Cumar, a new musical group based in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, brings together the complex and irresistible rhythms of West African drumming with the beautiful, flowing melodies of traditional Irish dance music. It features two master drummers from Guinea, West Africa, brothers Fodé and Alhassan Bangoura, and three well-known musicians from the Twin Cities Irish music scene: Laura MacKenzie on flute and vocals, Jode Dowling on fiddle, and Sean Egan on clarinet.
The group, whose name means “confluence” in the Irish language, was created in 2020 and made its debut at the Irish Fair of Minnesota in August of 2021. It has received grants from the Irish Music and Dance Association and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and was selected to be one of the Southern Theater’s performance partners for the 2022-2023 season. For its partnership with the Southern Theater, Cumar will bring in dancers and additional musicians from the Duniya Drum and Dance company, as well as from the Twin Cities' thriving Irish music and dance community, in order to more fully explore the intersection of these two dynamic traditions.