photo by Erin Mills

Marafanyi Percussione click here
Trio w/ Jen Starr, vocals
Quartet w/ Erik Lawrence, saxes/flutes

Live CD Available click here

." . . Lara Gonzalez and Yael Shacham
won't be needing Prozac anytime soon.
energy is contagious."
- Susan Van Dongen , Princeton Packet/TimeOFF

Sisters. That's what this pair is most often mistaken for - and smile at the compliment. The time they have spent making and studying music together these past 10 years contributes to the synchronism between them. They have honed their performance skills as accompanists for a variety of musicians representing diverse styles and also co-directed a large percussion ensemble, Earth Meets Our Feet, for several years. In addition, Lara and Yael are both experienced recording artists.Their duo material is both original and West African-based, combining rhythm, movement, song and spoken word.

They are influenced deeply by their long, active love and study of traditional African drum, dance and song. With the assistance of over 100 community sponsors the Duo was fortunate to fulfill a longtime dream of traveling to Guinea, West Africa in '03. There they focused on the dynamic and lyrical music and dance of Guinea, studying intensively with M'Bemba Bangoura and master artistes from Les Ballets Africains. In May '04 Lara returned from her third trip to this magical, musical land. The Duo have studied traditional African music in the States with some of the most gifted musicians of our time including; Bangoura, Sanga-of-the-Valley, Madeleine Yayodele Nelson and Babatunde Olatunji.

The ladies have been warmly accepted into a variety of artistic environments. They are already known for their diverse creativity, "percussion is just the beginning!" to quote one fan, as well as their commitment to the healing and transformative power of the drum. As an opening act they have supported musicians from all genres including, world music, jazz, folk and even rock. As headliners they have performed in a variety of venues - from sculpture gardens to multi-media performance art events. They enjoy frequent television and radio appearances.

These women are tapped into a variety of other unique artists that make for an eclectic co-bill. They are also committed to arts education as well as bringing their music into therapeutic environments.

Did you know that duo can blossom into a trio with exquisite vocal harmonies and added percussion from the fabulous
Jennifer Starr

"The spirits of our teachers lives on in us. Yours are smiling."
- J. Crane, presenter & workhsop participant

" . . . the drumming work that you are
doing is some of the most important
work that there is in the world. It
changes the soul, it grows the
- D. Phillips, presenter and participant

What's Happening click here

Event Schedule click here

Contact click here

Workshops click here

Press Kit click here

Audio/Video click here

More about Yael
click here

More about Lara click here

WISH LIST click here

Africa Sponsors click here


left - Hadja teaches dance class,
above - Ballaket & Sorel accompany drum class, Taouyah. Guinea 1/05
Photos by Lara
above left - the boys at the house in Taouyah. above right - Yael and the kids
in Dixxen. Guinea 1/05
Photos by Lara
above left - Mohammed Kouyate & Sory Dioubate en route by boat to the Isle of Rhoume. above right - Deb and Kadiatou.Taouyah, Guinea 1/05 Photos by Lara
left - Charly sings "Marafanyi" w/ Les Etoiles de Boulbinet. above - dancing to Etoiles, Taouyah.
Guinea 1/05
Photos by Lara
above left - Les femmes at Delmundo's doundounbas in Kobayah.
above right - Chante class avec Sory Bangoura, Taouyah. Guinea 1/05
Photos by Lara
left - Bobby the monkey en ville.
above - rescued puppies, Mali & Marafanyi, Taouyah. Guinea 1/05
Photos by Lara
More photos and tales to come . . .

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