Rhythm Of Change Festival

TAPS presents the 2014 Rhythm of Change Festival, February 21-23

See article in Brown Daily Herald

TAPS presents the 2014 Rhythm of Change Festival, February 21-13.

The Rhythm of Change Festival is an annual festival of Mande Performance and Social Engagement that brings together international artist-activists, educators, students, scholars, and social entrepreneurs in service to West Africa for a weekend of workshops, conversations, meals, and performances. The Rhythm of Change initiative is based on the idea that art and performance can inspire and instigate action. 


The theme of this year's festival is the Urban Body in Crisis. This theme will be explored through various workshops, performances, and collaborations between disciplines over the course of three days. Dance, drumming, and singing classes will occur alongside social justice lectures and talks, culminating in a final closing ceremony in which festival participants share what they learned.


We are especially excited this year to invite Ana "Rokafella" Garcia, renowned b-girl and breakout female hip hop artist; Solo Sana, world-renowned dancer from Burkina Faso; Omari Mizrahi, vogue femme performer and developer of "Afrik" dance style; and many others. 


For more information on the festival schedule and registration, please visit the festival website.




Rhythm of Change 2013


Performances and Lecture by World-Recognized Malian Rapper Amkoullel, along with The Dieneba Seck Band at the RISD Auditorium, Tuesday March 12th at 6pm. This event is sponsored by Brown’s Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and the Creative Arts Council.  


Providence, RI – Malian rapper Amkoullel has received a flurry of media attention recently in the US as his fight against censorship by Mali’s new government has become a global symbol of the country’s ongoing political crisis. Amkoullel began receiving death threats from the government upon releasing his hit single, “S.O.S,” with its efficacious call to action begging the international community to respond to the Malian crisis before it is too late and pleading with the youth of Mali to wake up from the complacency that the artist sees as one of the country’s root problems.

 Coming fresh off of performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the international artist is bringing his message of Plus Jamais Ça — "never again” to Brown and RISD. His music, a mix of traditional sounds and music with French hip-hop, aims to engage audiences both in Mali and abroad, and is an event not to be missed for music fans and the politically minded, alike.

In 1993, when he was only 14 Amkoullel organized his first rap concert. His first album, Infaculté, was released in 2002 containing songs focused primarily on fighting against ignorance. His strongest indictment came in 2007 with Waati Sera I (It’s Time !), produced under his own label Woklo Barka. National Public Radio’s recent piece spotlighting the artist called Amkoullel’s music “a cry for help to the government, or anyone, to stop what was happening in the turbulent north of his country, where radical Islamists took control last year and banned all music except Quranic verses.”

Amkoullel has performed with icons such as Cheikh Tidiane Seck and appeared twice at the Nice Jazz Festival alongside Manu Dibango, Keziah Jones, Rokia Traoré and has presented alongside Alpha Blondy, Lobi Traoré and Tiken Jah Fakoly.

Following his lecture and performance, the Dieneba Seck Band will perform. The group has gained world-recognition for fusing political activism with original songwriting and for music that is part of the resistance movement against the ongoing political insurrection in Mali.

This event is sponsored by Brown University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, The Creative Arts Council and RISD’s Center for Student Involvement. It is free and open to the public.


 TAPS announces the 2013 Rhythm of Change Festival exploring Arts and Social Change in Africa and the Diaspora   

The Rhythm of Change initiative began in 2010 as an investigation of the links between the performing arts and social change in Africa and the diaspora.

2013 installment of the festival at Brown University, brings together international artists, musicians, dancers, social activists, scholars, and students for three days of performances, lectures, and workshops to explore how the arts can play an instrumental role in development, awareness, and empowerment.  The festival also continues a discussion that Brown students started in Mali in 2011 with Malian artists, nutritionists, and social activists about the involvement of artists in solutions for Mali's malnutrition crisis. 

The schedule for the 2013 Festival is underway. Please go to the festival site for updated information.

Previous Festival Schedules:


The 2012 theme, "The Communal Bowl" developed, with students, scholars, activists, and Malian artists, a viable message for change on this topic. Check out the Rhythm of Change Festival blog.


The 2012 festival began on Friday, March 2nd with a communal dinner with a discussion followed by performances, workshops and lectures all day Saturday the 3rd, and closed on Sunday the 4th after another full-day of workshops.

Artists and scholars have been invited from throughout the US, Africa, and the diaspora.  Classes included djembe drumming, West African dance, Afro-modern dance, song, yoga, and more. 2012's events were held in conjunction with Arts In The One World, hosted by playwriting faculty member, Erik Ehn.

Schedule from 2012


7-10pm "The Communal Bowl" and Opening Performances*

Traditional Malian cuisine will be served. Performances follow. $20/person or Festival Wristband required.


Workshops & Events: $15 each or Festival Wristband

9-10am: Workshops*:

- Yoga

- Meditation

10:15-11:45am Workshops*:

- Song in Activism

- Djembe Drumming

- Traditional Malian Dance

12-1:30pm Workshops*

- Mande Song

- Djembe Drumming

- Contemporary Mande Dance

3-4:30pm Lecture: Cultural Preservation as Activism (Thomas Riccio)

4:30-6pm Workshops*:

- Burkinabe Traditional Dance

- Doun-doun Drumming

- West African Dance

- Traditional Malian Dance

9pm Performances by Festival Artists & Dancing*



10-11am Workshops*:

- Yoga

- Meditation

11:15am-12:45pm Workshops*:

- Djembe Drumming

- Malian Dance

- West African Dance

2-3:30pm Workshops*”

- Traditional Malian Dance II

- Traditional Mande Dance

2-4pm Active Improvisation: Creating A Viable Message (invitation only, observation upon special request)

4:15pm Closing Ceremony & Ritual*