Do the Djun Djun with Delou Africa's Drum and Dance Festival

It was the full-bodied movements of those bare-breasted women that first lit Njeri Plato-Dioubate's long-term love affair with West African dance. And it was enough to convince the Trinidad-born performer, who had previously focused on Caribbean folklore dancing, to permanently change course. "It just captured me," says Plato-Dioubate. She remembers marveling at the dancers, thinking, "Wow, this is life."

Give yourself a taste of the exotic this weekend by checking out the inaugural African Diaspora Dance and Drum Festival of Florida. Discover the instruments, join a drumming workshop, learn to sing, and do the downward dog with Plato-Dioubate's Delou Africa Dance Ensemble.

First, learn your instruments. Think of the shekere -- a hollowed-out gourd covered in a netting of seeds -- as an African maraca, and the balafon as a wooden glockenspiel you tickle with padded sticks. As you might have guessed, there'll be plenty of drum-bangin' at this soiree. You'll learn how to make infectious beats on djun djun, djembe, kutiro, and other African percussion. And in addition to drumming workshops, the three-day festival features West African dance and song classes, yoga, and a seminar on holistic health and HIV/AIDS awareness.

Established in 1987, the 18-member dance ensemble has carved out a small but successful niche for itself. "Since 2000, we've been planning in our heads for this," says Plato-Dioubate.

African Diaspora Dance and Drum Festival of Florida. August 6 to 8, 2010. Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212-260 NE 59th Terr., Miami. Tickets cost $10-$16. Call 305-978-3866 or visit delouafrica.com.

-- Kaila Heard

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >