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Interview with Sidiki Conde: Guinea, West Africa

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Interview with Sidiki Conde

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Interview with Sidiki Conde: Guinea, West Africa
Additional title: Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image original documentation
Conde, Sidiki (Interviewee)
Ross, Deborah, (Artist) (Interviewer)
Webb, Carolyn (Carolyn Jeannette) (Project director)
Niang, Mamadou (Videographer)
Mertz Gilmore Foundation (Presenter)
New York Public Library. Dance Division (Presenter)

African Dance Video Archive

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2015-09-05
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 6199
Conde, Sidiki -- Interviews
Merveilles d'Afrique (Dance company)
Dance -- Guinea -- Conakry
Music -- Guinea -- Conakry
Dancers with disabilities -- Guinea
Dance -- Economic aspects -- Guinea
Filmed dance
Filmed performances
Statement of responsibility: conducted by Deborah Ross ; project director, Carolyn Webb.
Content: Widescreen.
Statement of responsibility: This interview was made possible by the cooperation of the Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library.
Creation/production credits: Videographer, Mamadou Niang.
Performers: Interviewee/Djembe drum, Sidiki Conde ; interviewer, Deborah Ross.
Venue: Videotaped during an interview at the Studio, New York, N.Y., as part of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation funded African Dance Interview Project 2015 September 5.
Funding: This recording was made possible by Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Funding: African Dance Interview Project funded by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Physical Description
Born digital
Extent: 1 video file (66 min.) : sound, color
Deborah Ross introduces Sidiki Conde as the Director of Tokounou All-Abilities African Dance and Drum Company. Throughout the interview Conde shares stories of his upbringing, making ability for his disability, career opportunities, love of traditional music and dance, and intermittently singing and playing his Djembe drum. Conde discusses being born in Conakry, Guinea to his mother Dousasoba Kourouma and father Ibrahima Conde, a military officer. He talks about losing the use of his legs due to polio at the age of 14, and adjusting to this new reality. Conde sings a song of praise (Islamic call to prayer) that he learned for his first job singing behind the Iman as he traveled to and from the Mosque. He was initially refused the right to participate because he was seen as weak, so he trained himself to dance on his hands and perform the Malinke rhythm Soli. This changed the communities perception of him. He talks about the tradition of circumcision and sings a song included in the rites. He performed in Mancellia and surrounding villages with Moriba Diobate and Souri Conde (a blind drummer). After he moved back to Conakry, he met disabled people living on the streets, and convincing them to form the group Message de Espior, or The Message of Hope which toured West Africa. He speaks about government recognition of him as a successful example for other disabled people. Auditioning and being accepted into Ballet Communial and later joining Les Merveilles de Guinee, and becoming the music director and choreographer. He received his first wheelchair from a sponsor in American (1998) and then formed Tokounou All-Abilities African Dance and Drum company in 1999. In 2007, Conde received The National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA with the ceremony in Washington D.C. This fellowship enabled Conde to build a house in Guinea for his family. Conde explored the African origins of Capoeira in Brazil and formed a group from local street kids into a band named Afro Tapa. He also taught drum at the Ilê Aiyê in Salvador. Since his disability he has earned his living solely from his artistic ability. He speaks about the masks he brought to the interview and about his village Mancellia having many trees that created a protective fortress with no roads or lights with some occupations being farming, hunting, and carpentry. He plays the djembe, sings a song from the rhythm Soli, and demonstrates the 3 sounds: slap, tone, and bass that make the music. He also plays the rhythm Doundounba and sings. There is no longer strong government support without Sékou Touré and Lansana Conté. He shares stories of his longtime student and friend Ibrahima Kolipe Camara. Conde sings the first song he composed at the age of 14 when he became disabled entitled, Dounougna (World). How true handicaps come from the mind not from physical disabilities. Deborah Ross notes that Sidiki received a grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts International to reunite his group of disabled musicians in Guinea and also cites his recognition in the United States as a composer from the NYFA Fellowship for Music Composition, NYSCA Composing Commission Grant, and the Jerome Foundation Grant for New Music. The interview concludes with Conde talking about how his music is universal with stories from his heart, and that music is a message and when everyone comes together there is happiness.
Type of Resource
Moving image
RLIN/OCLC: 939531149
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20892446
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 4c760160-c13c-0133-0602-60f81dd2b63c
Copyright Notice
© Sidiki Conde
Rights Statement
This item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Item timeline of events

  • 2015: Created
  • 2024: Found by you!
  • 2025

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Sidiki Conde" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2015.

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Interview with Sidiki Conde" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 28, 2024.

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2015). Interview with Sidiki Conde Retrieved from

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url= | title= (moving image) Interview with Sidiki Conde, (2015)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=February 28, 2024 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>

Interview with Sidiki Conde