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Tama Kan Travelling sound

When one goes on a trip, the traveller almost automatically adopts an attitude where he relaxes his habitual limits and is willing to take in all kinds of impressions. The understanding of the experiences lived during the trip will come later, once the memory of what happened becomes a part of the person’s DNA.

The intercultural experience is linked to the movement of the trip. That is how the members of Tama Kan, a group of musicians from Guinea, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Mexio, understand it. Violeta Romero, specializing in son jarocho and CEO of the project, travelled to Guinea in 2006 where she met Mohammed N’Diaye, guitarist, composer and dancer. They both had the idea of creating an Afro-contemporary fusion band and it wasn’t long before Bruno Martínez (djembe, congas and balafon), Jerónimo González (jarana and vocals), Yadi Camara (balafon, guitar and vocals), Zal Sissokho (kora and vocals), Dartagnan Camara (drums, djembe, krin, calebasse and vocals), Antoine Bangoura (sanbang, dundun and vocals) and Aboubacar Mané (dance) joined in.

As the members explain, they are “like family, we became close very fast, as if we knew each other from long ago.” They communicate in French and they’ve all lived in each others countries. They feel their cultures “are very similar in a human way: they bestow great importance to family as a social unit and exude a primordial joy to life, with its ups and downs.”

All the musicians participate in other projects on the side in countries like Canada, Burkina Faso, Mali and France, but when they get together in Mexico, they do so to present a unique melody, resulting from the abovementioned fusion.  When asked about the reaction the Mexican public has had to their music to their music, they say:

“There’s been a good response, Mexican music is very influenced by African music and is familiar to the public, and fusion with traditional Mexican music really helps with public acceptance… It’s music to dance to, to celebrate.” 1

Dancing is part of the son jarocho as well as Western African music, they’re not dissociated. Which is why Tama Kan not only gives concerts, but also dance, singing, balafon, percussion and kora workshops. The intercultural experience is so rich that in order to transmit it fully the group plans on developing projects where, aside from giving workshops and concerts, they give lectures on the group members’ different cultures and create awareness of the different nuances of the contemporary cultural mix.

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1. Tama Kan have played in different states of Mexico as well as Mexico City since 2013, places like the Benito Juárez Theater in Oaxaca, the Jazz University of Jalapa, UAM Toluca, the Museo Universitario del Chopo, restaurants and cultural venues. They have also participated in the Ollin Kan Festival, the Festival Raíces in Jalapa, the Afrocaribbean Festival in the port of Veracruz and the Festival Cultural Querétaro.

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