West African Percussion Ensemble Faso Foli

This is a course from a previous year. View the current courses

Faso Foli is the name of our West African performance ensemble. It is a Malinke phrase that translates loosely as “playing to my father’s home.” In this class, we will develop the ability to play expressive melodies and intricate polyrhythms in a group context, as we recreate the celebrated musical legacy of the West African Mande Empire. These traditions have been kept alive and vital through creative interpretation and innovation in Africa, the United States, and in other parts of the world. Correspondingly, our repertoire will reflect a wide range of expressive practices, both ancient in origin and dynamic in contemporary performance. The instruments that we play—balafons, the dun dun drums, and djembe hand drums—were constructed for the College in 2006, handcrafted by master builders in Guinea. Relevant instrumental techniques will be taught in the class, and no previous experience with African musical practice is assumed. Any interested student may join.