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African artist Gilbert Massala to perform at Vassar, March 23

Acclaimed francophone storyteller and singer Gilbert Massala will perform at the Powerhouse Theater on the Vassar College campus on Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. Massala's performance, titled "Mots d'Afrique," is free of charge and open to the public.

Massala, a native of the Congo, describes "Mots d'Afrique" as "a poetic and musical journey through African cultural diversity."

Over the past decades, Massala has been one of the Congo's most prominent advocates of African cultural diversity. After receiving degrees in literature and sociology from the University of Brazzaville in the early 1970s, he started out as a professor of French and cultural editor for the Brazzaville newspaper Ecole du Peuple. He then engaged in a prolific artistic career. Massala founded and played in the Balka Sound orchestra in Brazzaville.Blending drama and music, he soon became a playwright, actor, and theater company director. In the early 1980s, he moved to Paris and has since established himself as a renowned performer sharing with crowds worldwide his talents as storyteller, poet, singer, and musician of the African oral tradition. With his band Essengo (joy in the Congolese Lingala dialect), Massala has performed in Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, and the Caribbean, introducing audiences to his sounds and rhythms. He has also authored and hosted French television shows and documentaries on African culture and has recorded six albums over the last two decades. A collection of his tales and poems was published in 1997.

This will be Massala's first show in the Hudson Valley region. It is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, and hosted by the Department of French and the Africana Studies Program at Vassar College.

For additional information, call the Department of French at (845) 437-5720. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Cathy Jennings at (845) 437-5370, as far in advance as possible to request appropriate and reasonable accommodations.

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, March 23, 2000