Last night we decided to walk over to the Institut Francais which is 4 blocks from the appartment - http://www.ifdakar.org- a gathering palace to promote both French and Senegalese culture and diversity. From what I could see and feel it's a great little oasis in the middle of this city! They offer language classes (French and Wolof) for the novice to a business professional capacity, movies and live music for adults and kids, a library, a restaurant and even a cafe.
At 21h -we knew there was a concert scheduled so we figured - if we were on a roll with this African music from the previous night from our neighbors - why not try this venue - so we heard Silva.
Translated (by Google ;+} - not the perfect translation but you get the jist) - here's his bio - Young artist originally from Gambia, Pa Dembo Cessay is initially at rap music, he learned the bass and then guitar in the group attending Baatin Senegalese and Gambian internationally known bassist Taylor Kaiba. In 2004 he began a solo career and became Silva. He now sings his compositions in Wolof or Mandinka, sometimes in French and his interpretations always intense never leave the public indifferent. Silva follows the path of artists like Souleymane Faye in his interactions with the public or Lokua Kanza, which he admits to being a huge fan. Talented artist and authentic voice hyper melodious, he played his songs with strength and sensuality text, he knows his audience to vibrate and set the mood of the great evening.
And it was true - he set the mood for a great evening of guitar and song. The theater holds no more than 120 people - and perhaps it was 2/3 full - with our family being in the front row. It was very touching to have the artist say -in French (and I actually understood him) - that it warmed his heart to see such smiling faces. A fair amount of wriggling and jiggling by Parker and Addison occurred in their seats but they stuck with the program (they were the only kids - yet if it had been their option they would have stayed home with Angry Birds on the Nook - sorry - boys - no can do - we are all going!). Next time we owe them a kid event.
Parker and Addison did comment that after 2 weeks it was the most amount of white people they'd seen in one place. And it was true. The Institute is a cultural crossroads for everyone in this city perhaps - it attracts more non-Senegalese - due to the nature of it's mission - with ex-pats, aid/ngo and embassy workers coming here. With that being said - I'm making a bit of a broad brush statement at the moment with being here only one evening - so I'll return to this comment in a few weeks to confirm or update my observations. Let's just say that it appeared to be a different crowd than those we continue to see everyday on the streets as we negotiate the neighborhood.
We were all certainly mesmerized by Silva's colleague who accompanied him using these 2 large round gourds but appeared as though they were cut in half - like domes. Each gourd sitting side by side and on the table in front of "the Drummer". "The Drummer" using the tips of his fingers, his fingernails, his knuckles, his palm and the heal of his hand generated the most interesting beat to go along with the guitar.
The event certainly helped make us feel like we could say "yeah, this is our neighborhood".