Music & Dance
Fara Tolno was born in Guinea, West Africa. He spent his youth in the village of Kissidugu and Guinea’s capital city, Conakry. Playing djembe since the age of nine, he has traveled extensively performing and teaching both drumming and dance. Fara spent nine years as the lead drummer for Les Merveilles de Guinea (The Wonders of Guinea) under the tutelage of West Africa’s most influential director and choreographer, Kemoko Sano. Fara is a keeper of the history, the music, and the dance in his culture. He holds a vision to build a school of Music, Dance and Education in his home of Guinea, West Africa. This school will help provide a sustainable way to ensure that the knowledge of the music, dance, and history of Guinea will be passed on to the next generation.
Currently based in Boulder, Colorado, Fara has completed his MFA at the University of Colorado. Pursuing his Master of Fine Arts in dance has given him the opportunity to not only teach and share his culture, but to study many different forms of dance. He is taking this knowledge and finding ways to relate and merge the art form of dance and music from his culture with that of the western world. Fara is sharing this new and innovative perspective through his teaching in community and university classes, providing a one of a kind opportunity and outlook at traditional West African dance, and its relation historically and currently into the western world.
Mr. Adetunji Joda, founder, Master Drummer and Choreographer is from the country of Nigeria. The dances and drumming performed largely reflect the language and culture of the Yoruba people in the country of Nigeria.
During his 30 years of teaching in Colorado, Baba Joda created four major African dance companies, either as founder or artistic director, including, Ajose, Irepo, Sankofa, and Joda and Friends – African Dance South of the Sahara.
Helander Dance Theater exists to strengthen the connection between creative expression and community through dance, theater and a variety of integrated arts mediums. To cultivate leadership, understanding, sharing, and healing. To share opportunities to find humor in life and in ourselves. To promote an accessible inclusive environment, conduct outreach opportunities to engage the youth, elderly, and under-served. And to contribute to the enrichment and artistic development of the Boulder community and the state of Colorado.
Jaka is a World Beat Dance band successfully blazing their own musical path. Three friends who originally began studying under master Zimbabwean musician and ethnomusicologist, Dumi Marraire, founded Jaka. The band’s polyrythmic, tasty world beat sound is a rich brew of the ancient mbira traditions of Zimbabwe and Congolese soukous, spiced with Caribbean rhythms and instruments.
Kakes Studios provides affordable rental space of two adjoining studios for individuals who currently teach classes in Ballroom/Swing, Lindy Hop, Balboa (vintage swing), Tango, Salsa, African Dance, African Drumming, Hula, Yoga, Martial Arts, Performance Art, Hoop Dance, and Hip Hop. Kakes is dedicated to providing community space for all types of classes, workshops, events, parties, rehearsals, and performances which serves the Boulder-Denver Metropolitan area.
Most people around the world look to Africa for guidance in finding their own rhythms and musical styles due to the rich and diverse culture and traditions the Africans have inherited from their ancestors. However, in recent trips back to Africa, Koffi has noticed a huge decline in the pride of their heritage, and a disconnection with the spiritual side of the arts Africans once had. In an effort to “Unite through Music, Dance & Art”, Koffi wants to instill a positive sense of self in the children and people of Africa as they are the generations that have inspired so many musically and culturally. Koffi’s dream is to create a community space where we can reconnect the African children and people to the quality and depth of their musical heritage, with an emphasis on maintaining this important cultural tradition and providing support in organically evolving the arts. Participants will learn the importance of being true ambassadors to their culture, therefore becoming quality leaders and instructors themselves so they may share this information to their future generations, as well as to more people worldwide.
Maputo Mensah was born and raised in Accra, Ghana, in a family of professional musicians and dancers. By the age of five he was dancing and drumming with his family, and by the age of ten he was teaching and performing these traditional Ghanaian arts professionally.
Later, Maputo was honored to study for 14 years with Mustapha Tettey Addy, one of Ghana’s premiere artists in traditional music and dance. Over the years Maputo has performed and taught with various dance troupes such as the Akrowa Cultural Ensemble in Kokrobite, Ghana, and the West African Folkloric Troupe in Accra. He also has wide experience as an international guest drummer, dancer, and solo performer. Currently, he also performs with his own dance troupe, Logo Ligi, based in Boulder, Colorado.
Presenting authentic, dynamic, and educational performances of African (particularly Zimbabwean) music through the formation of Foundation-based performance troupes;
Presenting the Teen Performance groups at community and civic events for education of the community and support of charitable organizations;
Educating people of all ages in marimba skill and repertoire building with the intention of fostering respect, connection and appreciation for Zimbabwean music along with other, related musical forms;
Collaborating with other performing groups to present this music in unique combination and synergy with other local musical groups or genres to educate our community about the connections between Zimbabwean music and culture and our own music and culture;
Building community at events and in educational activities based around the above described music; and
Nokuthula, based in Nederland, Colorado, plays contemporary and traditional Afro-pop fusion dance music from Zimbabwe, South Africa and beyond. The band’s roots are in Zimbabwean-style marimba and mbira, but its music is also influenced by jazz, blues, Latin, Afro-Cuban, Haitian, and other world music. Nokuthula’s music is joyous, energetic and upbeat with driving rhythms and mesmerizing vocals. A Nokuthula performance takes one on a musical journey and includes 1,000 year old traditional mbira songs, jazz-influenced township music and popular dance songs of South Africa, controversial anti-war music of Zimbabwe, traditional Cuban and West African drum songs, contemporary Zimbabwean compositions, Mozambican folk music, and a hint of American jazz.
Interspersed with my formal study of the roots, I was also learning their application in the context of various modern popular styles of music, mostly by trial and error. Over the years I have worked with multiple bands playing marimba music, salsa, latin jazz, latin rock, reggae, afrobeat and afropop, as well as straight ahead pop and rock music that may have any of the aforementioned layered in. And that’s exactly what I most love to be doing ……. as well as teaching.