Brazilian-Guinean singer and dancer Fanta Konate will bring her African Sensory Experience to Chicago from December 1 to 10, 2010 as part of a cultural exchange program sponsored by The Illinois-Sao Paulo Chapter of Partners of the Americas. A native of Sao Paulo Brazil, Fanta’s public performances of music and dance in schools, with dance companies, and in cultural settings epitomizes the African influence in Brazilian music and dance and highlights parallels to African influence in the arts in Chicago.
“Chicago and Sao Paulo have a common heritage in the Manden culture which spread to Brazil and the United States through the African Diaspora,” said Chris Preissing, Illinois-Sao Paulo Partners Board Member and volunteer coordinator for the Fanta Konate trip. “It is the goal of this project to use the music and dance of the Manden Culture to engage at risk youths and professionals who work with disadvantaged youths to increase human potential and create environmental sustainability,” added Preissing.
Direct artistic work over the 10 day exchange will reach over 1,000 and include students in Evanston, through the BooCoo Cultural and Music Center, and in Chicago through the Old Town School of Music field trip program, University of Illinois Chicago theater department, Columbia College, Loyola and DePaul Universities. Educational and cultural activities will reach approximately 500 through the Chicago Public Schools, the Kovler Center for Survivors of Torture and more.
Founder of the Africa Vivá Institute, Fanta had her training in the African Ballet styles of “Hamaná,” “Fareta,” “Bolonta,” “Soleil d’Afrique,” and “Sangbarala,” the style of her village. Whether performing deeply traditional West African themes with her sisters and brothers in Troupe Djembedon or with other guest artists and collaborators in the “Contemporary Diaspora” style, Fanta Konatê always delights audiences with her mastery of a variety of timbres, styles and tempos.
Dancer and Singer Fanta Konate is the daughter of Master Djembefola Famoudou Konatê. Her work represents a fusion of Manden culture often combined with the music therapy of her husband and artistic collaborator Luis Kinugawa. Their work originated in the “Biomusic Without Borders” work in 1998 in Brazil, and has continued with social projects in Guinea and Sierra Leone from 2000 to 2002 with Non-Profit Organizations “Warchild,” “Doctors Without Borders,” and “Refugee Children of the World,” training as many as 40 art educators to work with 1,000 to 1,500 refugees at time.
Founded in 1965, Partners of the Americas is a not-for-profit volunteer organization committed to working together as citizen volunteers from Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States to improve the lives of people across the hemisphere. We not only dream of a better world, we roll up our sleeves and make a difference. Illinois-Sao Paulo (IL-SP) Partners is one of 120 Chapters and 60 Partnerships working to foster cooperation across the Western Hemisphere.
For more information visit us at www.illinois-saopaulo-partners.org, or find us on Facebook, Partners of the Americas Illinois-Sao Paulo Chapter.