Fodé Moussa Camara, Executive Director, & Master Drummer

Fodé Moussa Camara was born into an artistic family in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa.  His musical talent was discovered by earlier age at the age of five, at which time he began his formal training with instruments of the Djembe, Doun-Doun, Sangban, and Kenkeni orchestra. He was called a prodigy by his teachers, claimed leading roles, and featured artist status in myriad local productions.  Elder artists throughout Guinea, Senegal and Mali, regularly sought Fodé Camara’s musical contributions. Camara's command of the Djembe, Doun-Doun, Sangban, Kenkeni and other specialized traditional West African percussion instruments like Krin, Bolon, Gongoma and other instruments prepared him to become the Musical Director of the renowned Gbassikolo an African Ballet, owned by his father Djibril Morlaye Camara, and leader drummer of the company Fatouabou Percussion in 1997.  In 1998, Fodé become the Musical Director of the National Circus of Guinea, an international touring ensemble.  His affiliation with the circus was interrupted when, after an international search in 2000, Camara was recruited to Senegal's Ballet D'Afrique Noire.  Fodé began a United States, 32-city tour with the ballet as lead drummer of the widely acclaimed Mandinka Epic, a dance theater production that told the history of the Mali Empire.  In 2002, Camara began working with distinguished Kadiatou Conté Forte, affectionately known as Mama, whom is the Artist Director of Balafon West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble where he serves as Musical Director.

In high demand, Camara tours extensively in Africa, Europe, North America, South America and Australia as an instructor, choreographer and guest artist.  He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, Howard University, University of Maryland, and University of South Carolina and with a large number of performance ensembles. His participation is sought for annual African dance and music conferences throughout the United States.  In 2004, Camara served as Musical Director for Borenya West African Drum and Dance Company, teaching and performance company located in Columbia, SC. Two years later because of his skill and artistic creativity, he was appointed Artistic Director for Borenya.  In 2009, Camara started his own company Wona Womalan West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, that educates about West African history and culture that brings the knowledge and compassion to numerous schools and communities through performance, workshops and residencies.  His company is located in Charleston SC. Fodé Moussa Camara, Master Drummer, Percussionist, Folklorist, Choreographer, exemplifies the new generation in the preservation of West African traditions and the influence of these traditions on the world. Born into this responsibility, Camara honors his family through his artistic expression of Guinea's musical traditions and Culture.

Patrice Camara, Director & Dancer

Patrice is the co-founder of Wona Womalan West African Drum & Dance Ensemble. Born in Charleston, SC, Patrice has been involved with West African traditional arts for 11 years.  She is the Choreographer and Assistant Director for NIA Products, a children’s African dance ensemble in Charleston, SC; as well as the former lead dancer and Choreographer of Adande African Dance and Drum Company.  She has taught and performed at numerous venues including Creative Sparks, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, Sullivan’s Island Palmetto Youth program, North Charleston Performing Arts Center, Sweetgrass Festival and many schools throughout SC.  Patrice has studied under Master Artists Kadiatou Conte-Forte, Mamady Sano, Salematou Kante, and Kadiatou Kante.

Shaleena Capers, Choreographer, Dancer, Support Coordinator

Shaleena began her dance training at Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center in New York at the age of three, where she studied African dance, ballet, and tap.  She continued her training in California and later Maryland where her repertoire expanded to include jazz dance.  While attending Hampton University, she studied various art forms such as Katherine Dunham, Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham.  However, her passion was deeply rooted in African dance.  Upon her return to Maryland to continue her education in psychology at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), she began taking West African dance at KanKouran West African Dance studio in Washington, D.C.  Shaleena studied under renowned artist such as Assane Konte (Artistic Director of KanKouran) and Kadiatou Conte-Forte (Artistic Director of Balafon African Dance Ensemble).  After graduating from UMBC, Shaleena joined Soul In Motion, an African Drum and Dance Company in Mt.Rainier, MD.  She choreographed and danced with Soul In Motion for five years and performed at various venues such as Dance Africa DC, Black Rock Center for the Arts, MD, Montgomery County Government in MD and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.  Presently, she is the Research Director for Soul In Motion.  She continued her passion for dance with Adande African Dance & Drum Company in Charleston, SC and taught African dance classes at Spirit Moves in Charleston, SC.  While completing her Masters in Business at Strayer University, she further pursued her passion and joined Wona Womalan West African Drum & Dance Ensemble. Dance is her voice, and she speaks through movement!

