Sidi Mohamed “Joh” Camara
Sidi Mohamed Camara, popularly known as “Joh,” was born in Bamako, Mali in West Africa. Surrounded by great artists and musicians as a child, Joh started traditional dance and drumming at the age of five. On his father’s side, he comes from the Camara ancestry that ruled in Mande Society. However, he mastered the art of music and dance from his mother, Fanta Kamissoko, a well-known Jali. Jalis, also known as Griots, are highly venerated in their traditional society as skilled oral historians who are not only singers, storytellers, and musicians, but also advisors and mediators.
With his award-winning dance companies (Troupe Sewa, Troupe Mande, Troupe du District de Bamako, and Percussion Fabla), Sidi has toured the Republic of Mali and many countries in West Africa presenting hundreds of shows. As Chief Choreographer of Troupe Mande and Troupe Sewa, Sidi led them to become among the most renowned and competitive troupes in the world of West African dance and drumming.
In 1995, with the famous Zani Diabate and Troupe Mande, Sidi came to the United States. In a very short time, he was presenting and teaching at some of our most prestigious universities: Brown, Princeton, Brandeis, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Berklee School of Music, Boston University, Washington University, and Olympia (Washington State). He currently teaches in numerous Boston Public Schools and other public and private schools and community centers. He also collaborates with organizations such as: Boston Ballet, Boston Symphony Youth Orchestra and Choir, Upward Bound, Planet Aid and others. Nationally, Sidi has presented at various museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. He has also taught at various dance and music conferences.
Sidi Mohamed “Joh,” Camara presently resides in Boston, where he continues to teach traditional Mande culture, language, music, and dance as well as those of neighboring Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. In addition to holding weekly classes in Boston and touring the United States, Canada, and France, he currently teaches at various community centers and instructs a semester dance and drumming class at Boston University and Harvard University. Through his willingness to share at national conferences, community workshops, and academic engagements, Sidi continues to enhance cross-cultural exchanges and to make a positive imprint on the fabric of cultural arts and education in America.
Students will learn a dance from Mali. Students will learn the cultural and historical context for each dance. The class begins with a warm-up, and progresses to energetic dancing to live drumming (djembe and djun-djun). Come experience one of the most skilled and enthusiastic master dancers/teachers and one of the premier West African classes in terms of energy. During class Joh tailors his teaching to accommodate all levels of dancers. Class is accompanied by live percussion by African drum masters.