To Fara Tolno, tradition is everything. Born in the former French colony of Guinea, he's spent most of his life dedicated to preserving his homeland's rich heritage, touring the world as both a teacher and a living embodiment of West African performance arts. Tonight at 8 p.m. at the Boulder Theater, he'll host Les Merveilles de Guinea, a celebration of Guinean dress, singing, drumming and dance. "These art forms are ancient and carry centuries of wisdom that have been passed on solely from person to person," says Shara Brun, event organizer. "We've been getting very out of touch with these human needs in the modern day."
In addition to recitals by the groups Fenye and Logo Ligi, featuring Mawuenyega and Maputo Mensah, Tolno himself will grace the audience as a member of Percussion de Kissidougou. Amid all his efforts on stage and in the classroom, Tolno recently released his debut CD, Binye, which means "respect" in his native language of Sousou. After all, respect -- for customs, culture and the unifying force of music -- is what Tolno and Les Merveilles are all about. The Boulder Theater is at 2032 14th Street in Boulder; tickets are $20 for regular admission, $10 for students. Call 303-402-1066 or visit www.faratolno.com/farahome for more information. -- Jason Heller
Curious New Voices have plenty to say.
Until recently, fledgling playwright and performer Mario Gonzales had only heard his words delivered by students at Adams City High School, in his native Commerce City. So the twenty-year-old Naropa Institute enrollee has loved watching professional actors, directors and dramatists help him ready a piece tentatively titled Por Qué? for inclusion in Curious New Voices: The Donald B. Vander Heyden Young Playwrights Project, a talent showcase being staged this weekend at Curious Theatre. "It's great getting to hear all these different voices," he says.
Curious New Voices hopes to accelerate the development of Gonzales and other scribes between the ages of fifteen and 21 by teaming them with dramatists such as Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks and some of Denver's top thespians, including Jessica Austgen and Christopher Leo. The results, Gonzales believes, will be as exciting for attendees as they've been for participants. "There are anxious feelings," he concedes, "but also really creative energy."
Performances begin at 7 p.m. tonight, tomorrow and Sunday, with each evening featuring different material. Admission is free, and no reservations are required. Curious is at 1080 Acoma Street; for more information, ring 303-623-2349 or go to www.curioustheatre.org. -- Michael Roberts
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What happens when you take four hip-hop street dancers and put them in the Vail International Dance Festival? If the results are anything like their other performances, probably a standing ovation.
The FLY Dance Company, an all-male group from Houston that combines innovative moves with classical music styles, will perform in Vail today at 3 p.m. Kathy Wood, founder and choreographer of the troupe, notes, "The festival has been historically modern and ballet, and we're a company that goes against the grain, against the modern stereotype." The invitation to participate, she says, is "a validation."
The dance festival, which started July 30 and ends with today's performance, is at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, 530 South Frontage Road in Vail. Buy tickets, $55-$320, online at www.vvf.org or call 1-970-845-TIXS. For more on the Fly Dance Company, go to www.flydance.com. -- Amelia Langer