Sidiki Dembele

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Djembefola, dancer, actor, singer and ngoni player from Abidjan, Ivory Coast

[ Sidiki Dembele (right) with his 'son', Yahael Camara-Onono ]In 2014 I was honoured to be invited to sing and play percussion with master drummer Sidiki Dembele at a WEST AFRICA SPECTACULAR fundraising concert at Arts4Every1 in High Wycombe, supported by our groups Africa Junction and Vitae Drummers, as part of The Brothers Tour 2014.

From the first rehearsals and studio sessions we knew this would be very special and it proved to be a magical evening including some of Sidiki's wonderful songs and his unbelievable djembe playing and hilarious duetting with his "son", dununfola Yahael Camara-Onono. We were also blessed with the sublime Fulani flute playing of Baba Galle Kante. I've not witnessed such a high energy event for some time. The finale was amazing, with most of the packed audience up and dancing in the aisles!

Sidiki Dembele & Friends - Nyangy

[ Sidiki Dembele And Friends - Nyangy album cover ]This led to a recording project, Sidiki's album Nyangy, with the dream team of Sidiki, Yahs, Baba, Barry on bass, Justine & Pippa on guitars, and Jed, Kate & I singing backing vocals and percussion, my debut on CD! We did six African songs (some traditional, some of Sidiki's own creation) plus a bonus track of his incredible solo djembe playing. The album was released at the above concert, with profits going to The Denifari School, a music school he sponsors for orphans in his home town of Abobo, Abidjan. The concert raised £1910 and CD sales raised £1200 which in Africa is a fortune!

You can buy the album via Bandcamp but the original CD is now sold out; luckily there is a crowdfunding campaign to repress it and raise even more money to continue the brilliant work with the kids.

Horonya Foli at Nottingham University workshop

[ Sidiki and Yahs at a 2017 djembe workshop at Nottingham Uni, with me on kenkeni ]We always enjoy Yahs+Sidiki's comical and inspiring dundun+djembe workshops, so in 2017 when I heard they were coming to my home town of Nottingham, I was all in. Here you can see us playing Sidiki's awesome new rhythm of freedom, Horonya Foli.

Choose your tempo!

  1. Slow
  2. Quicker
  3. Uh-oh!
  4. Plugged into the mains!

© copyright Malcolm Smith 2017-11-29 - last updated 2017-11-29 - links verified 2017-11-29