Rhythm Griots: A glance at African music and culture

On Sept. 30, McDaniel celebrated African culture by welcoming to the Forum duo Massamba Diop and Paa Seck Diery, who perform as “griots” or West African singer-storytellers.

Diop and Diery, who originated from Sudan, started the night out by walking onstage playing their drums as loud as possible, astonishing the audience with the tremendous sounds of their drums. The first song set the mood of the concert, letting the audience know what energy was to come.

The second song was as loud as the first one but more festive. During this number, a brave member of the audience jumped right onto the stage with the griots and showed off her dancing skills–an unexpected start to the participatory experience that the concert would become.

For the third and fourth song, Diop and Diery started to ask for the audience’s participation. These two songs permitted the audience to sing along with the griots. By the middle of the third song and the entirety of the fourth one, the audience was fully engaged with the duo, with some audience members clapping and many others singing along.

Some students played along with the duo for their fifth number, and the audience became even more energetic. For their final song, the Diop and Diery asked the audience to dance to the beat of the drums, allowing them to engage in a full, improvised dance party.

This event was part of a series of concerts sponsored by the McDaniel College Department of Music and The Evelyn Mackenzie Performance Series.

Upcoming music events on the Hill:

Monday Night Music presents “Stirring Alto Voices” with Alice Tung, viola, David Duree, clarinet, and Rachel Andrews, piano, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in McDaniel Lounge.

Chamber Music on the Hill presents Laura Strickling and Liza Stepanova, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Forum.

Masterworks Chorale of Carroll County presents Fall Concert 2014: Baroque Beginnings, November 16 at 3 p.m. in Baker Memorial Chapel.