Gambian National Musical and Dance Troupe to perform

The Gambian National Musical and Dance Troupe, featuring traditional dance, songs, instruments and culture of the West African nation, will perform at 7 p.m. March 19, in the Bates College Chapel. The public is invited to attend, and admission is free.

The troupe’s instruments include the kora, a 21-string harp lute that dates back to the 13th century; the balafong, an 18-key xylophone featuring small, resonant gourds; and the riti, a traditional stringed instrument of the Fula tribe of Gambia.

The dancers, known for acrobatic displays and masquerades, celebrate important Gambian historical figures and rituals. The Cassa, a dance that originates with the clan of the Jola tribe called the Cassamance, features a fire-eating routine. The Lenjengo, a Mandinka dance usually performed at the end of a harvest, features female dancers carrying sawandangs, implements used for separating chaff from grains after the millet, maize or coos have been ground.

The Gambian National Musical and Dance Troupe performance is sponsored by the Bates College Multicultural Center.

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