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Has there ever been a time when you felt yourself connected to other New Yorkers (or other Americans) in spite of, or maybe because of, your differences?

Drum and Dance


I’ve been drumming almost eight years in a dance school near Union Square. It’s a place I really enjoy: the music, the energy, the sound, the movement. When you get into the school, you see a studio with colorful art on the walls, and a lot of smiles. The people are happy.

What’s it sound like? It sounds just amazing. The energy: you see it, you smell it, you can even touch it. And there’s a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot of energy. The music talks; it’s a different language. The drummers talk to each other through the music and talk to the dancers, without any words.

It’s just drums and dance. People hear different types of music; people dance. It makes them feel like they’re not in New York. I’m from Mali, and other drummers are from Senegal, Guinea, Haiti, Brazil, Cuba. We have different rhythms. We speak a different language inside. The dancers hear different sounds, and they wear the lapa, an African fabric wrap. You can see them really enjoy dancing to live music.

Drummers, dancers—we all connect. When it’s good, it’s good.