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Don’t miss this performance

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:On Aug. 17-18, my favorite group out of Africa arrives in Aspen. Les Ballets Africains comes for three performances at the Performance Center in the middle school. Do not miss this dance event, they are the pride of Africa and the Republic of Guinea. Many years ago while coaching the Liberian national volleyball team, I attended the opening of the African Games in Dakar, Senegal, at a large soccer stadium. Guinea did not send teams to the games; rather President Sekou Toure sent his national ballet to entertain.With all the teams, guests and President Leopold Senghor in attendance the Ballets Africains performed on the field. In my life I have yet to hear and see anything so beautiful, koras and marimbas and drums and griots singing in that high falsetto voice with their gowns blowing in the breeze. We heard and witnessed the magnificence of this ballet. The uniqueness of this music has stayed with me since 1963. Years later I saw the ballet in NYC and Washington, D.C., and always marveled at the energy of this ballet.There is a children’s ballet in the afternoon and I highly recommend this for the valley’s kids. But do not miss Les Ballets Africains, it is a spectacle not unlike a live performance of Cirque du Soleil. And you will love the music; it comes from the rainforest of Guinea, from the Mandingo people and is authentically tribal in nature. It is the music I heard as a Peace Corps volunteer in the rainforest of Liberia at festival and sometimes just for FAC.Wildize Foundation is hosting the group Jyemo and a truly African Market at Iguana’s (Highlands) that should make this middle week of August feel very African indeed. Having viewed the items in the market I have to say this collection is “over the top.”Tickets are available to the African Market that include the performance of Les Ballets Africains on the night of the Aug. 17. Jyemo from Boulder plays some very nice West African highlife with great drumming. As a lifelong witness to African music and culture, I am so there.Andy HansonAspen


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