Southern Illinois West African Drumming Ensemble

S.I.W.A.D.E. -- Members of S.I.W.A.D.E. (Southern Illinois West African Drumming Ensemble) visited campus recently to promote concerts scheduled for visiting master drummer Bolokada Condè.  From left are Sue Speers, Brian Stanfield, and Lawrence Millard.  (Photo by Christi Mathis)

April 25, 2012

West African drum master plans performances

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- One of the world’s best djembe (West African drum) players is coming to visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale, in part to visit a former student.

Bolokada Condè, a Master Djebmbefola of Malinke Rhythms, presents two performances during his visit.  He joins former student Ron Coulter, now senior lecturer in percussion in the SIU Carbondale School of Music, and Coulter’s SIU Carbondale Percussion Group for a concert of West African djembe and djundjun music, and joins S.I.W.A.D.E. (Southern Illinois West African Drumming Ensemble) for an evening performance.

The performance with the SIU Carbondale Percussion Group is 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday, April 27, in the Roman Room of the Student Center.  The SIU Carbondale Students Fine Arts Fee helped bring Condè to campus.

Condè also performs with S.I.W.A.D.E. at the Elk’s Club on Jackson Street in Carbondale 7:30-11 p.m. on Thursday, April 26.  Tickets for that performance are $7 in advance, available at Plaza Records, Fat Patties, and the Practice Pad in Carbondale and the Yellow Moon Café in Cobden.  Tickets are $10 at the door, and seating is limited.

Condè was featured in the IMAX movie “Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey.”  Besides his adventures traveling and performing the music of his native Guinea worldwide, Condè is affiliated with the Robert E. Brown Center or World Music at the University of Illinois School of Music.  As a visiting artist there, he gives drumming lessons at the university, in the community, and in the public school system.

Coulter established the SIU Carbondale Percussion Group in 2005 as a way to expand the percussion opportunities at the University, and to offer a forum for improvisational performance.  The eclectic group looks to world music, spoken word, video, dance, electronic technology and mixed media to enhance its performances and to challenge audiences to listen to music with more than ears alone.

S.I.W.A.D.E. is a Southern Illinois performance group dedicated to promoting the traditional rhythms and songs of West Africa, including Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Ghana.