“This music is meant for dancing and having a good time,” Dylan Bassett proclaimed in front of a packed audience at the Lawrence Arts Center. He really didn’t need to explain anything– the moment the KU West African Drum Ensemble fired up, people couldn’t help but move in their seats.

The KU World Percussion Ensembles Concert is a special affair not just because it takes the show off campus and into Downtown, but because it’s usually accompanied by a special guest. This year, it was Guinean Master Drummer, Bolokada Conde. The free event treated audiences to styles of percussion you don’t normally get to hear in the Midwest. Attendees heard anything from West African drumming to Brazilian Steel Bands covering Ziggy Marley. At one point in the evening, three of the performers even played a table, scratching and pounding the surface with their fingers and palms. No matter the genre or style, the songs pierced through the air and conjured up throbbing beats that were quite thrilling. You can check out photos from the night below, as well as a clip of the stimulating and moving performance with Bolokada Conde.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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