Two West African shows Saturday

Celebrated musician and dancer to perform at the MAC and at the Errington Hall

Fana Soro and Jean Pierre Makosso will entertain at the McMIllan Arts Centre on Saturday at 2 p.m. and then at the Errington Hall with their group at 8 p.m.

Fana Soro began playing the balafon, West Africa’s big wooden xylophone, when he was just seven years old, and by the age of 11 he was a skilled musician.

At 19 he joined the prestigious Ballet National de Cote d’Ivoire and devoted his life for nine years to music and dance touring England, Holland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia, Martinique and West Africa.

Soro decided to move to Norway in 1990 where he worked for the Ministry of Culture as a cultural ambassador in schools while also touring with his band Super Djembe Kan around Europe.

He moved to Canada in 1997 and ran a dance studio in New Westminster, while also forming Masabo, a traditional West African group. They have performed music with dance and stories to more than 2,000 schools across the country.

Masabo will perform at the Errington Hall Saturday evening, Nov. 24 and Soro will also perform at the McMillan Arts Centre (the MAC) with African storyteller Jean-Pierre Makosso from 2 — 3 p.m. the same day.

When Soro moved to the lower mainland, local music event co-ordinator Valerie Dare was working in that area with teachers at Britannia Secondary to develop world music curriculum, and she thought he would fit nicely into the world music program at the school. He quickly became the most sought after artist-in-residence in the Vancouver district, she said.

“Fana is one of the most accomplished and committed artists I’ve ever known. He sets extraordinarily high standards for himself,” she said.

Soro, who now lives in Ottawa, will be playing the balafon at both of his shows in the area Saturday, among other instruments. The balafon is like a marimba or xylophone, but is made from all natural products. Gourds (hollowed-out shells of fruit) are attached to the wooden keys and patched with spider egg sacs. These vibrate when the keys are struck.

The balafon is a tonal instrument used to communicate and the tunings vary from village to village in Africa, just as dialects do.

Fana was trained to represent his people at the occasions he played the instrument, and the sound he creates replicates the sound of his language as closely as possible.

At the MAC, Soro and Makosso will entertain with music and storytelling, and people are welcome to join in.

“Hopefully everyone will have energy,” Soro said.

At the Errington Hall the concert will feature Soro, Makosso and two other accomplished musicians. Again Soro said people should come ready to join in the fun.

“With the traditional music you don’t just sit and watch, you have to stand up and move, so hopefully Parksville will understand that and we’ll do good teamwork together,” he said.

The show at the MAC is $10 for adults, $5 for children and under 12 are free. For more information visit www.mcmillanartscentre.com or call 250-248-8185.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for the Errington Hall show and it starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at Cranky Dog Music in Parksville, Heaven on Earth in Qualicum Beach and at the Errington Store. Children under 12 years are $10 at the door and children under 5 years are free. For more on Soro visit www.masabo-fana-soro.blogspot.com.

 

Just Posted

Dying motorcyclist from Coombs gets last-ride tribute

Friends grant Corinna Pitney’s wish ‘to hear bikes roar, to see leather and chrome’

Parksville author shares journey on famed 800 km trail

Books, movie inspire Roxey Edwards to walk Camino de Santiago, write book

Advance voting numbers in for Qualicum Beach, Parksville, RDN

More people vote ahead of time than in previous election

Man jailed after pilfering items from arena in Parksville

60-year-old caught after thefts from change rooms; victims used app to locate belongings

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

B.C. brewery creates bread beer from food waste

The brew aims to raise food waste awareness and provide funds for the food bank

Dad files Charter challenge after B.C. bans kids from taking transit unsupervised

Adrian Crook is taking his fight to B.C. Supreme Court

B.C. VIEWS: Cast your municipal vote for sanity on homelessness

Thousands on waiting list while anti-capitalist bullies get priority

Police investigate alleged arson at Toronto hotel housing asylum seekers

Police believe the fire was started intentionally, but they have not spelled out a possible motive

Most Read