United in their passion for sharing their culture on a global level, Message From Guinea is a group of extraordinary Seattle-based West African artists who have come together to spread a message of joy, unity, and transformation. Employing powerful rhythms, hi-energy dances, and melodic songs steeped in the rich cultural heritage of their home country of Guinea, West Africa, Message From Guinea opens hearts, ignites passion, and enlivens audiences.
These formidable artists grew up living their musical tradition, as Guinea is one of the few places left in Africa where indigenous drumming and dance traditions are still woven into everyday life. They began dancing competitively as children, received training from cultural luminaries such as Kemoko Sano, and grew into artists of the highest caliber, touring the world with top companies such as the internationally-renowned Les Ballets Africains, Guinea’s national company. Their authenticity is evident in their art.
Guinea is the birthplace of many African percussive instruments, including the increasingly popular djembe from the Mande region, and the krin, or “African telephone” from Guinea’s forest region. These instruments have historically served the role of calling people together for important occasions- births, deaths, planting and harvesting of crops, the arrival of kings, the initiation of battle and the launch of the hunt. Message From Guinea fuses sacred tradition with modern sensibility; with virtuosity and charisma, they call their audience to join in the essence of Guinea’s cultural legacy.
We come from Guinea, West Africa. Most people don’t know anything about our country; our mission is to change that by sharing our beautiful heritage. Our country is economically poor, but culturally rich, with diverse ethnic groups who each have their own dances, instruments, rhythms, and traditional practices. We have had the opportunity to live and study these folkloric traditions. We are proud of our vibrant, life-affirming heritage and love sharing it with others. We use our art to create community and impart a message of peace, love, harmony, respect, and unity for everybody. We get great pleasure from experiencing others connect with their joy as they are touched by the heartbeat of the drum and the exuberance of the music. We love making everybody happy.
Our performances are often as instructive as they are entertaining. We showcase a variety of traditional instruments, such as balafon, kora, gongoma, siko, and krin, as well as the djembe orchestra. When presenting in educational settings we share the context of the music, describe the instruments and how they are made, and explain the meaning behind the movement.
Sometimes our music and dance are life-changing. People become inspired to delve more deeply into the culture, visit Africa, and experience our traditions first hand. They fall in love- in love with the music, in love with the dance, in love with the people, in love with the land. Sometimes they fall in love with the artists, marry them, change their lives, and bring them home. And that is how the members of Message From Guinea came to live in the US.