Open to All
Participants should bring their best energy! Happiness always and positive only.
The Asiko is a square drum made with lamb skin stretched across the wooden frame. It is made in a range of sizes and it’s played hand held. Also known as Gumbe, some place its creole origins in freed-slaves from the Caribbean and Latin America travelling back to West Africa. Popularised by Siko Band Goree in Senegal, Dembis has played this instrument in ensemble with djembe and dundun in football stadiums supporting local clubs and in social celebrations cheering up the multitudes with its animated rhythms. For the first time in the UK, Dembis will be introducing an Asiko drum circle to Doris participants.
Demba, also known by his artistic name Dembis Thioung, is a mesmerizing master of the dunduns - the melodic and hypnotic West African bass drums. The traditional West African Dundun are a set of three double sided drums hit with sticks made by wood and cowskin that make up the HEARTBEAT, the MELODY and the SOUL of traditional West African ensemble djembe music.
Demba was born in Darkar in 1986 to a griot mother (a hereditary group among the peoples of Western Africa whose function is to keep an oral history of the tribe or village and to entertain with stories, poems, songs, dance) and a Laube father (drum maker and wood workers group). He was introduced to the art of traditional and contemporary Senegalese musical techniques by following his mother; a professional dancer, to rehearsals and performances from birth. He started making drums at a very young age (12 years old) and continued his musical apprenticeship at the prestigious Blaise Senghor Centre Culturel, led by Djioncounda Ndaye, and at the popular Fass quarter in Senegal. The time spent with these illustrious companies pushed his innate talent further and he is now recognized by his contemporaries as a professional and adept thiounguiste (percussionist), who has refined his knowledge of the Dundun, Djembe, Sabar and Asiko drums.
Dembis came to the UK in 2010, whilst on tour with Ballet Daradji. Since then he has been in high demand, both as a performer and a teacher. He currently works for a number of companies, including AKOMAASA PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY lead by Akosua Boakye; where he recently played for her weekly classes at Canterbury Christ Church University.
He teaches drumming to adults and to children in schools in partnership with Landing Mane (Jamo Jamo Arts) He is also a core member of Irineu Nogueira’s Afro-Brazilian Dance Company ABEIE with whom has traveled all over Europe and the Caribbean. Furthermore, he also freelances for the following West African dance artists: Aida Diop (traditional West African dance), Almamy Camara (traditional Guinean dance), Batch Gueye (Sabar dance), Alesandra Seutin (Germaine Acogny Technique) and Diene Sagna
Currently Dembis hosts a weekly Dundun Drum Circle and a weekly Penchmi session; a drum and dance circle open to all levels (the Wolof word "Penchmi" describes the gathering of one’s ancestors and a timeless/spaceless space to discuss all matters of life; justice, peace, but most of all to remind those present of the mutual LOVE and RESPECT they share). Both weekly sessions take place at the Village in Notting Hill, a community space lead by the community for healing and reparatory justice. He has also just completed the 6th edition of the Dundun Drum & Dance workshop series, a successful event that gathers dance and drum masters and students from all over the country, ages and levels. Dembis is also a versatile independent performing artist and has played live, and recorded albums with internationally acclaimed artists such as Baaba Maal and Carlou D, as well as collaborated with Film Composer Harry Escott recording the main soundtrack theme for the second season of the FOX TV series “Deep Estate”.
Dembis’s aptitude for music, means that his skills as a percussionist are not reserved for West African rhythms alone, and he is able to, and is keen to work with artists from other musical backgrounds. He currently collaborates with Venezuelan singer Luzmira Zerpa (lead singer of FAMILY ATLANTICA) on duet performances. He is also working on a project with the Brazilian singer and songwriter Nina Miranda (worldly known for her hit “Underwater Love”).