In traditional Africa, music, dance, and art are an integral parts of life. Today they continue to be the reflection of the diversity of artistic and bodily expression of the ethnic groups of the African continent. They constitute for many peoples the source of a cultural identity and a powerful means of mutual rapprochement. Trying to discover, save and revitalize this cultural heritage has become a necessity today. Through our work in the Jahrkarlo Association we aim to make an active contirbution to the cultural preservation and exchange.
On April 23, 2011 the first edition was held at the French Cultural Institute of Dakar. The festival competition of traditional music and dances, “DIAKARLO AK THIOSSANE” saw the participation of more than 150 artists divided into 8 selected groups.
This edition was hardly contested but eventually won by the “Ballet Diamm” of Yoff (Dakar). The participation of all the other participating groups, Entente Banaya, Ballet Dibon, Syncro Art, La Maison Des Artistes, and Handy Rithme, was greatly appreciated.
On June 2nd, 2012 the cultural festival was once again organized in collaboration with the French Cultural Institute of Dakar. The contest included the participation of groups from various regions of Senegal, including Longa, Toubakouta, Casamance, just to name a few. The immense growth of the festival enabled collaboration with the Pan-African television channel, Africa7, and broadcasting of the event. This 2nd edition newly introduced a second festival day focusing on the awareness of social issues. On June 3, a day of cultural workshops was held for children in difficult situations, preceded by a conference held by experts on the theme, “exploitation of the weakest populations, children and women”.
The 3rd edition of Diakarlo Ak Thiossane took place from 9 to 14 December, at the Blaise Senghor cultural centre, the French Léopold Sédar Senghor Institute and the Goethe Institut. Cultural events, trainings to support unemployed young people, awareness-raising moments were took place on this year’s theme: Culture, a factor of economic and social stability. Despite the limited resources available, a rich program has been implemented thanks to the generous support of artists such as the great Doudou N’Diaye Rose, the suave Marietou Cissokho, and the determination of all the groups of dances and percussions that have animated the long-awaited competition. The festival saw also new partners such as the Daniel Sorano National Theater, and the Goethe Institut which hosted trainings and the conference.
This year’s edition was dedicated to the African child. The Jahkarlo association thus intended to consolidate its support and assistance to the country’s children but above all to draw more attention to the communitý s worst forms of child abuse. With its central theme named “On the Backs of Children: Culture at the Service of Children“, with the idea of employing youth as a tool for preventing child abuse and strengthening peace. Further topics covered in thematic meetings with associations that work in favor of disadvantaged children were the “the social reintegration of children with physical or mental disabilities“, “Street children: dangers and consequences on the life of children“, as well as “Violence and sexual abuse of children“.
Jahkarlo intends to sensitize the government, socio-economic, cultural and political actors to be levers of support and assistance to these return migrants. Return migrants express a need for support and advice, but the response of institutions in Senegal is not yet favorable to their return home. In addition, the free movement of migrants is confronted with laws erected by a frightening bureaucracy. This year, faced with this situation, the Jahkarlo association was given a special place to critically analyze projects concerning return migrants in Senegal. The association relied on its partners and development actors to propose experimental and concrete actions to make the returnee an essential actor in the economic development of their country.
To be a bridge between cultures enable the possibility of coming into contact with one of the oldest cultures in the world – the African music and dance – we offer a cultural immersion program. With the purpose to promote knowledge exchange, mutual learning, and sharing a key piece of Senegalese culture with the people visiting this country, we want to propose a concrete possibility of approaching these cultures and traditions.
You will learn the polyrhythms typical of West Africa, thanks to the ten-year experience of the great Guinean master Naby Camara, also known as Bassolò. Such music, which may seem very instinctive, is actually rich in a structure that has been handed down for centuries. The music enthroned by percussion, blends beautifully with the dance steps that the dancers create.
You will learn original choreography on percussion, djembe and sabar, proposed by the talented artists of the association. This dance, which may seem very instinctive, is actually rich in a structure that has been handed down for centuries. The music enthroned by percussion, blends beautifully with the dance steps that the dancers create. There are dances that are done at important times such as weddings, baptisms, others to be a good omen for work, e.g. in the fields, so that there is a good harvest, etc.
The Djembe is one of the most versatile percussion instruments and by now known almost all over the world. With its characteristic chalice shape, it is a traditional West African instrument that is built through the processing of a wooden trunk by mounting a goatskin tensioned by ropes. The work is completely handmade. Several days of work are required before the artwork can be played by someone. A fascinating process that, for enthusiasts, deserves to be seen. The program is divided into 2 levels: intermediate and advanced and has musical and dance component.