledge that he has and shared of "Ballet Style" drumming in Guinea.
Fana now lives in Rochester, New York where he teaches drumming and dancing. I hadn't seen him in a few years. Since seeing him last he is now fluent in English and his teaching style has matured and was very clear. He has always had great sound on the djembe!
Fana taught the rhythm from the umbrella term Guinea Fare (woman's dance), Yoki. This is a rhythm played by the Susu people and Fana is part Susu. Yoki is a ternary rhythm played fast and can be challenging to experienced players. The class had a wide range of playing experience and Fana did a great job teaching a complicated rhythm and giving everyone something. Thanks to Fana Sound and Rhythm students will work on this rhythm in the next Polyrhythms and Solos Series.