Kono Gnaga in Bambara translates to Bird’s Nest. When birds build their nests they take the time to carefully construct the nest, little by little, piece by piece. They build the nest for a safe place to lay their eggs and raise their young until the baby birds become strong enough to fly off on their own. This sense of carefully constructing a strong foundation for the next generation is the underlying purpose of the organization.
When traditional dancer Solo Sana was asked why he was particularly drawn to traditional dance rather than contemporary dance, he simply said “the Djembe and the Doundoun”. These are the drums that provide the backbone of traditional West African music. With the rapid pace of globalization, little is being done to protect the rich tapestry of West African music and dance. Solo founded Kono Gnaga, a local Malian-based NGO to assist in the preservation of this art form.