The description in the program is as much an explanation, as it is a mission statement: “In the Bambara language of Mali, ‘Jeh Kulu’ means ‘community’ “.

For the last 15 years Jeh Kulu has been dancing and drumming and sharing the music and culture of West Africa in classes, First Night and numerous other  appearances around the state, along with their annual Dance and Drum Festival. This year’s event is called “Duniya Lahnee” – “Peace in the World”. It’s dedicated to the people of Guinea, with the horrifying events of September 28th and their aftermath a sad and shocking reminder that human rights are still far from being “rights” in too many places in the world.

The final concert for this year’s festival happened last night at Burlington’s Contois Auditorium, two hours of seamless vignettes unfolding on themes of oppression, alliance, acceptance – and community. Jeh Kulu’s performances are typically packed with enough energy output to give Yankee some serious competition (and hey, none of those messy leaks), as top-level musicianship and dancing electrify the performers and audience members alike.

The annual festival itself concludes today at City Hall in a series of master classes. If it sounds interesting at all I’d say get on down there and check it out – “community”, after all, is about participation:

Sunday, November 8
10 -11:30      – Dance with Oumar N’Diaye
11:45 – 1:15 – Dance with Babacar N’Diaye
11:45 – 1:15  – Balafone with Famaro Diabate
1:30 – 3:00   – Dance with Djeneba Sacko
1:30-3:00     – Advanced Drum with Kolipe Camara
3:15 – 4:45    – Women’s Sangban Drum with Seny Daffe
5:00 – 6:30   – Dance with Moustapha Bangoura

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