Accomplished anthropologist-musician to perform West African drumming

An anthropologist and musician will present a lecture-performance on West African drumming at Bates at 7:30 p.m., May 22,  in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Robert L. Thompson, who holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Indiana, will give a talk, The Call to Dance: Mandinka Drumming as Social Life in The Gambia, as well as perform West African drumming and singing.

Thompson, an accomplished drummer, will discuss The Call to Dance as a metaphor for social life, interaction and negotiation. “Mandinka drummers in The Gambia strategize and communicate through performances of musical-ritual phrases,” Thompson said.

Drummed pieces will include regional and ethnic styles, linguistic musical connections, intra-ensemble communication and drummer-dancer interactions.

As part of his visit to Bates, Thompson will offer a number of performances-demonstrations in community schools. His presentations will cover the social nature of Mandinka life, West African life in general and the social nature of music-making.

Here is a schedule of Thompson’s school visits. All are workshops unless otherwise noted.

  • Tuesday, May 21: 1 p.m., Pettengill School, Lewiston, grades 4-6; 2 p.m., Farwell School, Lewiston, grade 6.
  • Wednesday, May 22: 9 a.m., Longley School, Lewiston, grades 4-6; 10:30 a.m., Montello School, Lewiston, grade 2; 1 p.m., Minot Elementary School, grades 6-7; 1:30 p.m., Minot Elementary School, grades 1-7 (performance).
  • Thursday, May 23: 9 a.m., Montello School, Lewiston, grade 2 (performance); 10:30 a.m., Martel School, Lewiston, grades 3-6; 1 p.m., Farwell School, Lewiston, grades 4-6 (performance at Bates College).
  • Friday, May 24: 9 a.m., Pettengill School, Lewiston, grades 3-6 (performance); 10:15 a.m., Longley School, Lewiston, grades 4-6 (performance); 1 p.m., Martel School, Lewiston, grades 3-6 (performance).

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