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AROUNA DIARRA and PATRICK FITZSIMONS Appearing Fri Feb 6 2015 at 8:00pm

of Burkina Faso 
Patrick Fitzsimons
of Ireland
present an evening of traditional music
of West Africa

$10 in advance/$12 at the door

Arouna and Patrick will perform as a duo tonight.  They are members of Mande Foly,a collective of musicians & dancers who perform traditions of West Africa, Mande referring to a region which predates national boundaries, and which bridges many smaller ethnic groups together as one. The group features several West Africans, and although they may come from different countries, their ancestry, and a vast repertoire of music & dance, is linked through Mande.

Arouna Diarra, originally from Burkina Faso, was born into a griot family. The griots are hereditary musicians and culture bearers, and he was raised learning music and songs that had been handed down through many generations. He sings in his native Bambara and plays kora, a West African harp-lute, balafone, a type of xylophone, and ngoni, a plucked relative of the banjo.

Irish-born guitarist and singer, Patrick Fitzsimons, actually began his musical career as a percussionist. Since the mid-90s, Patrick has studied rhythmic traditions of Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.  

 Now focusing his energies principally as a guitarist, Patrick has continued his studies within the African diaspora, in particular styles of Mali, Congo, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, and Cuba.  Patrick manages and performs with another afro-influenced group, Mande Foly, which plays the music of the Mandingue people of West Africa. This group has a decidedly more acoustic feel and features kamale ngoni & balafon player, Arouna Diarra from Burkina Faso.

The music of Mande Foly is dynamic and improvisational, rooted in a strong rhythm section. Along with the syncopated harmonies between the kamale n’goni, balafon, guitar, and call & response singing, the music of Mande Foly delivers a hypnotic experience that attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. Lyrics, sung in Bambara and French, delve within topics such as social consciousness, conflict, and love for one another.

The instrumentation of Mande Foly reflects a bridge between past and present times, utilizing predominantly traditional instruments but also including acoustic and electric guitars. The traditional instruments include: the kamale n’goni, a 14-stringed harp-like instrument; the balafon, an instrument related to the modern xylophone; the calabasse, a gourd that has been halved and played with the hands; the djembe, a goblet-shaped hand drum; and dununs, cylindrical drums played with sticks.

“Mande” refers to the Mandingue region of West Africa. “Foly” means, “to play.”