30 Sep Gabriel Fara Tolno
GABRIEL FARA TOLNO
Self-Motivated, Visionary, Creative, Perseverant, Entrepreneur, Community Outreach, Energetic, Dedicated, Producer, Director, Choreographer and Accomplished Musician
Born in Guinea, West Africa, Fara spent his youth in the village of Kissidugu and Guinea’s capital city, Conakry. He began playing the djembe drum at the age of nine, performing in ensembles at the age of 15, including nine years as the lead drummer for Les Merveilles de Guinea (The Wonders of Guinea) under the tutelage of West Africa’s most influential director and choreographer, Kemoko Sano. This national ballet performed all around Africa and Europe, bringing Fara to the United States to perform in major theatres in 1998.
For the last fourteen years Fara has been in the United States sharing his culture, teaching, earning a MFA, and playing with musicians of all kinds. He has founded two different performance ensembles and teaches at numerous colleges and universities as well as teaching community drum and dance classes for students of all levels.
Fara founded Project Drum, which is an organization focused on bringing West African music and dance into schools (and other organizations) by working with students, training teachers and performing in schools. Fara has provided access to the rhythms and dance of Guinea through the Rhythm Reference Project (an online library) and Camp Merveilles, an annual nationwide music and dance conference, both of which he founded.
Fara completed his Master of Fine Arts in dance at the University of Colorado in 2012. He has taken this knowledge and found ways to relate and merge the art forms of dance and music from West African and the Western world. Fara shares this new and innovative perspective when teaching in community and university classes, and training members of his ensemble and companies.
His energetic and compassionate teaching style makes him one of the most sought after drum and dance instructors in the United States. As a solo artist, Fara has performed with many of the world’s premier musicians including Mamady Keita, Burning Spear, Neil Young, Sekouba Bambino, BB King, Otis Taylor, Joe Cocker, Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita, Habibe Koite, and many more. He has been a member of many different bands and assisted with many musical recording projects and shows throughout the nation. Fara’s performance style has been described as “mystical” as he dazzles audiences around the world.