Kono Gnaga’s mission is to preserve traditional music and dance through the following three components:
Cultural preservation efforts are centered on research and promotion of traditional African arts, specifically music and dance. Projects focus on travel to particular regions to explore cultural traditions in dance and music with the objective to carry out documentation, both written and recorded, that can be preserved, protected and used to assist in authentic transmission through the generations.
Programs are implemented to facilitate transmission of accurate information, movement, and music to younger generations. Working with youth we will assist individuals, particularly those coming from marginalized and vulnerable populations, to foster an interest in the arts through programs promoting self-confidence, pride in cultural and community traditions, and the importance of preserving their cultural heritage. The program will complement the students’ academic pursuits and will include assistance in school fees when possible. Eventual goal will be to open a performing arts school that is centered on the preservation of traditional arts in addition to an academic curriculum and a service centered theme.
For this component we have partnered with a school in the Paradjicoroni neighborhood of Bamako, Mali. As this school was opened privately by a local teacher to serve as a school for families that cannot afford to pay school fees, the school is in a makeshift structure with no desks and 1 crumbling chalkboard and thus needs basic structural repairs and supplies. We have provided structural assistance as well as integrating a dance and music program in the school. Check out our work and Partner Schools Here!
Arts for Development
We assist in the implementation of development programs using traditional arts as a means of disseminating information on current issues affecting communities. The impact of using art as a means of expression and learning has been proven to be extremely effective, particularly among illiterate populations. In the majority of African cultures the traditional arts are widely respected and enjoyed by all generations. The Kono Gnaga artists are well versed at utilizing the arts to promote social and behavioral change. In using traditional theater, dance and music, artists can involve community members, regardless of language differences, and with methods that fit within cultural contexts. The participatory approach benefits women, children, and those from disadvantaged and rural parts of society as it will help to transcend barriers to communication. This will promote communication between individuals, governments, and other stakeholders which is the foundation of positive community development.
Kono Gnaga is located in Bamako, Mali and focuses on the traditions from Mali with possible expansion to other parts of West Africa in the future.