The traditional arts group Benkadi, meaning “strength through unity” in the Mandinka language, emerged in 2011 as artists from Guinea, Senegal, Haiti, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, France, Mexico and Canada joined forces.
Presenting various disciplines including dance, song and percussions, the group has as its keystone a love for Guinean culture and a desire to promote its traditions worldwide. During its performances, Benkadi offers spectators art forms including dance, song, traditional music and acrobatics, enabling them to experience Guinean folklore.
Recognized as purely traditional (ambassadors of the culture of the Hamana and Sankaran districts), Benkadi stands out as one of the few arts groups, if not the only one, to present the Konden mask from the Hamana region. The group occasionally sports the Kawa mask from Upper Guinea or the Tassaba mask from Hamana. Benkadi also presents the dance of the warriors, with wooden rifles, portraying hunters returning to the village, and the Doundounba dance, with strong men dancing to glorify masculine strength.
Benkadi’s enchanting rhythms are composed of arrangements of djembés, kora, doundouns, balafon, gongoma, krin, bolon and castanets. In just its second year of existence, in 2012, Benkadi and its exhilarating beats won the Syli de bronze in conjunction with the Festival Nuits d’Afrique in Montreal.
With performances at many festivals including African Sound Fest Montreal (2014), La nuit de Makossa (2014) in a Petit-Pays preview, the Muhtadi Festival in Toronto (2013), the Festival des traditions du monde in Sherbrooke (2013) and the Nuit du Saba (Montreal 2013), Benkadi pursues its rise with the aim of disseminating the riches of traditional Guinean culture.