Jembe Musician’s African Home and School Demolished by Ivory Coast Government

Dembele home and music center in Abobo after the demolition
Dembele home and music center in Abobo after the demolition


Asheville (North Carolina) musicians are reporting that the Dembele home and music center in Abobo, Ivory Coast, was demolished on January 12, 2015 by the Ivorian government.

The reason given for this demolition was that the ground was eroding and unsafe, a fact that is common in this part of the country with very little infrastructure,” says Zansa director Ryan Reardon in a press release. “Hundreds of people were pushed out of their homes with one week’s notice and given no temporary housing, shelter, or monetary compensation. Many families and children are now living on the streets. Government officials have told people that “they are on a list,” but haven’t said where or when they will rebuild their homes, or even if they will rebuild.”

Asheville-based musician Adama Dembele and his family operated the Dembele music center, a link between Ashevillle musicians and West Africa for over a decade.

Adama Dembele is a 33rd generation musician from Ivory Coast who performs with the Ashevillle-band Zansa. The Dembele family residence, including the Djembeso Drum & Dance Education Center, was a place for people of all ages to study drumming, dance, and learn about West African culture. Asheville musicians have traveled to study there, including members of Zansa and Toubab Krewe, as well as hundreds of others from around the world. The residence had been in the Dembele family for more than 70 years. It was a haven for locals to get off the streets and learn the music and history of their people.


Dembele home and music center in Abobo before the demolition
Dembele home and music center in Abobo before the demolition


Members of Zansa and other supporters of Asheville’s West African community are speaking out against this tragedy with the hope that word will spread.

To help raise funds for the Dembele family to rebuild their home and music center, a Soumu is being held in Asheville on February 19, which is a celebration of West African music, dance, food, and culture. The event will be held at New Mountain, and a portion of the proceeds will go to help the Dembele family rebuild their home and music center.

An online donation website will be setup very soon.

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central


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