New Moon Ensemble members share a love for the music and dance of Guinea, West Africa, the accompanying traditions, and the gift of intercultural exchange. As an ensemble family, we represent and embrace diverse ethnicities, build community and inspire international study and collaboration through the healing power of music and dance.
On August 11, three of New Moon Ensemble's members will share with the community at the Springvale Public Library: Multi-talented musician Annegret Baier from Germany, dancer/choreographer Marita Kennedy-Castro from Wabanaki Confederacy territory/Maine, dancer Megu Hirayama from Japan, and Sayon Camara master drummer from Guinea, Africa.
Honoring the cultural source and origins of this art form, our performances celebrate the uplifting rhythms and dances of Guinea, West Africa.
Annegret Baier grew up in Germany and received her classical music training in violin, voice, and piano from the University of Music in Stuttgart. She has studied with master drummers from Guinea, Ghana, Cuba, and Brazil. She has done several residencies with her primary teacher, Famoudou Konate, in Conakry, Guinea. She maintains a busy performance schedule throughout Maine and New England, performing solo and with the bands: Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, and The Zulu Leprechauns. When she is not touring or giving school residencies for all-age students, she teaches individual and group drumming classes and gives workshops throughout New England. She is a knowledgeable teacher not only of percussion but of the role of drumming in the African music culture. Her workshops include descriptions of West African culture and invite the direct participation of the listeners in rhythmic training exercises including body percussion, movement, and drumming.
Marita Kennedy-Castro is an embodied movement artist, dance educator, and intercultural bridge-builder. She is the founder of Embody the Rhythm and co-director, choreographer, and performer with the New Moon Ensemble. She resides in the unceded Wabanaki Confederacy territory we've learned to call Maine under colonization. Marita shares a lifetime of dance and movement exploration and training, and over 20 years of study with master dancers from Guinea, West Africa. She received the encouragement and blessing to teach Guinea traditional dance from world-renowned dance artist and cultural ambassador, Youssouf Koumbassa. Marita is passionate about contributing to cultural preservation, building intercultural communities, and illuminating avenues to healing through movement as medicine. In addition to building community through her group classes, workshops, and artist residencies, she enjoys supporting individuals in finding connections to their personal movement freedom through private individualized lessons. She completed her thesis in Dance & Performance Art for Healing & Social Change at Goddard College.
Sayon Camara is an extremely talented djembefola with an intimate knowledge of the music for all the drums of the Malinke culture and an impeccable sense of time. Whether experiencing Sayon as a teacher or performer in classes, at workshops, celebrations, schools or other events, Sayon will take you places in drumming and traditional Guinean music that you didn’t know were possible and will do so with contagious joy. He is comfortable teaching and performing in any setting, for adults and children (whom he is wonderful with!) alike. He has been instructing workshops and classes in Guinea for fifteen years as well as being sought after for many celebratory occasions, both private and public. He has experience working with people from all walks of life, from many different countries.
In addition to his first CD, Sayon Barana, and second CD, Nyenema, Sayon is currently working on a third one. Prior to producing his own CDs, Sayon played on five of Famoudou Konate’s CDs, world renowned djemebefola from Guinea.
Photo by Liany Media
Photo by Troy Bennett