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About Fonziba

Fonsiba has been teaching and performing on African hand drums since 1995. She has conducted over 500 African drumming programs in schools, libraries, museums and churches throughout the Midwest and is on the roster of artists for the Iowa, Illinois and Missouri arts councils' Arts in Education programs. Fonsiba has also presented many character-building workshops at Midwest schools as part of the nationwide CHARACTER COUNTS!® program.

Graduating cum laude from New York's Alfred University in 1976, Fonsiba earned a BA in music education and was nominated for Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges. For the next seventeen years, she arranged and directed original vocal works for a multi-national, non-profit educational group performing in Holland, Switzerland, Thailand, India, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

During Fonsiba's in-depth training in African drumming and culture, she benefited from the rare opportunity to study extensively with master drummers from the West African countries of Mali, Guinea, Senegal and the Ivory Coast (see list below), and received regular and intensive instruction from the renowned Malian drummer, Madou Dembele. In 2003, Fonsiba toured Midwest schools with Mr. Dembele and performed for the general public with Mr. Dembele and his drum troupe, Super Yankadi. She has also helped bring other West African drum and dance teachers to the Midwest for performances and workshops.

In the summer of 2003, Fonsiba spent six weeks in Mali and the Ivory Coast, living with the Dembele family, a family of drummers whose training and traditions go back over thirty generations. While in the Ivory Coast, Fonsiba apprenticed with Dramane Dembele, and played for African weddings three-five times each week as part of his drum troupe. She produced a documentary video about her experiences in West Africa, “Gifts from Mother Africa,” which is now an important component of many of her offerings.

When not teaching in schools, Fonsiba gives workshops, classes and private lessons in West African drumming in her hometown of Fairfield, Iowa, in Des Moines, Iowa, and throughout the Midwest.

Fonsiba's drum instructors include:

Madou Dembele, Mali and Ivory Coast
Dramane Dembele, Mali and Ivory Coast
Abdoul Doumbia, Mali
Sidi Joh Camara, Mali
Mohammed Da Costa, Guinea
Mamady Keita, Guinea
Djimo Kouyate, Senegal
Mar Gey, Senegal
Osei Apagye, Ghana
Tam Tam Mandinque, USA
Ubaka Hill, USA
Arthur Hull, USA
Gordy Ryan, USA
Beverlee Botsford, USA
Adam Rugo, USA
Candace Freeland, USA

 

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Fonziba performing with Madou Dembele and Super Yankadi

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Fonziba playing the Doundounba with Mamady Keita

Fonziba playing with Dramane Dembele
Fonziba and Dramane Dembele playing for a wedding

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Fonziba with African woman playing a calabash in the Ivory Coast

     

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