Afrique Aya Drum & Dance Company

Afrique Aya Drum & Dance Company

Northwest Region
Fayetteville, Arkansas
479-283-9964 479-363-6262
[email protected]

Angelo’s approach to sharing and teaching about the West African culture and dance/drumming traditions in an educational setting is that of Questions & Answers sessions, discussions of West African music; daily life; drums; dancing; singing, and teaching some of Angelo’s native language (Baoule) and songs.

Through residency programs the goal is to share his culture with the students that they may take away knowledge armed with a better understanding of the culture through live visuals, audio, drumming and movement, actual physical engagement and experience.

Drum Class

Beginners Class

ISO Performance

AA Intro from Shakeenah Kedem-Fentis on Vimeo.


Mrs. Shakeenah Fentis manages AFRIQUE AYA and can be contacted for further information.
Kouakou Yao "Angelo," master drummer and dancer, was born in Bouake, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa. He was invited to the United States in 1997 by choreographer Ralph Lemon to create "Geography," a fusion of post-modern movement and traditional African dance. Angelo moved to Burlington, Vermont in 1998, where he formed AFRIQUE AYA. The company performed and taught residencies and workshops in colleges and schools around the New England area.

Afrique Aya is a group of dancers and drummers committed to sharing the joyful and spirited music and culture of West Africa. Inspired by rhythms and rituals from Ivory Coast, and led by Artistic Director Kouakou -Yao- Angelo, the group celebrates the synergy of nature, spirit, movement, and percussion. We provide raise-the-roof drumming, to accompany traditional dance from Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa. The artists in our troupe come from Northwest Arkansas. Angelo himself is a great theatrical presence, who’s created numerous stage productions on an operatic scale. We’re available for public and private events, parties, weddings, benefits, and celebrations of all kinds. We’ve opened for Willie Nelson; we’ve performed at the Wal-Mart Shareholders Meeting, at the University of Arkansas, and, for many years, at First Night Fayetteville New Year’s celebrations; we’ve been a part of Washington Regional Medical Center’s Day of Dance for Health; we’ve joined seniors at Butterfield Trail Village in Fayetteville; and we’ve entertained at colleges and schools too numerous to count.

Afrique Aya offers performances, workshops, and residencies that draw upon Earth-based movement and song to vibrantly celebrate life. AFRIQUE AYA offers performances, workshops, and residencies in Northwest Arkansas and throughout the United States. Director Kouakou Yao “Angelo” offers weekly drum and dance classes open to all ages.

AIE Program

Preferred Age Level: All ages
Geographic Availability: Statewide
Time Availability: open
Special Needs: Smooth wooden floor for dancing; adequate lighting; armless chairs with flat seats and no cross piece. No concrete. In some cases, a DVD player, projector, and screen.
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