19x24” pencil on bristol by Dave Kobrenski.
The Dembadon is a pre-marriage festival for the bride-to-be that is quite common in Conakry, Guinea, accompanied by much drumming, singing, and dance. “Sangban” is the name of the drum played by the man pictured here, and sangbanfola means “one who makes the sangban speak”, and is a compliment to the abilities of the player.
Dembadon festivals are an important part of how musicians in the city earn an income playing traditional music. The musicians are fed before the event, and during the festivities, money is thrown at or placed on the drummers and dancers, and is then collected to be split up equally by all the musicians.