“God wanted man to be happy, so he gave him the power to drum. I play my drum to spread peace and love throughout the world. This is what I have come to do,” says Madou Dembele.
Madou and his brother Adama (of Asheville-based funk ensemble the Afromotive) were raised in Mali—their family’s 33rd generation of djembe players. How’s that for a family tradition? Legend has that when Madou was young and still too small to carry his own drum, a neighbor noticed his great talents, kidnapped him and took him on tour.
He’s performed at the Kennedy Center and the Guggenheim, with Stevie Wonder and Ziggy Marley, and taught members of Toubab Krewe. He could also teach you this week, if you come to Madou’s African-drumming workshop at Terpsicorps Studio (inside the Wedge building in the River Arts District). Bring your drum and learn from a master. He’ll also share stories of culture and history. The workshop is Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. Cost is $30.
Madou and Adama will be at Westville Pub the next night (Wednesday) for a performance with Ensemble Djembeso. There will be drumming and dancing and all the vibrance you need to spirit up mid-February. Start time is 8:30 p.m., and there’s a $3 suggested donation. Mostly, they just want to pack the place out, say the event’s promoters.
In other news, it will be interesting to see if the closing of the Z Lounge (at the corner of Walnut and Lexington) will effect the different dance communities that used that space.
More established scenes, such as the salsa community, also have homes at Nashwa (where the former manager of Z Lounge moved) and Eleven on Grove, among others.
“The salsa community revolves more around the DJs, promoters, and teachers, so they will follow these folks to new venues,” writes Maria Voisin of Salseros 828. “I have been doing this stuff since 1999, and honestly, I have moved locations a lot. Z lounge was a nice location and the dancers liked the floor, and of course the patio will be missed!”
But Voisin said having fewer venues in some ways builds community, because the scene is consolidated more.
Still, what about the cajun and zydeco dancers who sometimes used the space? The Thursday-night dancehall DJs? Z Lounge regulars, where to next? Drop at line to firstname.lastname@example.org.