Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
The traditional music and dance of Guinea have been preserved and updated through the performances of Wofa. Under the direction of François Kokelaere, the founder of the National Ensemble of Guinean Percussion of Company Wassa, the seven-piece band and three dancers join together to create a show that the Bangor Daily News called "exotic and intriguing." The musicians and dancers of Wofa all hail from the Guinean capital city of Conakry and belong to the caste-less Soussou, one of the most liberal groups in western Africa. Originally performing together in Morciré Camara's Rhythmic Tempo, they took top honors at the first National Percussion Contest in 1988. Renaming themselves Wassa, the group toured throughout the early '90s, performing in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Breaking away from Wassa in 1993, the musicians continued to perform together as Wofa, taking their name from the Soussou words for "come along." Their earliest break came in 1995 when they were chosen out of more than a thousand groups to perform at the African Art and Scene Market in Abidjian. Wofa's sound is propelled by a polyrhythmic combination of drums, rattles, and shakers. The group incorporates such indigenous instruments as the Kryin, a wooden drum shaped like a tree trunk and played with sticks, and the wassakhoumba, an instrument that is made of small calabash discs strung onto a piece of wood, that produces a rattlesnake-like sound.