PRESS & REVIEWS
“Gansango was wonderful with Kaleta! Our audience totally enjoyed the production, parents and children alike. I found myself being mesmerized in total enjoyment and fascination, my mouth hanging open a couple of times. I was a child once again! The music, dance, storytelling, and gorgeous costumes and set were tops! And to top it off, the guys were just wonderfully cordial as well as professional. It was a pleasure to have them here.”
~Lily Mazurek, Theatre Manager, Sunrise Civic Center Theatre, Sunrise, Florida
Seattle International Children’s Festival: Get the best of the fest, The Seattle Times, May 15, 2003:
Considered a West African festival, “Kaleta: A Children’s Ritual” did indeed play out like an interactive celebration during its world-premiere performance. Kids stomped on Fisher Pavilion’s sometimes-shaky bleachers. They laughed and shrieked and yelled things to choreographer/performer Etienne Cakpo, storyteller/musician Won-Ldy Paye, musician Janvier Denagan Honfo and percussionist/guitarist Mohammed Shaibu as if they were their personal friends.
In 50 minutes, the Benin troupe performed a dance-theater interpretation of the country’s Kaleta tradition (comparable to our Halloween.) With masks, costumes, a constant percussive beat and dances honoring spirits, the artists told the story of a child who dreams about Kaleta and then organizes his own celebration with friends.
Kids responded enthusiastically to sing-alongs with deliberately tweaked lyrics from standard kid songs (“Mary Had a Little Goat”). The performance ended with a story about a man who got pulled two ways because he had promised to do two things at once. The moral: One thing at a time.
“What an outstanding performance! Such character and professionalism, we are very grateful to you all for the beautiful music we experienced and all that we learned from you. Our students are still talking about how they enjoyed the music, it made them “happy,” some of our students have already been inspired to learn more about West Africa and especially the musical instruments.”
~Suzanne Jabbi, Teacher, The Evergreen School
“I didn’t want to let any more time go by before letting you know how wonderful I thought your program was! Thank you so much!!! Hopefully the smiles of the children and their families let you know just how special the program was for them. What they liked best was the audience participation and the patience of the presenters, fun activities, hands on, lots of audience participation. Telling, demonstrating, and then letting the kids produce various rhythms, ways of playing music together, etc was terrific multi-faceted learning, participatory, and just plain fun! I will certainly recommend your program to other groups that deal with the visually imparied and otherwise disabled individuals.”
~Kathryn, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library
“Thank you so much for the performance of Kaleta by the Gansango dancers. The show was a perfect mix of music, dance, storytelling and fun! Our children and their families had a wonderful time, and I look forward to working with you in the future!”
~Susan, Children’s Librarian at Lake City Public Library
“Thank you again so much for your performance at Garfield. It was an extremely well-received and attended event. It has been the favorite assembly so far for this year and I received many good comments from staff and students. It also kicked off our reading campaign of the book “A Long Way gone” by Ishmael Beah. Your support of public education is appreciated.”
~Janet Woodward, Librarian
“I just want you all to know that we had many, many, many compliments from everywhere…the teachers, staff and principal were all extremely impressed!!! I can’t emphasize this enough. This was great, and very well received. You are truly amazing. I have seen it all and I now know how far and high you can go. Our students are fortunate to have such a moment, and they are proud of themselves. This is great!! Thank you, thank you!”
~Marta Lemberg, Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center (Student Recognition Ceremony)