Peter Ultee Productions

Wofa

WOFA


WOFA, which in the Soussou dialect of West Africa means "come together, come along," is a group of 10 young musicians and dancers from the Soussou clan in Guinea. WOFA combines the traditional culture that is still very much alive on the Lower Coast of West Africa with contemporary presentation characteristics.

With a desire to move away from the commonplace of caricatured Africa, WOFA circumvents the imagery associated with African dancing and drumming without distorting its content or erasing its strength.

The traditional rhythms of percussion remain the group’s primary material, rearranged in a more contemporary manner with the addition of acting nuances. The musicians perform on several traditional instruments from the Lower Coast, particularly the kryin (wooden drum in the shape of a tree trunk played with sticks), the djembe ( drum carved from a solid block of wood with a goatskin top and small metallic cattle-bells, played with the full hand), the balafon (or xylophone) and the wassakhoumba (set of small calabash discs in ever-decreasing diameters, strung into a piece of curved wood, which when shaken produce a high-pitched sound).

Critics agree: It’s thumbs up for WOFA. "A justifiably enthusiastic audience would have eagerly gone along with this company on any musical or choreographic journey it took," The New York Times said. "The rhythmically intricate choreography occasionally made legs seem like drumsticks and the whole stage an enormous drum."

 

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