In July, Duniya Dance and Drum Company in collaboration with Stronghold Sound kicked off their first international dance party, Duniya Dancehall, which will take place every fourth Friday of the month in the Mission district of San Francisco. Each month features Duniya Dance and Drum Company with resident DJs DubSnakr and Juan Data, as well as special guests, performing bhangra, Bollywood, West African dance and music, African reggae, Dancehall MCs, guest DJs, and more.
Formed in April 2007, Duniya Dance and Drum Company creates dance and music from Punjab, India, and Guinea, West Africa, as well as unique blends of these forms and beyond.
Duniya means “world” in languages as diverse as Punjabi, Farsi, Arabic, Susu (Guinea, West Africa), and Thai. The company’s work embodies this word, as it explores the forces that have brought together the members of the group and their dance and drum styles, including, but not limited to, colonization, globalization, immigration, art, dance, music, and love. Duniya Dancehall covers many corners of the globe bringing music and performance from India, West Africa, Jamaica, Latin America, and others.
The ongoing event aims to bring together diverse populations reflected in the population of the Bay Area, and bring live performances into the spotlight.
Founder and artistic director Joti Singh learned bhangra from her family and community as she
was growing up. She holds an M.A. in South Asian Studies from UC Berkeley, and studied the West African dance of Guinea, both in Guinea and the U.S. Singh has participated in the Alliance for California Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program and received their Traditional Arts Development grant. With mentor Zenon Barron, she received the Margaret Jenkins CHIME award and is collaborating with Zenon’s company, Ensambles Ballet Folklorico de San Francisco, to create a piece on the Punjabi-Mexican communities of California, which they will present in November at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.
Duniya’s musical director Alpha Oumar “Bongo” Sidibe is a traditional drummer from Conakry, Guinea. Sidibe studied with master drummer Mamady Keita at his school, Tam Tam Mandigue, Guinea, and participated in his workshops in Conakry and Balandougou, Mamady’s village. He performed with Ballet Jah Karlo in Dakar, Senegal, and recorded the CD N’dguel Fall, touring with Orchestre Baye Fall. Before leaving Guinea, he was co-director of Balandougou Kan, a group of traditional percussionists and dancers. Since arriving in the U.S., Sidibe has performed with Rhythm Village, Mickey Hart, Joan Baez, and Black Nature from Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars.
Friday, Aug. 27th, and every fourth Friday of the month, 10 p.m.; doors open at 9 p.m. Blue Macaw, 2565 Mission St., San Francisco. $5 before 10 p.m., $10 after.[email protected]. www.duniyadance.com.