15.11.2012 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

The Grand Ballet Bassari performs in Conakry (Guinea) together with Coumba Gawlo

Senegalese artist Coumba Gawlo just went on tour in Conakry, the capital of Guinea together with the Grand Ballet of the Bassari region. Two events were organized for this tour: a show on 9 November at the Palais du Peuple and a giant concert on 10 November, at Boulevard Diallo Telly. Local artists also joined the group.

The Grand Ballet Bassari is the result of a joint UN programme, the MDG-F project entitled “The Promotion of Cultural Initiatives and Industries in Senegal”. This joint programme of UNESCO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNIDO and UNWTO was launched in 2009 and is implemented in close collaboration with local authorities, and in particular with the Cultural Heritage Bureau in Senegal.

“The Grand Ballet Bassari made a great performance that was much appreciated by the audience,” says Ydo Yao of UNESCO Dakar and responsible for the MDG-F project. “Among some twenty groups performing, the Ballet Bassari is the only dance company that promotes local cultural and artistic heritage,” adds Ydo who was present at the two concerts.

Rich cultural diversity 

Under the coordination of UNESCO Dakar, the project covers two regions in Senegal, namely the Pays Bassari in the south east of the country and the Delta du Saloum in the center. These two areas have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List as part of the project.

Other results of the project that will end by the end of 2012, is the construction of two community centers in the villages of Toubacouta (Delta du Saloum) and Bandafassi (Pays Bassari).

After creating the ballet, the main challenge is to help the company becoming better known in Africa and elsewhere, so that the artists involved can draw benefits from their performances.

The ballet gives a snapshot of the region’s rich cultural diversity.

Coumba Gawlo’s support

The renowned Senegalese artist, Coumba Gawlo, has committed with UNESCO to improve girls’ education and promote development through culture.

“We appreciate her support,” says Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO Dakar.

“The audience came to see her but her collaboration with the Ballet Bassari made them discover the Ballet Bassari. Today, Coumba Gawlo’s fans in Conakry have become fans of the ballet as well. It’s wonderful,” adds Ndong-Jatta.

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