Fodé Bangoura (djembe) is artistic director and lead drummer for Minneapolis-based Duniya Drum and Dance. He hails from Guinea, West Africa and has been recognized internationally for his work as the lead drummer with the acclaimed ensembles “Les Merveilles de Guinée” and the national ballet of Guinea, “Les Ballets Africains”.
A protege of the late Mohamed Kemoko Sano, Fodé is now one of the most respected and sought after drummers of his generation. Highlights of his career include opening for Damian Marley at The Apollo Theater, a featured spot on MTV for Black History Month, and recording with Trey Anastasio of Phish.
Laura MacKenzie (flute and vocals) has been a central figure in the Twin Cities Celtic music scene for decades. She is the founder and director of the Celtic big band Brass Lassie, and performs with a number of ensembles, including Willow Brae, The Frothy Band, SimpleGifts, MacKenzie & Bissonnette, and Laura MacKenzie and the Lads.
Her honors include performing arts fellowships from the McKnight Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, an Archibald Bush Foundation Fellowship in Traditional and Ethnic Performing Arts, and selection for the Cherish the Ladies concert series featuring noted women in Irish music in America.
Alhassan “Sana” Bangoura
Alhassan "Sana" Bangoura (doun doun) is lead dancer and choreographer for Duniya Drum and Dance. He comes from a family of traditional drummers and dancers in Guinea, West Africa. Sana began his drum and dance training in 1999 as a member of the company Wassasso, based in the capital city of Guinea, Conakry.
In this company, under the direction of current Ballet Africains dancer, Sorel Conte, Sana rose to the position of Principal Dancer, and in 2001 took on the role of Assistant Director.
In Minnesota since 2015, Sana now does school residencies and performances with Duniya Drum and Dance, and teaches community dance classes for adults.
Sean Egan (clarinet and bass clarinet) has been playing Irish traditional music for over 40 years, and has been an instructor at the Center for Irish Music since 2005. He has been a member of the Celtic music ensembles the Doon Ceili Band, the Blackbirds, Field Day, and Baal Tinne, and he performs regularly with the group Bundle and Go.
Sean was one of the first artists to introduce the clarinet into the Irish tradition, and his clarinet playing was awarded first place at the 2018 Midwest Fleadh Cheoil. In addition to playing Irish music, he studied composition at DePaul University, and works as a composer and multi-instrumentalist in a variety of genres.
Jode Dowling (fiddle) is a third generation traditional musician; he learned much of his early music on his Grandfather’s fiddle and was strongly influenced by his Mother and family from Gurteen, Co. Sligo, as well as his Father’s musical family from Tulamore, Co. Offaly. Early mentors were his brother Martin, Liz Carroll, John Kelly Sr., Bobby Casey, Joe Ryan and Fred Finn.
Jode played with the Minnesota Music Award-winning band formerly known as the Clumsy Lovers, and was a member of Shanachie recording artists, the Doon Céilí Band. He shares his love for Irish traditional music with his students at the Center for Irish Music, which he co-founded in St Paul, MN in 2004.