Dembele is a 33rd generation djembe player from Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa. He has toured several continents playing in both drum and dance companies. He moved to the U.S. in 2005 to perform and teach the sacred art of West African Drumming. Since then, he has taught from New York to California and, of course, Asheville, where he now lives.
He is spending the week working with second graders in Mr. Butler's music classes. Students learned to play rhythms particular to the Sinufu and Yagba people of Ivory Coast and Mali. They also learned about life in urban and rural West Africa, how certain rhythms can communicate meaning, and even a few words in the tribal dialects of the region. The kids were quite impressed to learn that Adama speaks eight languages—six of the regional peoples of West Africa, French, and English!
With plans to further incorporate West African drumming into the music curriculum, through Adama's help and the support of our principal, Mrs. Dechant, Claxton has acquired several new West African drums and shakers this year so students can have a genuine cultural experience in their music making. Stop by the music room to see the beautiful new djembe drums Adama brought to us from Côte d'Ivoire.
Listen to one of his drumming sessions with students at Claxton's spreaker site. We are extremely fortunate to have him with us!
Here he is performing at the 2009 Goombay Festival: