Sault Students Sing to the Sounds of Soro

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Hundreds of fascinated French immersion students participated in a unique African cultural opportunity this week right in the comfort of their school gymnasium. Fana Soro, an Ottawa-based master percussionist and dancer formerly from the Ivory Coast presented musical traditions of his home country to students of all ages.

“It’s a wonderful community,” he said about the Sault. “Everyone is smiling when I come around.”

This week’s visit is the second time Soro has performed in Sault Ste. Marie, with today’s performance taking place at St. Mary’s French Immersion. Working mostly with Francophone students, Soro visits over one hundred schools per year across Canada. He has been delivering his program since he immigrated to Vancouver almost twenty years ago.

Soro leads a group dance.
Soro leads a group dance at St. Mary’s French Immersion.

Soro’s central educational theme was listening skills; he tested the students on their attentiveness while simultaneously teaching Ivorian greetings. Using mostly the Djembe drum and Balafon (wooden xylophone), Soro vigorously introduced melodies and rhythms. Using a call-and-response delivery in his mother tongue of Senuofo, Soro entranced the young audience and engaged them almost immediately. A small group of students had the opportunity to dance in unison, and others formed an ensemble for Soro’s finale.

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Soro instructs students on how to keep a beat.

Fana Soro will perform for the secondary student’s at St. Mary’s College French Immersion tomorrow.

Check out a few clips from his performance below:

More photos:

About Fana Soro:

Fana Soro is a musician, dancer and educator from Ivory Coast, where he was a member of the prestigious Ballet national de Côte d’Ivoire for nine years. He is now the creative director of Masabo and opened the Masabo Music and Dance Studio based in Vancouver. Fana spent six years touring with the Rikskonsertene (which is to Norway’s schools what Prologue is to Ontario’s). He also was the artist-in-residence at the International Museum for Children’s Art in Oslo. Since 1997, he has been a cultural ambassador for West Africa, bringing his vast experience of engaging students to hundreds of Canadian schools.

For more information, visit masconline.ca