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Bush Mango Announces New Musical Director, Company to Perform this December | Arts & Culture

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Bush Mango Announces New Musical Director, Company to Perform this December

News 10NBC's Janet Lomax recently did a story of Kerfala Bangoura. Click here to watch our story.

Bush Mango Drum and Dance announces that Kerfala “Fana” Bangoura, a Master Drummer and Dancer and a native of Guinea, joins the company as its new Musical Director.  In his role there, Fana will introduce new content to Bush Mango’s repertory as well as arrange all musical content for its performances, classes and outreach programs.  He will also teach a drumming class on Monday evenings.  Fana will work closely with Bush Mango’s Artistic Director and Executive Director, Colleen Hendrick, to direct the Company.  

Bush Mango will introduce Fana to the community during its annual holiday performance, “Waking D’mba,” at 7:30 pm, Friday, Dec. 16 and Saturday, Dec. 17 at Bush Mango’s Community Center, 34 Elton St., Rochester N.Y., in the heart of the Neighborhood of the Arts. Written and choreographed by Colleen Hendrick, the performance will tell the story of a West African village overcome by famine and drought and then rejuvenated by a benevolent deity known as D’mba.

Advance tickets will cost $15 for general admission, $12 for Bush Mango members and $8 for youth under 12 years old and seniors.  They can be purchased from Bush Mango’s Web site, www.bushmango.org.  They will also be available at the door on the nights of the performances, $18 for general admission, $15 for Bush Mango members and $10 for youth under 12 years old and seniors.  

“We are thrilled that Fana is here with us,” said Colleen.  “His experience, knowledge, passion and wonderful energy inspires everyone he meets.”

Named a Master Drummer and Dancer by the Guinean Ministry of Culture, Fana, 31 years old and now a resident of the South Wedge, performed for nearly 10 years with Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballet Africains and served as a Percussion Director for Fareta, a Guinean ballet company with whom he danced as well as drummed. 

Part of the sousou ethnic group in West Guinea, Fana began drumming at a very young age.  “Everyone around me was sure I was to become a drummer some day,” said Fana.  “This is where my nickname of ‘Fana’ comes from as it means ‘future’ in sousou.  I am very happy that my future has brought me here to Rochester and to Bush Mango.”

Fana came to the U.S. in 2009 after being given permission by Guinean authorities to remain here to teach, perform and share his cultural background.  His first U.S. stay was in Portland, Oregon, where one of the students who studied with him in Guinea invited him to come teach and perform.  There in June of 2011, he met his soon-to-be wife, Jennifer Kyker Bangoura, an ethnomusicologist who was soon offered a position at Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester (UR).

Fana and Jennifer have been in Rochester just since this past summer.   Upon learning they'd be here, they researched what was available in Rochester in terms of West African drumming and dancing.  It was then he came in contact with Colleen Hendrick.  This led to his new role within Bush Mango.

In addition to being part of Bush Mango, Fana also leads a percussion ensemble in the music department at the UR.  He also teaches a West African dance class at the UR. In addition, he visits Guinea regularly performing with his own ensemble, Sekha-Kan Kolon, and leading student groups there.

Although he is indeed a Master Drummer and Dancer, Fana plays a number of unique, traditional and beautiful West African instruments including the djembe, dundun, kora, sangban, kekeni, balfone and kirin.

Blair Hornbuckle, a co-founder of Bush Mango and its former Musical Director, remains with the Company as an instructor and performer.

For more information on Bush Mango, visit www.bushmango.org

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