Idrissa Bangoura: Drumming, Song, and Movement from Guinea
Idrissa Bangoura was born in the Mande region of Guinea and is part of the Susu culture group of West Africa. He speaks Susu, French, and English. Coming from a family of performers, he first learned djembe drumming from his two older brothers, Bengaly and Mohamed. The latter were both soloists for the Ballet Africain de Guinée, based in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. From them, Idrissa learned about proper playing techniques, drum repair, and goat-skin drum head replacement. They also introduced him to the traditional rhythms of Guinea and gave him the knowledge, techniques, and insight necessary to truly enjoy playing the djembe, among the most sophisticated rhythm instruments of Africa.
In addition to being a skillful percussionist, Idrissa is an accomplished athlete and acrobat, formally trained at the Keita Fodeba Centre for Acrobatic Arts, also located in Conakry. He has worked as an instructor, performing artist, dancer, and acrobat, and has toured with the prestigious Montreal, Canada-based equestrian performing company Cavalia in their show Odysseo, which highlights a diverse cast of acrobats, aerialists, riders, and horses from all over the world.
Based in San Diego since 2017, Idrissa teaches acrobatic arts to children and frequently performs with the Fern Street Circus, a local community circus for underserved youth. In the fall of 2021, he joined the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program as a distinguished teaching artist. Students at the Monarch School in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood and at Bird Rock Elementary in La Jolla have been happily immersed in traditional djembe drumming, song, and movement under Idrissa’s able guidance. The Monarch School program is being funded by the Jason Mraz Foundation and Macy’s Foundation.
Because of his diverse training and performance background, Idrissa is able to incorporate aspects of song, movement, dance, and instrumental music performance that offer students in our World Music in the Schools program a view of the culture and the language of the Susu people of Guinea. Idrissa’s passion for teaching is driven by the excitement his students express in learning about cultural traditions and the history of his native country.
We are delighted and proud to have Idrissa Bangoura on our roster of distinguished teaching artists.
Learn more on Idrissa Bangoura’s website. Here’s a YouTube video of Idrissa and daughter Adama performing for the San Diego Unified School District and the Fern Street Circus.