"... This is a yembe (djembe) extravaganza, a wonderful collection of tunes that constantly push forward, encouraging everyone to dance." David Licht - Modern Drummer (April 2000).
Rated Five out of Five Djembe's. Jan Hitzner - Djembe Magazine (Oct.-Dec. 1999)
"Outstanding performance of traditional music presented in a timeless context ... A milestone in music, bridging the gap between cultures and making accessable a whole new world of percussion." Frank Lazzaro - World Music Radio.
"A very nice collection of traditional rhythms that any lover of West African jembe music should own." George Sherouse - WDXU Radio.
"Wonbere," meaning "With Joy," celebrates the rich diversity and spirit of the major ethnic groups of the traditional core djembe playing culture in and around Guinea, West Africa. In these societies there are traditional rhythms and dances for virtually every event in a person's life- from naming ceremonies to rite-of-passage ceremonies; rhythms for work, for celebration, marriage, welcome, etc.--and it is for these aspects of daily life that the djembe and its music exist and from this that the music of Fore-Fote begins. Applied to these ancient rhythms is the imaginitiveness of Master Drummer M. Lamine "Dibo" Camara, whose heart-pounding arrangements of these rhythms he learned as a child bring the traditional a brilliant and contemporary twist.
Wonbéré's 74 minutes of professionally digitally recorded and mastered audio features renowned soloist M. Lamine "Dibo" Camara with his international group of acclaimed musicians: Brother A. Miguel Camara (from Guinea), adopted son and apprentice Ryan M. Camara (U.S.), and Jason Hann (U.S.). Together they race through the richly syncopated and highly energetic arrangements utilizing the traditional instruments of Guinea.
The Djembe drum (Sanbanyi or Yembe in Susu) traces its heritage to the caste of blacksmiths that occupied the former Mali Empire by at least the 12th century. The three notes it produces cover a large sonic spectrum making it both a solo and accompaniment instrument. The Dununs (Doundoumba, Sangban, and Kenkeni) are large, lower-pitched cylindrical drums that are played with sticks and have bells (Kenken) attached to them which are played with a small piece of metal. They provide both the rhythmic and melodic base for the djembe orchestra. Two other traditional instruments that can be heard on Wonbere are the Krinyi (log drum from the forest region) and Seke-Seke (shakers). Acclaimed Kora legend and Griot Prince Diabate makes a special guest appearance on several tracks. The Kora, a 21-stringed traditional African harp, sizzles as it blends with guest singers from Les Ballets Africains, Mouminatou Camara and Hawa Conde, to weave a beautiful melodic tapestry into the pulsating rhythms.
The Wonbere package is completed with an in-depth, 12-page CD booklet written by Fore-Fote artist/producer Ryan M. Camara. As an ethnomusicology major at UCLA, Ryan began researching the history of the instruments and rhythms of Guinea but soon discovered there was very little solid information to be found. His studies were vastly enriched and many of the blanks were filled in when, starting in 1997, he began making yearly journeys to Guinea to study the music at its source where it is still a living, breathing part of the daily lives of the people from whom it sprang. The booklet details the histories and origins of the instruments and rhythms as well as the documenting the story of his teacher, M. Lamine "Dibo" Camara and Company Fore-Fote.