Julia Jaskwhich Rodriguez, Dancer

Julia Jaskwhich Rodriguez graduated from the College of Charleston in 2002 where she majored in Anthropology and Latin American and Caribbean studies.  She currently attends the Medical University of South Carolina where she is pursuing a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner degree.  Julia developed her passion for West African dance while traveling in Guinea and Sierra Leone in 2004, which has developed into a lifelong love affair with West African musical arts. Julia is also an accomplished Latin dancer.  She combined her love of African and Latin dance in 2006 by founding, a Charleston based Afro-Latino dance company.  Julia serves as Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer of Buen Aché.  Julia is fluent in Spanish and has traveled extensively in Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean.  She has studied dance in West Africa and Cuba.  She continues to develop her technique and refine her style by studying with prominent West African and Afro-Latino dancers and choreographers throughout the US frequenting Latin dance venues around the world.

Keisha Reid, Dancer

Keisha Reid was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. She began studying ballet at the age of five at the Rita Patti Ann School of Dance in New York.  She played the piccolo, flute from junior high through college.  Keisha graduated from South Carolina State University in 1993 with a B.S. degree in marketing.  She attended ECPI where she received an associate degree in Computer Electronics/Engineering Technology.

Keisha was introduced to West African dance in 1996 and joined Harambe Dance Company (later known as Adande West African dance company) where Artistic Directors Frank and Sandella Malloy named her dance captain.  In 1998, Keisha moved to Charlotte, NC, and danced with Kambankafo West African Dance and Drum Ensemble under artistic director, Mohamed DaCosta.  Keisha taught West African dance at the North Carolina Center for the Performing Arts and Leap of Faith Dance Company in Charlotte, NC.  She relocated to Charleston, SC in May 2008.  Keisha has performed at the North Charleston Arts Festival, Moja Arts Festival, and Charleston Southern University and Sander’s Clive Elementary. In addition to dancing with Wona Womalan West African Drum & Dance Ensemble, she also performs with Buen Aché.  Keisha is pleased to add Afro-Latino dance to her repertoire.  In addition to Keisha busy life as a dancer, she is also the proud mother of two sons, Donavan and Devin.

Rhonda Richardson, Dancer

Rhonda began dancing at age five under Walter Rutledge, the famed dancer who performed with Michael Jackson in the popular music video, “Thriller.”  Rutledge greatly influenced Rhonda, who encouraged her to seriously pursue dancing.   She was a quick and precise student who eagerly learned every move that Mr. Rutledge taught.  She performed dances from the movies The Wiz and Skill Island that thrilled audiences. 

While attending Burke High, Rhonda became the lead choreographer for the dance group, The Hot Steppers.  She joined Adande African Drum and Dance Company.  One year later, she was invited to compete in the NAACP Nation Wide Talent search and placed second.  In 2000, Rhonda joined NIA Productions, an African drum and dance company and later taught choreography. Rhonda danced with RBM an African drum and dance ensemble based in Charleston, SC.  Rhonda is passionate about dance and feels she has found her home with Wona Womalan West African Drum & Dance Ensemble.  Rhonda has performed at such events as Black History Program at Burke Performing Arts High School, and College of Charleston Culture Fair.

Stacia Council, Dancer

Stacia has been dancing at the age of three.  She served as Principal Dancer in the play We Be Gullah Anointed People.  She has taught dance at Avery Research Center and Jenkins Orphanage as an Artist-in-Residence.  As well, Stacia has performed at such venues as North Charleston Arts Festival, MUSC International Festival, and Morningside Middle School. Stacia feels that the ability to dance is a blessing that allows her to tell stories through movement.  She loves being part of a creative process that is an expression of West African traditional culture.  “I will always continue to dance and then, when I am done, I will pass my passion on to the next generation.”

