Sing Sing Juniors is composed of the youth of the Faye family who are also known as the Sing Sing Family. Sing Sing Juniors was started in 2004 under the direction of Moustapha Faye, Doudou Faye and Isma Aw as a vehicle for the young generation of the family to present the music and dance traditions of the géwël. Ranging in age from mid-teens to mid-twenties, the full twenty-member ensemble of drummers and dancers skillfully use the sabar rhythms and movements to maintain and build upon the tradition they have inherited.
This tradition goes back over five generations to the family's ancestor, Biram Gueye Faye, the first Baj Gëwél of the Cap Vert peninsula where the city of Dakar is now located. As Baj Gëwél Biram Gueye Faye had the responsibility for maintaining the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Lebou people, the peninsula's earliest inhabitants. This responsibility has been passed down through the family to the present Baj Gëwél of Dakar, Vieux Sing Faye. The members of Sing Sing Juniors are his grandchildren.
As members of the Faye family, each person in the group is also géwël. Traditionally the géwël is a member of the artisan caste in Senegal. However, unlike the other artisans who produce objects in wood, leather, silver and gold géwëls are producers of the word. Their role is instrumental to the life of the community because they are essential to all of the important life events – birth, naming, initiation, marriage, and death.
Along with the history and cultural traditions, géwëls are also keepers of music and dance traditions. Sing Sing Juniors is a popular manifestation of the sabar drum and dance tradition. Composed of 12-14 drummers and 4-6 dancers, performances by Sing Sing Juniors are a total experience. The infectious rhythms and gravity-defying dances bring the traditions of sabar, the heartbeat of Senegal, to life.
In Dakar, the members Sing Sing Juniors continue to play and dance in all of the traditional settings: baptisms, weddings, healing ceremonies, wrestling matches, community celebrations and soirees Senegalese. The group also performs at festivals and some members play with local bands. Having honed their skills in both social and ceremonial events the members of Sing Sing Juniors are the embodiment of the géwël sabar tradition.
With the release of their first CD in April 2007 Sing Sing Juniors is prepared to do performances and presentations outside of Senegal.
For Information and booking, contact: Robert Sipho Faye Bellinger, International Manager for Sing Sing Juniors at siphob[at]singsingjuniors[dot]com
New! Read Sipho Bellinger's blog, The Gëwél Tradition