In every culture rhythm, music, and dance represent social life. I approach West African dance holistically, demonstrating technical movement and to learn about important life events, the meanings and significance behind the movement.
Sidi Mohamed “Joh” Camara joined the Conservatory in 2021. Camara was born in Bamako, Mali in West Africa, and from the age of 5, trained in music and dance from his mother Fanta Kamissoko, a well-known Jali (Jalis, also known as Griots, are highly venerated in their traditional society as skilled oral historians who are not only singers, storytellers, and musicians, but also advisors and mediators.) Camara has toured with companies Troupe Mande, Troupe Sewa, Troupe du District de Bamako, and Percussion Fabla throughout the Republic of Mali and West Africa, presenting hundreds of shows. He was chief choreographer for Troupe Mande and Troupe Sewa and led them to become among the most renowned and competitive companies in the world of West African dance and drumming.
Camara came to the U.S. in 1995 with the renowned guitarist Zani Diabate and Troupe Mande. He has taught and presented his work at universities across the country, including Brown University, Princeton University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Berklee College of Music, Boston University, Washington University, and Olympic College. He currently teaches in numerous Boston Public Schools, public and private schools, and community centers. Camara collaborates with the Boston Ballet, Boston Symphony Youth Orchestra and Choir, Upward Bound, and Planet Aid, among other organizations. Camara teaches traditional Mande culture, language, music, and dance, as well as those of neighboring Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, at numerous universities in the Greater Boston area.
Awards and Recognitions
- Baba Olatunji Award, Nigerian Community of New England (2019)
- Artists Fellowship Award in the Traditional Arts, Mass Cultural Council (2018)
- Traditional Arts Apprentice Award, Mass Cultural Council (2017)
- Somerville Arts Council Fellowship (2000)
- Hawthorne Youth and Community Center Award (2000)