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Kaloum is a neighborhood within Guinea's capital city Conakry. It is located along Guinean coastline at the western end of the Conakry peninsula. Kaloum is the home to the legendary Ballet Gbassikolo and some of Guinea’s best drummers and dancers.
Kaloum Djembe is an organization dedicated to sharing and preserving the culture and music of Guinea, West Africa and supporting the local artists of Ballet Gbassikolo in the neighborhood of Kaloum in Conakry, Guinea. The organization was born following the successful completion of the first KALOUM DJEMBE Festival in 2016.
The Kaloum DJEMBE Festival, created by Fode 'Lavia' Camara and his father, Djibril Morlaye 'Bayiby' Camara, is a multi-day celebration in honor of the elders and ancestral artists for all the work they have done to preserve ancient cultural traditions as well as provide a showcase for top ballets, percussion ensembles, and performing artists in Conakry. It is not uncommon to host an evening ‘spectac’ in Conakry, however Fode’s dream was to have a two day event with opportunities for more performing artist groups and to diversify the styles of groups as well as entertainers.
The first annual Kaloum DJEMBE Festival went above and beyond Fode's expectations. In the 2016 festival, over 120 artists received paid performance opportunities, helping them to provide for their families while also giving these up-and-coming artists a chance to display their talents in a large venue as well as connect with students who have come from abroad to study their music and dance. This festival has a significant positive impact on the artists of Conakry, many of whom wish to one day travel abroad to share their culture.
Performance groups and artists who participated in the 2016 Festival:
-Merveilles de Guinée
-Oumar Toure (Singer)
Our Festival Grows
The Kaloum DJEMBE Festival grew from the first year to the next. For 2017, we supported 8 ballets and 4 independent artist performances over the two days. As a part of the Bayiby Cultural Arts Academy, this festival is an event that brings students, artists and the community together. It is a chance for students from home and abroad to come together to appreciate the culture they all have chosen to study. For those advanced students, it is an opportunity to practice and perform with those who are their greatest inspiration, their teachers.
Starting in 2018, all students who travel to Guinea with Fode 'Lavia' Camara prior to the festival and stay through the scheduled festival date, will also get to participate in the festival. Advanced students will have the opportunity to truly challenge themselves and perform with Fode and his group Bemankan Percussions. Check out Fode and his troupe's performance at the 2017 festival by purchasing the DVD from the show! All proceeds support Bayiby Cultural Arts Academy and the Kaloum Djembe Festival.