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press kit Â

Wula Drum Inc. | 47-09 30th St. #107 | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 786-8383 | info@wuladrum.com | WWW.WULADRUM.COM


1 press kit: Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1. Mission and History 2. Sample Repertory 3. Company Bios 4. Testimonials 5. Tech Rider

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Wula Drum Inc. | 47-09 30th St. #107 | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 786-8383 | info@wuladrum.com | WWW.WULADRUM.COM


2 press kit: mission and history

mission and history !

Wula Drum and Dance NYC was established as a professional company in 1997 by

artistic director Michael Markus. It is his vision to entertain and educate people from all walks of life about the power of the drum and the movement it inspires. With the belief that music and dance transcend the boundaries of race, culture and class, the company is dedicated to promoting diversity and challenging prejudice through performance and education. !

Led by musical director M’bemba Bangoura, Wula’s company members are mostly

comprised of master drummers and dancers from Guinea, West Africa. The music and movement created stems from the traditional folklore of West Africa and brings it into the modern realm. Wula performances are a celebration for everyone – demonstrating the power of the drum to uplift and connect us all. !

Titled after the Susu word meaning “where the good wood is”, Wula has audiences

jumping out of their seats at a variety of venues from the east coast through the mid-west. The ensemble has performed and taught at theaters, schools/universities, community centers, museums, festivals and private/corporate functions. These have included Zocalo Music Festival in Mexico City, Skylands Arts & Music Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, New York City Parks Foundation, Dancers Responding to AIDS, American Museum of Natural History, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Epilepsy Foundation, SUNY Purchase, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (NY), Venetian Hotel (Las Vegas), Wall Street Journal, and The National Library of Canada, to name a few.

Wula Drum Inc. | 47-09 30th St. #107 | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 786-8383 | info@wuladrum.com | WWW.WULADRUM.COM


4 press kit: artist biographies

artist biographies M’Bemba Bangoura (artistic director/choreographer) has traveled throughout the world as a performer and teacher of African drum and dance and is revered worldwide for his high level of mastery. As a native of Guinea, West Africa, M'Bemba began drumming at a very young age. By the age of 21, he was acclaimed as a master drummer and was invited to play for Ballet Djoliba, the most respected ballet company in Guinea at that time. Since moving to the US in 1992, M'Bemba has been an integral part of most major drum and dance conferences nationwide. He has taught hundreds of students, many of who are now teachers themselves. In addition, he has personally created choreography and developed repertoire for dozens of dance companies in New York City and abroad. M’Bemba is one of the foremost ambassadors for Guinean drum and dance. Laurent Camara is a true virtuoso of the djembe. In 1973, Sekou Toure, former dictator of Guinea, presented Laurent with the Best Drummer medal, an honor that has not been given to anyone else. He was the lead soloist for over 25 years of Les Ballets Africains National Company of Guinea. He has toured the world several times over and has personally defined a large amount of the djembe repertoire. Laurent is a true icon in the African music world. Nimatoulaye Camara was raised in a famous family of dancers and musicians and began dancing and singing at a very young age in Conakry, Guinea. She quickly became a principal dancer for Guinea’s National Company, “Les Ballets Africans,” and toured the world with them for more than 20 years. She joined Magbana in 2007 after moving to NYC. Ms. Camara is one of the most sought after West African dance teachers in NYC and continues to perform and give master classes locally and abroad. Mangue Sylla was born in Conakry, Guinea. He started playing music at the age of 10, and soon became a professional musician. In 1993 he joined Les Merveilles de Guinee, under the leadership of Kemoko Sano, and performed throughout Africa. In 1998, he moved to New York City and is one of the most sought after doundoun/sangban/djembe players around. Mangue travels extensively in the US teaching and performing. Famaro Dioubate was born to a griot family in Conakry, Guinea. He is the grandson of El Hadj Djelli Sory Kouyate, a living legend of the Mandeng balafon. Famaro made a strong name for himself and moved to the United States in the late nineties. He is in high demand as a free-lance musician, playing everywhere from nightclubs to Carnegie Hall. In addition to producing and recording two of his own CDs, Famaro has also been featuredon many other projects including Cheik Smith-Sherif, Sekou Camara, Mory Kante and Fula Flute.

