Fara Tolno – is a drummer from Guinea, more specifically Kissidougou and Conakry. His website has information on his early drum studies and his recent carrier. His album, ‘Binye’ (respect), is available for purchase here.
This video shows him performing a jembe solo during a Merveille de Guinnea performance in late 2005. He is accompanied by Mohammed Camara, Fode Mousa Camara, and Ismaël Bangoura.
He is currently based in Boulder, Colorado where he established Kissidougou (Kissidugu), a West African drum and dance troupe in 2004. [The website has a few broken links – ‘meet the troupe’, ‘press kit’] The group’s MySpace has only one sound file and has not been updated since November of 2007, but has an interesting piece about the organizations goal to spread West African music not just in America, but also by establishing a music school in Guinea.
There are several video links on the Kissidougou website.
The first was taken at a Kissidougou performance at the Boulder Theater in August of 2006.
The second was shot about a year ago and explains Kissidougou’s mission of spreading West African music as well as issues that have come up regarding the group’s predominantly white racial composition. It concludes with Fara Tolno’s powerful a capella words, “It’s amazing to me how deeply this music affects people of all cultures. Everyone is trying to find a way to connect to their sources. For me to preserve this music and culture, I have to share it with everyone who is willing to open their heart and mind to it. And this is how I can help them connect to themselves and God.”
The third video features a balafon solo by Facinet Bangoura.
Kissidugu is run in conjunction with Project Drum, a musical education outreach organization in Boulder.
Tolno released an instructional jembe DVD, recorded in Michigan in January 2003, called, ‘FaraBaKan: Traditional West African Djembe Performance‘ featuring Fodé Bangoura, Mamady Sano, and Ismaël Bangoura. A short clip is available here.