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Tabala: Rhythms of the Wind

TABALA sounds the beat of the drums for Quebec's hottest African artists. In this film filled with song and dance, an eclectic group of performers tell their stories, explore their creative traditions, personal visions and artistic connections. Shot on location in street festivals, world beat venues, and behind the scenes in rehearsals, dance workshops and recording studios, TABALA portrays the struggle of talented artists of the African diaspora to carve out their rightful place within the spectrum of Canada's performing arts. The film, produced by Nutaaq Media and directed by Erica Pomerance, premiered at Montreal's Maison de la Culture Frontenac on February 28th 1997, as the closing event in celebration of Black History Month. It also had its first network cable broadcast, the same evening, on Vision TV.

The artists:
JOUJOU TURENNE spins a magical tale. This actress and dancer of Haitian origin became a household figure in the children's television series Passe-Partout and Mon Amie Maya. Lately Joujou's career is a fairy tale come true, as she travels the globe, enchanting international audiences with legends and myths of the African diaspora. The story she weaves throughout the film is The Lord of the Wind, an allegory of the African diaspora.

LORRAINE KLAASEN is one of Canada's top World Beat performers. Winner of the 1997 Martin Luther King award for top black performer, Lorraine is a charismatic vocalist who sings in many tongues and dances up a storm with her band Soweto Groove. After years of self-imposed exile, Lorraine recently returned to South Africa on tour. The film documents a return visit to Quebec by her mother Tandie Klaasen, a famous singer and anti-apartheid activist. Our film documents the mother-daughter reunion concert at Montreal's Club Soda, under the banner Together at Last...

OUMAR NÕDIAYE spent his youth training and touring as a spectacular acrobatic dancer and drummer with the world-famous Grands Ballets de Guinée. He was invited by percussionist Francine Martel to join Takadja, a hybrid troupe of Quebecois and West African musicians, winners of the 1996 Global Music Juno Award. Our film takes in a recording session and a breath taking outdoor concert at the Festival d'Été in historic Québec City.

ZAB MABOUNGOU is an inspired Congolese solo dancer /choreographer. This outspoken artist teaches philosophy and dance, and gives frequent performances and workshops across North America and Africa. TABALA captures Zab's latest creation on stage and follows her on a research trip to Central Africa.

LILISON CORDEIRO is a talented musician and visual artist from Guinée Bissau. His country's fight for independence has deeply marked his art. In his own words: 'Born in Africa, I have chosen America. Two worlds, two visions, but one and the same universe.'

BOUBACAR DIABATE is Quebec's resident griot minstrel from Senegal. Dressed in flowing robes, he accompanies himself on the kora, or African harp. For centuries, griots have transmitted the oral history of Mali, which flourished before the era of colonisation. Our film features Boubacarat the Vues D'Afrique film festival with ace bassist Michel Donato.

VOVO CONCEICAO makes music that cooks! Leader of the jazz fusion group Saramanda and master of the Yoruban bata drums, this percussionist from Bahia in Brazil is a regular at the Montreal Jazz Festival and at jazz clubs around town. VOVO also teaches traditional drumming to the younger generation.

ASSAR SANTANA is a Brazilian percussionist/singer/ song writer and author of mixed African-Amerindian origin. She heads up Shamell no 6, a unique all-women band who delivers a spicy and original blend of Afro-Latin jazz and funk.

Purchase Tabala: Rhythms of the Wind at Mushkeg Media
Format: Betacam SP, 52 min.
Location: Quebec
Versions: French, English
Co-producer/Writer/Director: Erica Pomerance
Producer: George Hargrave
Camera: Werner Volkmer
Sound: Craig Lapp
Production Manager: Sylvie Krasker
Editor/Animation: Jason Levy
Artwork, Graphics: Taki Ebwenze, Gerard Cheong

With the participation of Telefilm Canada, Multiculturalism Canada, Cable Production Fund, for broadcast on Vision TV, CFCF,Knowledge Network,SCN,TV5