Wula Drum Inc. | 47-09 30th St. #107 | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 786-8383 | info@wuladrum.com | WWW.WULADRUM.COM


5 press kit: artist biographies cont.

artist biographies cont. Hasan Bakr is a natural musician and has a 22-year history in conducting African musical instrument demos, student assembly programs, in- school artist residencies and youth empowerment workshops. He is also a 1998 Ethnic Dance Award Recipient. He has performed with a number of artists including The Winard Harper Sextet, Snow, Hassan Hakmoum, Zimbabwean Mbira Master Ephat Mujuru, Salieu Suso, Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya, The Meditations, Veiux Diop and many more. As a composer, he has penned a collection of works for dance and the media arts with a co- writer’s credit on the film, "Brooklyn Babylon. While actively pursuing a career in drumming, Hasan molded a unique vocal ability that landed a position as lead singer in the legendary Spirit Ensemble and HeritageOP, both New York based percussion ensembles. Ismael Bonfils Kouyaté was born into a griot family in Farranah, Guinea where he began dancing and singing by the age of six. In 2000, Ismael was recruited by two national companies in Guinea: Les Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballets Africains. In 2003, he was chosen to participate in a transcontinental contemporary dance forum, through which choreographers from the Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Guinea were exposed to modern dance. Upon coming to the United States, Ismael joined Magbana in 2006. Ismael also stars in Fela!, an off-Broadway musical by Tony Award winning modern dance choreographer Bill T. Jones. Yalani Bangoura is a master dancer, performer, choreographer, acrobat and teacher of dances from Guinea, West Africa. He is also known for his exciting hip-hop dance. Yalani is currently a member of Magbana Drum & Dance NYC, as well as the award-winning West African dance and drum company Les Merveilles de Guinea. Michael Markus is the founder and artistic director of Wula Drum and DAnce NYC. Along with a BFA in percussion performance from Ithaca College, he has mentored with accomplished Guinean master drummers and dancers and travels yearly to Guinea. He has presented at a multitude of venues ranging from college music and dance departments, to music/dance conferences, public and private schools, to inner city community centers all across the East Coast, Mid-west and Canada. In 2001, Michael released a series of 11 educational percussion CDs demonstrating the rhythms from Guinea. In addition to playing on several CDS from various master drummers, in 2004 Michael co-produced and released a CD of his group Magbana. He has also created commissioned pieces, composing and directing choreography for such groups as Ethos Percussion, which debuted his work at the Symphony Space in New York City. Recently, Michael was a guest performer with Forces of Nature at the Apollo Theater for part of their annual Kwaanza celebration. Michael is also co-owner of Wula Drum which manufactures instruments from Guinea and distributes worldwide through their office in Brooklyn, New York.

Wula Drum Inc. | 47-09 30th St. #107 | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 786-8383 | info@wuladrum.com | WWW.WULADRUM.COM


6 press kit: testimonials

testimonials “The heart of Wula’s music is in its high-octane drumming based on dance rhythms from Guinea, West Africa… for lovers of African drumming, and the djembe in particular, it is full of rich rewards.” — David Rogers, Jumbie Journal

"Energetic and authentic, this debut release from NY-based Wula is packed with crushing djembe solos, syncopated breaks, and lots of spice. Michael Markus' group has obviously done its homework, with renditions of Soko, Kawa, Soli and other rhythms that transport you back to the Motherland. With smart arrangements, melodic use of flute, and balaphone, this group is already turning heads." — Brad Boynton, African Rhythm Traders

“…[Wula] is creative, rich with rhythm and beautiful arrangements, that will make anyone move to [the] beat. If they don't, then therapy should be sought.” — Khalid Saleem, music director of Sankofa and Assistant Professor of African Music/Drumming at SUNY College at Brockport

Wula Drum Inc. | 47-09 30th St. #107 | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 786-8383 | info@wuladrum.com | WWW.WULADRUM.COM


7 press kit: tech rider

tech Rider Something special about Wula Drum and Dance NYC is that we do not use electronic instruments in our set. The instruments we do use can project to the back of a room and the colorful costumes can be seen from far away. For large productions, we prefer to use simple sound enforcement as listed below. Lighting is different for each of our sets and should be discussed separately for each unique performance. I. Stage Requirements • Preferred Stage Size: At Least 24’ X 30’ • Wood or Marley Floor suitable for dancing barefoot • Chairs for all performers • General PA system required for sizable audiences. ! Balaphone – 2 microphones ! Doundoun – 1 microphone with boom stand ! Singers – 2 microphones II. Performer Requirements • Comfortable changing Room close to stage for quick changes • Water and light snacks for all artists III. Transportation & Lodging Requirements • Airfare for all performers • Hotel / accommodations for all performers • Transportation to and from airport in New York City and destination

Wula Drum Inc. | 47-09 30th St. #107 | Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 786-8383 | info@wuladrum.com | WWW.WULADRUM.COM

Wula Drum Press Kit  

Wula Drum Press Kit

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