Martin Zagbo from the Ivory Coast is the founder, director and choreographer for Groupe Afric Azolou, which also features Congolese musician Thobos Lubamba. The group specializes in dances and traditions of West Africa. Groupe Afric Azolou is comprised of nine dancers and four musicians, and performs and offers workshops on dance, drumming and traditional Central and West African music. In addition to dance Martin and Thobos are master dodo (a musical bow) and ahoco (made from the fruits of the koki tree) players.
Dodo Ahoco is the rhythm section of Groupe Afric Azolou, and specializes in music featuring traditional Ivorian instruments like dodo, ahoco, boro, abre attounblan and djembe and Congolese instruments like ngoma and lokole. Martin began his career over a quarter century ago with the Ballet National de Cote d'Ivoire but he learned many of the traditions he teaches as a child from his father and grandfather. Martin and Thobos teach about and perform Ivorian and Congolese traditions in order to share the cultures with others and to counter the misconception that Africa is one homogenous continent. They hope that through teaching and performing they can demonstrate the unique beauty of Central and West African culture.
Learn more about African-Diasporic traditions in Central Florida:
Learn more about folk music and dance traditions in Central Florida: