Saturday, October 11, 2008


Miyanda, which is an East African word meaning “ROOTS”, has been performing for the past 7 years. In 2002, as a group of very young girls, the youngest being 4, they began taking a traditional West African Drumming and Dance class called “Kids’n’Africa” at the Masabo Music and Dance Studio. Soon they were performing at Masabo Music and Dance Studio Student shows and on small community stages at various churches and libraries.

When it became clear there was a desire and a talent amongst the girls to be nurtured, their mentor and teacher Fana Soro stepped up the training, the parents and the kids stepped up their commitment, and now 6 years later, the group has been on stage at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, the Surrey Children’s Festival, the Chan Centre Roots and Shoots Series, Festival du Bois, Harambee Festival, Caribbean Days Festival, Festival by the Sea, Vancouver International Children’s Festival and the Festival Baobab to name only a few. Miyanda has performed in more than 180 shows!

Miyanda won the Junior Black Achievement Award for Group Performance in 2006 as well as the Runner’s Up Award in 2005. In March 2006, they performed workshops and shows at the CEDROS International Children’s Music Festival in Mexico City. The group will be travelling to Sc
otland to perform at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in July 2010.

The girls make up the following cultural heritage map - Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Lesotho, Haiti, Uganda, Kenya, Georgia and of course, Canada! For Miyanda, the ultimate performance goal is to travel to Africa for workshops and performance and to truly learn about “Miyanda” - hopefully they will begin to understand how important their performance education has been and how the girls themselves are preserving the traditional arts and are keeping the “roots” planted and ever-growing.

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