Marafanyi Percussione
trio w/ Jen Starr, vocals &
quartet w/ Erik Lawrence, saxes/flutes

What's Happening

photo by Erin Mills

JUNE 2005
Summer Solstice Already?? - My, my time does fly! Yael and Lara had the good fortune of stepping into a very busy Spring upon returning from a challenging and fruitful trip to Guinea.We were quite busy in the NJ area schools until now, and send special shout-outs to Garden Preschool in Jersey City, the Willow School in Gladstone and The Schoolhouse in Pottersville, where we offered residencies for our 2nd and 3rd years. We had the good fortune of accompanying two incredible dance teachers at several Newark schools for the NJPAC Dance Academy residency program - shout outs to Theara Ward and Linda Sant Ambrogio, we learned much keeping the beat for them! Lara also conducted a successful Wolftrap Early Learning Through the ArtsTM residency (also NJPAC) in Franklin Lakes and Yael is about to dive back into Music Together in NY for the summer months.

We are not only inspired by the kids and teachers we work with but also friends we meet in therapeutic environments. We continue our work with Music For All Seasons and found ourselves empowering a huge group of women at a correctional facility in NJ - we both concur that it was a heart opening connection of the most memorable kind. As well, our time spent with a group of young men at an orphanage in NJ during a residency for Creative Heartwork. We co-facilitated with two outstanding art therapists Jocelyn Bates and Christine Harris as well as resident counselors.

We spent the colder part of the Winter months in Guinea, West Africa - Lara's 4th trip and Yael's 2nd. This time we took a small group of our students and hosted a drum & dance cultural program for them. It was hard work and we all learned much! Shout-outs to the Guinee Hens who made the journey - Hadja, Kami, Bonnie & Deb! Our program was designed as a collaborative venture with Guinea Artistes and was tailor made for our group. Our hats off to the artists from Wamali, Les Etoiles de Boulbinet, Groupe de Sorel and African Sabou Njouma and also our staff of conakry friends who dedicated themselves to our students for 2 weeks, and to us for 2 months! Check back for detailed ramblings about this trip coming soon, and please visit our Guinea Artiste Assistance pages for some great merchandise that generates some income for our friends across the Big Atlantic.

As the weathered warmed we have had the pleasure of accompanying WavesTM workshops with Nadine Fiume, who is a certified teacher of Gabrielle Roth's 5RhythmsTM. Anyone can join this class, even if you think you can't dance Nadine and our music will inspire you to move. Email Nadine for her latest schedule or check our events page.

This Summer we are busy in the Berkshires, YAHOO! We have shows, workshops and interviews coming up including at Frog Lotus Yoga (a gorgeous studio in a beautiful mill that also houses the Contemporary Artists Center and Topia Arts Center (a relatively new venue giving space for all disiplines of the arts along with a cafe which is shaped like a guitar!). See you soon, enshallah!

Bonne et Joyeuse Nouvelle Année! We welcome everyone to the New Year with hopes for relief, peace, love and creative abundance. We started out 2004 opening up for Odetta and finished sharing the stage with the incredible, Hammel on Trial. In between Lara returned for her third trip to Guinea Conakry, this time solo and without a net! She was there for 5 weeks (not long enough!) and not only experienced some of the hottest weather there and the tip of the rainy season, but laid the groundwork for the trip she an Yael are embarking on now (described at the end of this blurb). We have had the joy of doing residencies at Garden Preschool, NJ, The Willow School, NJ and continuing work with The School House, NJ. Lara continues her residency work with NJPAC, while Yael just started her Music Together career both are enjoying the powerful work they have accomplished as teaching artists. The highlight of our summer was running around being groupies for Les Ballets Africains as they toured the USA (see photos in summer highlights below). We had a great write up in the Princeton Packet and enjoyed the day at the NJ Independent Music Festival - thanks so much to Annick Elzière for putting the whole day together. More props to Rev. Frankie Timmers at the First Church of Religious Science in Morristown, NJ, for inviting us to set the tone for an evening with Ram Dass, what a special night - one that connected us with the beautiful people of Montclair Religious Science, thank you all for inviting us into your circle! We had the honor of opening for our friends, Fula Flute Ensemble (consisting of artists from all over the world including Guinea & Mali), at the Underground Concert Series thank you Jamie Ross - for the extra 13 minutes which we turned into our NEW LIVE CD! We had a very successful Guinea Artiste Fundraiser and we give a very big thanks to all our Guinea Hens for their love of life, each other, and their drumming & dancing made it such a fabulous night. Thanks to the Guinee Chicks from Pottersville/Lamington, NJ for all their support - we are looking foward to continuing drumming & dancing with them and their families. We want to give belle belle inouwali to Kathleen Hadja Henkel who has been an incredible supporter and friend for many years - we are so happy that she is sharing the journey with us as well as her doundoun and photographic eye! As we squeaked into the last days of the year we managed to put out the aforementioned LIVE CD with a new name for the trio, Marafanyi Percussione (see translation in December notes) YAHOO! and special thanks to Ray Korona for his engineering expertise in the studio! Now we are off to the shores of Guinea with a handful of our students where we will be co-hosting our first cultural drum/dance program with Sekou Sano, director of Wamali Percussione de Guinee, and son of Kemoko Sano - longtime choreographer for aforementioned Les Ballets Africains. One more big shout out of thanks to all our supporters who have come to our shows, workshops, purchased our music & merchandise, assisted our friends in Guinea and us in our travels therein, and continue to be part of our endeavours. See ya in March with many tales to tell and music/dance to share!!

duo . contact . workshops . performance . africa . purpose . home

Copyright © 2005 Roots Heart Pulse
No part of this website may be copied or used without permission
All Rights Reserved