Master percussionist from West Africa introduces ADSB’s French language students to traditional drumming


Master percussionist Fana Soro will be at Algoma District School Board (ADSB) high schools this week introducing students to traditional playing techniques of the djembé, West Africa’s most popular drum. A focus of Fana’s presentation will be the sharing of the French language for students (intermediate and high school) who are studying French language.

Fana will perform onstage for students and break out into workshop sessions where he can interact more closely with students, all the while conversing in French and encouraging students to do the same.

Fana hails from the Senoufo tribe in northern Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and, as a dancer, spent 9 years as a member of the prestigious Ballet National de Cote d’Ivoire touring England, Holland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia, Martinique and West Africa.  He has lived in Norway and Vancouver and now calls Ottawa home along with his family.

His art and use of the African-French language will serve to remind students of the global opportunities available to those with a second language. Reports estimate that the French language has the fifth most speakers in the world after Mandarin, English, Spanish, Arabic and Hindi.  The French language is also learned in every country in the world. As such, it encourages intercultural exchanges, the flow of ideas and finding common interest internationally and serves as a driver for economic growth and development.

According to a report issued by Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie “…in 2014, in 102 countries and territories, about 274 million people can speak French. In this French-speaking galaxy, 212 million people living on this planet are also born and bred in French. This “galaxy”, the nucleus and heart of the French-speaking world, includes people from every continent and culture, but is mainly and increasingly made up of people living in Africa.”

The report, titled The French Language Worldwide (2014) goes on to say, “The French language is our common property. As French speakers we do not only share its use, we also share the responsibility for its development and dissemination. As can be seen in this new edition of The French Language Worldwide, French includes a widening circle of speakers but whose centre is gradually more rooted in Africa. So Africans will be deciding the future of the Francophone world.”

Algoma District School Board reminds students and parents of the benefits gained from learning French as a second language.  The following statistics are shared in the 2014 report:

French is

  • the 4th most used language on the Internet;
  • the 3rd most used language in business;
  • the 2nd most used language in international information and the media;
  • the 2nd working language of most international organizations; and
  • the 2nd most learned language in the world.

In the continent of Africa, with 54 different countries and where, within a country like the Ivory Coast there may be 65 different languages, the only way to communicate with those outside your area may be the common Official Language – French.  In fact, 54.5% of the francophones in the world live in Africa.

The presentation by Fana Soro will open students’ minds to a different culture.  As Fana says, “When we are together, we are a community, we are all people with one heart and two hands.”

Fana Soro Drumming Performances and Workshops:

Wednesday October 21st at White Pines Collegiate

On stage (auditorium) performance  10:25am to 11:25am

Workshop #1 – 12:35pm to 1:35pm
Workshop #2 – 1:50pm to 2:50pm

Thursday October 22nd at Korah Collegiate

On stage (auditorium) performance   9:10am to 10:10am

Workshop #1 – 10:25am to 11:25am
Workshop #2 – 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Friday October 23rd at Superior Heights Collegiate

Workshop #1 – 9:05am to 10:05am
Workshop #2 – 10:25am to 11:25am
Workshop #3 – 12:35pm to 1:35pm
Workshop #4 – 1:50pm to 2:50 pm

(No on stage performance this day)