Efe Bes & Bambuti


“BAMBUTI” drum/dance troupe was founded by Efe Bes for the purpose of keeping alive the spirit of the Bambuti people. This name was selected by Efe after years of research and his communications with the ancient ancestors through the drums. The style presented by this group is a cumulative blend of traditional African drumming and dance of many African groups of people from Congo to Senegal to Ethiopia and Sudan blended with today’s hip hop, house, jazz and techno to develop this evolution of African drumming and dance that Efe has termed Afire-tech. Traditionally, specific types of drumming and dancing were used for many purposes including communication, rites of passage ceremonies, change of season ceremonies, mating, circumcision, marriage, births, deaths, etc. The drumbeats and dances of “BAMBUTI” represent all that our ancestors did. The core group consists of a master drummer; Efe Bes, known internationally for his evolutionary African rhythms and innovative drumming style; playing up to 20 drums simultaneously–most of which are African drums including the jun-jun, sabar, and atumpan, and 2-16 dancers performing choreographed as well as free style dancing to these drumbeats. The dancers are trained by international dance teacher and choreographer; Ma’at Zachary, bringing the energy of over 20 years dance experience with a concentration in Congolese dance. She is also Bambuti co-founder, artistic director, and lead dancer. At the beginning of most performances ,the audience is educated by the retelling of this story by Bambuti’s Africanstorian; Olayame Dabls who is key to the groups introduction. Additionally, performances will sometimes include capoeira-fighting demonstrations, break dancers, African singing, acrobatics, stiltwalkers, poetry readings, guest drummers, speakers and the playing of other African musical instruments (i.e. kora, balafon, shakere, & kalimba). This performance is like nothing you’ve ever witnessed before and will enjoy seeing again and again.

Who are the Bambuti?

Several thousand of the Bambuti Ba’twa people used to live in the low equatorial forests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Bambuti are a nomadic ethnic group, they were regarded with fear and they live in the Ituri Tropical Rain Forest. The Bambuti are master of polyphonic and polyrhythmic music, No other people in Africa play music like the Bambuti. Using what some call a septatonic scale, the Bambuti create circular rhythms that everyone participates in and creates. In the 1970s, their lands were designated a Zoological and Forest Reserve and a national park to protect the gorillas. They attempted to evict the Bambuti, in the name of conservation. Today the park is full of people mining ore coltan and the gorillas, baboons, porcupine, wild boar and monkeys are being “systematically killed.” “Life was healthy and good but we have become beggars, thieves and prowlers,” said one Bambuti chief. Recently there has been a policy enacted to transport the Bambuti out and into Village-type reservations. The government is trying to assist the Bambuti and improve their living conditions which are inconsistent with those of the rest of the nation. It is difficult to convince the Bambuti to change their nomadic ways, because the Bambuti community has live in harmonious symbiosis with its environment for several thousands of years. The majority have abandoned the government’s experiment to settle and have returned to the forest.

Pictured: Efe on Monster Island, Efe CDs are available at Bookbeat.For booking information: 313 506 8476 or 313 653 4933 mbadmuseum@yahoo.com

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4 comments on “Efe Bes & Bambuti
  1. I love West African dance and Mehmuna n the twins u guys are great! The show was a hit! This summer Mehmuna ur Exerdance performance was great and I enjoyed dancing n it!

  2. Dear Efe-
    I will not be able to use your services this weekend. three priests from Ghana are going to play drums.

    But I hope to stay in contact and have you play on another occasion.

    Thank you,
    Carol Hofer

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