Helen Bond

Helen Bond

Helen Bond


Percussion

 

 

Helen Bond is a dynamic percussionist, teacher and storyteller who engages diverse audiences and students of all ages through the joy, energy and healing power of traditional West African hand drumming and songs. Helen is the recipient of the 2015 Jack Benny Arts and Humanities Award. In January 2016, she received recognition and certification for her drumming and teaching from the Institut Superieur Des Arts De Guinee (The Fine Arts Institute of Guinea).

Music has been an inspiration and source of strength and resiliency for Helen since her childhood. Since 2001, Helen has traveled annually to Guinea, West Africa to study the intricate musical traditions and culture of the Malinke and Susu people, whose ancestors created the djembe and dunun drums centuries ago. She lives among the local people in the capital city of Conakry and in various villages in the Hamana Region of Guinea, the birthplace of Famoudou Konate, (Grand Master of the djembe drum and its orchestra), Nansady Keita (his renowned nephew) and Drum Master Sekou Conde (from Sanenkoro Village.) Through intensive and long-term study with Famoudou and other accomplished djembe folas, dancers and griots (oral historians), Helen has developed and deepened her skill and repertoire in the traditional rhythms and songs and her understanding of their role in village life.

Helen performs and teaches classes for children and adults in the Chicago area, including regular workshops at the Grayslake Heritage Center in Grayslake, the Jack Benny Center for the Arts and the Visual Arts Center both in Waukegan. She is adjunct-faculty at Lake Forest College where she teaches the “West African Drumming Ensemble” and the West African Chamber classes.