Students learn African drumming, culture with world renowned drummer

Two smiling adults play African drums
Biboti and King play the African dun dun drums.

Goshen Intermediate School students recently learned about the art of African drumming, dancing, and culture during music classes with world renowned African drummer Biboti Ouikahilo.

Biboti was born in the village of Kouetinfla Progouri, in the central west region of the Ivory Coast of West Africa. A dancer, drummer, choreographer, and teacher, he has toured throughout the world and even performed on tour with Jimmy Buffett.

Students play African drums and instrumentsStudents learned basic African drumming, listening for Biboti’s cues and enjoying his stories of life in Africa. They also performed African dance under Biboti’s instruction, with assistance from his colleague, King, from Ghana.

Both Biboti and King reside in Syracuse.

According to Biboti:

African dance and drum are recognized internationally as the first manifestation of African culture. It’s a profound display of the body, as well as a means of expression from the deepest place within one’s being.

Young teens play African drumsMy vision is to raise awareness and expand the understanding of my culture through the expression and communication of this traditional folk art as a way to unify people of all societies and cultures. By finding our interconnectedness through rhythm and movement that’s rooted in a culture, I believe we can break down barriers that divide cultures and bring peace to the world.

As a traditional artist, I spent years and years in learning dance and drum culture back home. My today goal/vision is, all these forms I have learned, I wanted to be able to share with children, parents, families, and community members of all backgrounds. And because the modernization has emerged our cultures today, I want to be able also to share the joy of this culture among other institution such as Art and cultural education through the class and stage.

Here, in the West, my expression of this traditional folk art continues to be presented on the stage, but has also grown into a more shared experience of teaching and learning in classrooms, lecture halls, dance studios, festivals, community centers, and more . I am of this tradition and both my performance style and teaching abilities continue to pass along the tradition.

Group of teens play drums