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FAMU Opens the 2012 Lyceum Series with the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi

August 31, 2012

– Florida A&M University (FAMU) opens its 2012 Lyceum Series with an ultimate experience on September 16 with the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi.  Performances are scheduled for 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium. 

Tickets are available now at FAMU’s Ticket Office located in the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium.  Ticket prices are $20, $15 and $10, depending on the location of the seats.

Considered one of the greatest percussion ensembles in the world, the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi have performed in the same way for centuries, passing down traditions and techniques from father to son. Their performances were traditionally a part of particular ceremonies such as births, funerals and the enthronement of Kings. In Burundi, drums are sacred and represent, along with the king, the powers of fertility and regeneration. The origins of their performance being shrouded in ancient legend and mystery, the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi channel the energy and creative spirit of a nation through these drums and the rituals surrounding them.  The large drums “Ingoma” that are played are made from hollowed tree trunks covered with skin. The “Amashako” drums provide a continuous beat, and “Ibishikiso” drums follow the rhythm of the central “Inkiranya” drum. The thunderous sound of the drums with the graceful yet athletic dance that accompanies this masterful performance represents an important part of Burundi's musical heritage.

Since the 1960s the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi have toured outside of their country, becoming a popular attraction at concert halls and festivals around the world. Their massed drum sound, or the “Burundi beat” as it became known, also caught the ear of Western musicians and they appeared on Joni Mitchell’s, The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975). Their distinctive sound also influenced British rock bands of the early 1980s such as Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow. It was seeing the drummers that inspired Thomas Brooman to organize the first World of Music Arts and Dance festival in 1982, an event that helped to spark the whole world music boom.

The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi were recorded at Real World Studios in 1993 and released the live album on the Real World Label. Other recordings followed including The Master Drummers of Burundi in 1994 and The Drummers of Burundi in 1999.

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