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Explore the heart of all West African musical traditions – the drum. Learn to play West African rhythms such as Kookoo with Vado Diomande, life-long drummer and drum-maker. Vado’s wealth of knowledge demonstrates the fascinating patterns and rich tapestries of Ivory Coast drumming. Students are encouraged to register in advance to ensure there are enough drums available or bring their own drum.

About the instructor: Vado has danced since the age of four, learning the dance and drum traditions of his Mahouka people. At an early age he was initiated into becoming the keeper of the sacred mask dance on stilts, Gue-Pelou. This distinction brought him to the Ballet National de Cote d’Ivoire, where he became a principal dancer for more than 15 years. Vado learned over 60 ethnic dance and drumming traditions from the Ivory Coast and other West African countries. His repertoire elevated his career to eventually choreographing and touring extensively throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. In 1989 he established L’Ensemble Kokiegna d’Abidjan, which has resided in New York City as the Kotchegna Dance Company since 1994. In Vado’s native language Mahou, ’kotchegna’ means messenger. His troupe’s goal is to inspire joy and understanding through the power of dance and drum, promoting the exchange of culture worldwide.