Columbia College Chicago Music Department Hosts West African Drummer/Dancer Fara Tolno


Artist-in-Residence Commences April 1 with Performances on May 16 and 17


CHICAGO (March 19, 2013) – The Columbia College Chicago Music Department welcomes West African drummer and dancer Fara Tolno as the department’s artist–in-residence, beginning April 1. Tolno will take part in workshops, master classes and classroom instruction during his three-week residency. He will return to campus for two performances at the Columbia College Chicago Dance Center on May 16 and 17.

Tolno was born in Guinea, West Africa and began playing djembe since the age of nine.  Since, he has traveled extensively performing and teaching both drumming and dance. Fara spent nine years as the lead drummer for Les Merveilles de Guinea (The Wonders of Guinea) under the tutelage of West Africa’s most influential director and choreographer, Kemoko Sano.

Fara has performed with many of the world’s premier musicians including Mamady Keita, Burning Spear, Neil Young, Sekouba Bambino, Otis Taylor, Joe Cocker, Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita Habibe Koite, B.B. King, Oumou Sangare and many more.

Based in Boulder, Colo., Tolno is currently completing his MFA and teaching at the University of Colorado. He is the founder, director and choreographer for Kissidugu, his percussion and dance theatre ensemble, where he trains and performs with a variety of students, combining traditional performance styles and pieces from Guinea with his own insights and knowledge of rhythms and movement.

Additionally, Tolno founded Project Drum, a business designed to provide rhythm-based educational and teambuilding services to schools, organizations, teams, music educators and corporations. Tolno also provides access to the rhythms of Guinea through the Rhythm Reference Project, the most comprehensive audio and notation library ever compiled for West African Drumming. This project provides instructions and audio tutorials on more than 50 traditional rhythms, all recorded by Tolno.

Event Information:

WHEN:           May 16 and 17, 8 p.m.

WHERE:        Columbia College Chicago Dance Center

1306 S. Michigan Ave.

ADMISSION:  $5 student tickets, $10 parent, family, faculty/staff, $20 general admission

INFO:             312-369-8330

Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts to nearly 11,000 students in more than 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit


Media Contacts:

Steve Kauffman, 312.369.7383,

Erin Purdy, 312.369.8695,