Amara Kanté is a world renowned Master percussionist and sought after instructor of the ever popular Djembe drum. In addition to the Djembe Amara plays several other instruments including: Dunduns, Bara, talking drum, Krin, Bolon and Congas. He is an accomplished Artistic Director, a prolific composer and respected African historian. Amara’s knowledge of traditional rhythms is encyclopedic and his talent has attracted numerous collaborations with famous artists such as Mory Kante, Peter Gabriel and the band Big Sugar.
Amara Kanté is a Malinké from the ancient caste of blacksmiths or “Numu”. Although he was born in the Ivory Coast, he is also from Guinea, Conakry. Above all Amara is someone for whom the djembe is a living, structured voice that goes back to the dawn of time. Through the rhythms he plays, he seeks to share this concept with modesty and respect just as he was taught to do by the great percussion masters Mamadou Camara, Sékou ‘Cobra’ Camara, Mamady n’Toman Keita, Famadou Konate, Issa Balo, Soungalo Coulibaly and Mansa Camio.
Amara began drumming in traditional Malinké ceremonies at age 4 and by age 7 began touring as a professional artist throughout Africa, the United States and Europe with celebrated troupes such as Koteba D’Abidjan and Ballets Africains de Guinée. Amara’s skills as a musician and performer in the ballet style were further honed under the direct tutelage of his beloved mentor and friend, legendary West African Artistic Director Mr. Souleymane Koli of Koteba D’ Abidjan group.
In 1998 Amara established KAWAFOLI school of Manding percussion in Marseille, France. He has been integral to the creation of several performance troupes such Benkan Foli (France), Wassa Foli (Trinidad) and Baro Dununba (Toronto). The person who first invited and unleashed Amara on the Toronto music scene in 2005 was none other than Muhtadi (a.k.a. Mr. Muhtadi Thomas), the founder of the world class Muhtadi International Drumming Festival. Most recently he Co-created the annual Kouraba Festival and Co-Founded Kouraba Toronto Centre for Cultural Advancement (Toronto), a not-for profit cultural organization dedicated to the translation of African & world Indigenous wisdom, traditions and artistic expressions.
Rachael Eluan Abah
Rachael Eluan Abah is a producer, artist and keynote speaker. Born in Lagos, Nigeria (West Africa), she studied in England before immigrating to Canada where she later graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature. Rachael’s other areas of expertise include: Religion & Spirituality, Mythology, African dance, glass making, jewelry design and visual merchandising.
In addition, she holds a certificate in Transpersonal Psychotherapeutic modalities for individual and group facilitation.
A career highlight remains an invitation to speak at a 2010 UNESCO event in Trinidad and Tobago, commemorating the abolition of the transatlantic trading of enslaved black Africans.
President & Creative Director
Miracle Graphics Canada
Ian manages and operates Miracle Graphics Canada which produces a range of eye catching designs, logos and large format signs in Toronto. He is an expert in graphic design and printing solutions and for over 20 years has been involved with many design and printing projects, working with companies such as: Transport Canada, Esso, Bilinguallink, Longos, Eversley Thomas; RBC Mobile Mortgage Specialist, V-Tac Payroll Management,…just to name a few.
Ian has also assisted many small and medium sized businesses with their branding and re-branding initiatives. Under his leadership, Miracle Graphics continues to be widely recognized for consistently surpassing client expectations through innovative design concepts, high print quality and competitive rates.
Ian believes investing in ones community is a privilege, which why he often volunteers his expertise as a creative consultant to several organizations right across the Greater Toronto Area.
Stokely McDonald is an audio engineer and a 19 year veteran of the Toronto music scene. He has recorded, edited and mixed for artists residing in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. His work spans several genres and includes recordings for Columbia/Sony Music recording artists Dead Prez and for Tuggstar/Abena Malika (featured on OkayPlayer.com – Ghana).