SOWA 2011

Spirit of West Africa Festival

The Festival

The Spirit of West Africa Festival is an extraordinary event that takes place at the Seattle Center every year.  This festival, produced by local Senegalese griot musician, Thione Diop, showcases the sizzling talents of West African musicians, dancers, and artists in the Seattle area and from around the country and brings the community together to celebrate the rich culture and heritage of the West African people.


Experience the excitement, richness and beauty of West Africa through live music, dance, art, film, exhibits, fashion show, marketplace and more at Seattle Center Festal: Spirit of West Africa, May 7th, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m, in Center House.

This lively and colorful festival features traditional performances by world-class griots artists from Senegal, Ghana, Guinea, Benin, Gambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Liberia.

West Africa is the motherland of traditional rhythms that have given birth to the modern music of the Caribbean and Brazil and to American jazz, hip-hop, blues and rock and roll.  Tightly woven polyrhythms, where each drummer plays a specific contrasting part of the larger rhythm, work together synergistically to create a river of sound that will move you to dance.

Keepers of West African culture, griot families of traditional musicians, drummers and dancers, have kept this music alive over hundreds of generations.  Their presence is essential to all celebrations in the lives of West Africans.  It is with drum and dance that the community is united, strengthened and elevated and the rites of passage of its members lives are celebrated.

The Spirit of West Africa is produced by Thione Diop and the Seattle Center.

Keep checking this site for up to date information. RSVP on Facebook or for more information directly contact Thione Diop at 206-290-5560 or thionediopmusic at gmail dot com.


Noon- 1:00
Makeda Ebube
Congolese Dance Workshop

Naby Camara &Lagni Sussu
Music from Guinea

Yirim Seck
Senegalese Hip-hop

Foday Musa Suso
Kora master from The Gambia

Best of Both Worlds Fashion Show
Nansare Consolata and many volunteers

4:15 – 4:45
Mapathe Diop
Sabar from Senegal featuring Fama N’Diaye (dancer)

Kutt-N Up

Dr. W. Joye Hardiman

Thione Diop & Yeke Yeke
Senegalese percussion featuring Dora Oliveira (Brazilian dancer)

De Cajon Project

Alpha Yaya Diallo
Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter from Guinea

Kasumai Africa

The Show

Kasumai Africa returns with an afternoon of exciting West African music and dance, 3:00 pm October 23 at the Northshore Performing Arts Center (NPAC) in Bothell.

This year Thione Diop brings a collaboration of  traditional African and American jazz performers to the NPAC stage, vividly demonstrating the African roots of American jazz and Brazilian traditional music. The first set will be Afro-jazz fusion and the second set traditional African, with a finale of the two joining together as one.

Dancers  are N’Nato Camara, Guinea; Etienne Cakpo, Benin; Fama N’Diaye, Senegal; Siya Manyakanyaka Kelley, South Africa; Dora Oliveira Newman, Brazil; Abdoulaye Sylla, Guinea; Karim Koumbassa, Guinea; and Manimou Camara, Guinea.

Musicians, including Thione Diop, traditional Senegalese percussionist, are Magatte Sow and Gora Diop, Senegal, percussion; Karamo Susso, Gambia, 21 string kora ; Naby Camara, Guinea, balafon; and native born U.S., Leif Totusek, guitar; Naomi Siegel, trombone; Hans Teuber, saxophone and flute; Chad McCullough, trumpet; Brady Milliard-Kish, bass guitar; and Aaron Walker-Loud, drum set.

Northshore Performing Arts Center is located at 18125 92nd Ave NE, Bothell 98011.

Ticket prices for Kasumai Africa are Adults/$25, Seniors/$22, and Youth under 17 yrs/$15. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (425) 984-2471 Monday – Friday from noon to 4:00 pm.

See some of the previous amazing performances under our videos section!


Make sure to order your tickets early. The show completely sold out last time.  You may order your ticketsonline or by calling the NPAC Foundation ticket line at (425) 408-7988.