Kalabanté is both a Québec-born show and a circus school built near Conakry, the Guinean capital. The link between the two? Generous artists who wish to assist Guinea and make it better known through shows in Canada and elsewhere.
In November 2006, Yamoussa Bangoura, together with several friends, founded Les Productions Kalabanté, an arts company conducting a humanitarian project. Bangoura is one of the people at the heart of this project. This multidisciplinary artist – acrobat, dancer and musician – grew up in Guinea, where he took part in shows of Conakry-based Circus Baobab. He later joined Montréal-based Cirque Eloize, going on the world tour of its show “Nomade” from 2002 to 2007.
In 2007, he founded Kalabanté in Montréal with Guinean artists and acrobats, and he also worked, as a creator of acts as well as an acrobat, singer and musician, for the Cavalia show “Odysseo.” In the following years, the Kalabanté collective produced four shows: “Ko Ryass” in 2010, “Uno” and “Kumbaya” in 2011, and “Kira Néné,” created in 2012 in collaboration with ArtCirq, the world’s one and only Inuit circus troupe, founded by Guillaume Saladin. This show was put together in connection with a documentary film produced by the two troupes, which share the same approach: giving hope and pride to their communities of origin. The film explored these two contrasting worlds (the Canadian Far North and Guinea), but with one and the same passion: the circus. Produced by Linda Matchan, Circus Without Borders had its world première in April 2015 at the Independent Film Festival of Boston.
The large-scale “Afrique en Cirque” show was presented outdoors at Nuits d’Afrique three years in a row, from 2014 to 2016, and then indoors at the Olympia de Montréal in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Kalabanté was invited to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. The following year, the “Afrique en Cirque” show was part of the Black History Month celebrations in 2018. The Kalabanté collective, which donates its profits to the building and operation of the circus school of the same name near Conakry, has hardly stopped amazing us.
This year, Kalabanté is previewing its new show, “Tambours Sacrés” (Sacred Drums), at the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique. With this new creation, African percussions are played in the form of Japanese taiko, in which each gesture is sublimated. Kalabanté translates emotion from the percussions into movement, breaking down each beat into an attitude, a posture, a contortion or a perilous leap. An event with sights and sounds not to be missed!