• Resident artist and master Senegalese drummer Lamine TourÌ© choreographed 'Mbappat: A Spectacle of Senegalese Drumming, Dance and Wrestling,' to be performed Sunday, April 24.

    Resident artist and master Senegalese drummer Lamine Tour̩ choreographed 'Mbappat: A Spectacle of Senegalese Drumming, Dance and Wrestling,' to be performed Sunday, April 24.

    Photo / Dongyu Zhao

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Rambax catches the rhythm of wrestling

Resident artist and master Senegalese drummer Lamine Tour̩ choreographed 'Mbappat: A Spectacle of Senegalese Drumming, Dance and Wrestling,' to be performed Sunday, April 24.


Rambax MIT, an ensemble dedicated to learning the sabar drum and dance tradition of the Wolof people of Senegal, West Africa, will present "Mbappat: A Spectacle of Senegalese Drumming, Dance and Wrestling" on Sunday, April 24, at 3 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.

According to Rambax's co-director, Assistant Professor Patricia Tang, "mbappat" is the Wolof word for a drumming/dancing/wrestling event. Senegalese wrestling dates back many centuries and remains an extremely popular sport in Senegal today, Tang says. Each wrestler's entry into the arena is accompanied by much pomp and circumstance, singing and drumming, and various mystical rituals are performed to help the wrestler win.

MIT's mbappat will consist of two match-ups, one "lightweight" and one "heavyweight" event. Rambax, Tang says, will perform a stylized, more theatrical version of a mbappat, with choreography and artistic direction by resident artist and master Senegalese drummer Lamine Tour̩. The show will also feature several guest artists from Senegal and from the Boston area, with drumming provided by Rambax MIT.

The name "rambax" (pronounced "rahm-bach") is a vocal mnemonic for a signature sabar rhythm. Founded in 2001 and co-directed by Tour̩ and Tang, Rambax is a 15-member troupe of students and other members of the MIT community. For more information, visit web.mit.edu/rambax/ or e-mail Professor Tang at pjtang@mit.edu.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 13, 2005 (download PDF).


Topics: Arts

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