It’s only fitting that the pioneering conference for Black women would have entertainment that is as equally dynamic as the participants themselves. So, closing this year’s Leading Women Defined conference is an all-female African percussion ensemble who will perform traditional African rhythms for women who march to the beat of a different drum.
Nimbaya!, a group of female drummers and dancers who hail from the West African nation of Guinea, will dance and drum, sharing traditional Guinean beats — but in the most unconventional way possible. Never before has a group of women gathered to play the traditionally male-dominated instrument featured in most West African drumming, the djembe.
The radical idea to form an-all women’s ensemble featuring the djembe was the idea of manager Mamoudou Conde, who previously managed a similar male group. In 1998, Conde decided to not only fill the spots in her newest ensemble with women, but she also decided that those women should come from difficult backgrounds.
By leaving behind their previous life in order to travel with the troupe, each of the women involved are “engaged in a fight for survival through the development of a lucrative art form, capable of supporting its members.”
The women first performed in 2002 and completed their first national U.S. tour in 2004.
BET Networks annual Leading Women Defined conference takes place in Washington, D.C., from March 19–21. Conference attendees include hand-selected top African-American women executives, CEOs, law firm partners, celebrities and leaders who gather to discuss issues facing African-American women and their communities.
Find out more about Leading Women Defined at: www.BET.com/lwd
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(Photo: Courtesy of http://www.amazoneswomandrummers.com/history.html)