BAY MO DILO
I have been so connected to rhythm that it has become a part of my being. From day to night, the sound of Kase Ko, one of the main rhythms of traditional Creole culture, lulls generations through time. In this work I want to present my understanding of my culture through my experience in the urban environment using traditional rhythms of drums, dance and song. Our memory is from those who have passed and lived extraordinary lives and sacrificed themselves for their vision and inspired generations to come, like a child in front of the beating of the tambou. -- Tamango
Integral to the music of the French Caribbean is the tibwa (clave), two sticks hit against a piece of wood. For every person born into the culture, the resonate sound of the tibwa brings back the memory of the tradition, it is the keeper of the rhythm through the ages throughout the land. The tibwa player masters time and rhythm leading the call and response – a central part of all traditions from the African Diaspora. The tibwa is the base of the work setting time, energy, and continuity through music and dance. Full of beats and pulses, the rhythms in the French Caribbean differ and are influenced by the native cultures and the colonizing powers. Then and now they signal social, political and cultural communication. This work is a deeper look at the base rhythms and movement from this part of the world.
Another core inspiration is poet Léon-Gontrand Damas. A founder of the Negritude movement in France, Damas is the most famous poet of French Guiana. In his book, “Veiller Noire,” (Night Vigil) Damas tells of an elder who gathers people under mango trees at night to tell how life was once a time when men spoke with the animals and plants. Several cultures partake in storytelling, but the significance here is taken from the midnight hour and the reverence to nature. The dark provided a time when those whose culture was invaded or those who had been taken from their native land gathered in secret. Again, a common thread in cultures from the African Diaspora –night brings the only veil of security to share ancient traditions and spirituality. In Bay Mo Dilo, Tamango, together with video artist Jean de Boysson, creates an environment where storytelling and rhythms are sheltered and shared.
Bay Mo Dilo was developed with dancers and musicians from Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Haiti, Cote d’Ivoire, France and French Guiana. The first draft of the work was developed at Summerdance Santa Barbara in July 2005. The artists resumed in September 2006 with a technical residency at The Egg-Empire State Center for the Arts in Albany, NY complete with a preview performance then followed by a two week creative residency at the White Oak Residency Center in Florida to bring it all together. Bay Mo Dilo premiered at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, October 11-14, 2006 as the first presentation of their inaugural season. The tour resumes in 2007 with engagements at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Universal Musical Society in Ann Arbor, The Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut and The Joyce Theater in New York City. Bay Mo Dilo has received support from Creative Capital Foundation, Altria Group, Inc., and the National Dance Project, a program administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.
“Bay Mo Dilo is like a long incantatory dream, a percussive ritual built around Tamango's electrifying tap dancing. Tamango evokes the culture of his childhood in a village in the South American French colony of French Guiana, summoning personal and racial memories that echo in the rhythms and movement of his six drummers and dancers, and in the gorgeous imagery of video artist and co-director Jean de Boysson.”
- Jordan Levin, The Miami Herald