Partnership with Bwazan Association for Music and Culture in Mali.
You may remember Bassidi Koné from his virtuoso djembe and balaphon playing at one of our workshops or performances. He is incredibly skillful! But did you know he has a 12 piece drum and dance ensemble in Mali called Bwazan who along with being some of the best players in West Africa have also started an association to preserve and support Malian music and culture.
This group never ceases to amaze and inspire me and I feel blessed every time I have the chance to play and hang out with them. Bassidi has come to Australia three times and I spent one month in Mali studying with him and Bwazan. Over this time we have developed a strong friendship and I realised that we also share alot in common. Not just our love of Malian music but also our views on culture, society and what’s important.
Bwazan’s passion for their music and culture is self evident and their decision to start an association solidifies that concretely. The Bwazan Association was formed in February this year (2016) and they put on their first two day festival to begin what I hope is a long and successful journey. Bassidi and Freya had mentioned their plans earlier in the year and when they were here for the Afro Foli Festival we had time to talk about it. We put down some initial plans for how we could work in partnership to help get Bwazan’s more ambitious plans, like starting a school for street kids, off the ground.
In 2017 we will put those plans into action and Rhythm Culture will donate 5% of profits from our school workshops and set up a donations and information table in our classes to raise the funds needed to help make things happen. Students will have the opportunity to donate to the association which will help fund firstly, instruments so Bwazan can start teaching the kids, and then a space to build the school along with other projects. We are super excited about this partnership and look forward to it’s growth and success.