008 International Group Profile: Senegal & Kagoshima

WMDF often gives rise to collaborations between overseas and Japanese artists. This year, we recommend this Senegal-Japan combination!


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This 3-person collaboration is named “Safaiko”, combining the Western African Wolof language’s “saf” and the Japanese language’s “saiko,” which both mean “best” or “the greatest”.

Mamadou Lo was born into a family of Senegalese griot or traditional storytelling musicians. He became a professional percussionist at the age of 14 and came to Japan for the fist time in 2000. He has collaborated with international musicians and is a percussionist that even Stevie Wonder loves! Mamadou believes the drum sounds are his words and the sounds are coming from his heart.

Professional dancer Ndeye Arame Lo was born in Senegal. She is one of the few performers talented in all genres of Senegalese dance including the Wolof Sabar and the Mandinka Serouba. She has performed with the famous singer Hassan Njgi and toured Senegal and Europe. This is her first visit to Japan.

When he was still a student at Hokkaido University, Yamakita Norihiko became obsessed with drumming while collecting insects in Cameroon.  He believes in creating music on self-made instruments. He invented a small percussion instrument called the “Narunaru,” which he produces from nuts found on the island of Amami, where he lives and works.


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