ShaniQua Gaie, Dancer

ShaniQua has been studying African dance for 11 years.  She has performed with NIA Productions throughout South Carolina and one of the company’s lead dancers.   She is a graduate of The School of the Arts.  She plays the bass clarinet and was recognized for her artistic contributions to the SC Region Four Senior Band.  As well as being a musician, ShaniQua has danced at events such as North Charleston Arts Festival, Cypress Gardens Cultural Dance Festival and College of Charleston Culture Fair.


Jannay Nesbit, Dancer

Jannay is the youngest member of Wona Womalan West African Drum & Dance Ensemble, but has been doing West African dance for six years.  She began dancing with NIA Productions, an African dance and drum company in Charleston, SC at three years of age.  Jannay has danced at Boykin Academy, a school for the performing arts, as well as at Charles Pinckney National Historic Site.

Chantel Molix, Dancer

Chantel was born and raised in Charleston, SC and was introduced to West African Drum and Dance in May of 2009.  She began by observing, and when she finally got the courage to dance and participate, she realized it was not as easy as it looked.  Dancing is a big part of Chantel’s life and she enjoys it thoroughly.  Chantel is a full time college student at Trident Technical College, majoring in Early Childhood and Education and works full time at a Daycare.  However, she still makes time to perform with Wona Womalan at events such as Penn Center Day, North Charleston Arts Festival, Cypress Garden Cultural Dance Festival and Florida African Dance Festival.

Sinclair Jamison, Dancer, Drummer

Sinclair’s motto is “Don’t Dance, Fly!”  Moreover, he has done this since he began his training at the age of nine.  His many talents landed him in numerous talent shows and local events.  Since then, Sinclair performed yearly in South Carolina’s biggest events such as the Moja Art’s Festival, Piccolo Spoleto, Florida African Dance Festival and the North Charleston Arts Festival.  In 2010, Sinclair auditioned and became a member of Wona Womalan. 

Regina Hollingshed, Dancer

Originally, from Charleston, SC but raised in Oah’u, Hawaii Regina was exposed to Hawaiian Hula, Soma Siva, and Tahitian Hula dances and later choreographed for Wahiawa Intermediate School and Leilehua High School.  Her dance venture continued with pursuit of learning Salsa, Bachata and Merengue while in Pennsylvania and Foxtrot, Rumba, Shag and the Waltz at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in West Ashley, SC.  Her curiosities lead her to even study Grecian Folk Dance at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.  Regina hopes to venture into the study of Indian Folk Dance and Japanese Geisha Dancing in the future.  Currently, she is a member of Wona Womalan and is excited to learn the art of West African dance and drum.

Tarshá Coleman, Dancer (Apprentice)

Tarshá was born in Shreveport, LA.  At the age of five, her family relocated to Charleston, SC.  At a young age, her parents exposed her to many dance and music cultures.  As a young adult, Tarshá developed a strong curiosity and love for dance.  Her passions for dance lead her to perform with several dance and step teams in Junior and High School.  While attending MSU and Limestone College, where she attained several business degrees and graduated Suma Cum Lade, she developed several lifelong friends from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea who introduced her to West African dance. As the newest member of the Ensemble, she has performed at Florida African Dance Festival, Burke Performing Arts School, Cypress Gardens Cultural Festival and College of Charleston Culture Fair.  Tarshá knew that within seconds she had found something she loves-African dance and culture.

Kofi Agyei, Drummer

Kofi began drumming since the age of six and played Ghanaian traditional drums.  At 13 he was introduced to the djembe, Guinean traditional, drum.  His mentors included Nana Yao Opare Dinizulu I, Nana Adzua Opare and studied drum under the tutelage of Nana Yao Opare Dinizulu II, Osei Williams, Kwesi Amante, and Gene Osborne.  Kofi’s drumming appearances include various Kwanzaa festivals, held in New York, with the Dinizulu Drummer and Dancers, and other venues with the Asase Yaa Dance Company and Devore Dance School.  As well, he has performed at numerous events with Wona Womalan such as North Charleston Arts Festival, Florida African Dance Festival, Morningside Middle School, YMCA, and Burke Performing Arts High School

Ankhma “Chaa” Tchaas Small, Drummer

Ankhma Tchaas Small started drumming at age 5.  He is also a percussionist for NIA Productions, and he has performed with Harambe and Adande African Drum and Dance Company.  Ankhma is versed in numerous musical instruments including the Djembe, Doundoun and Balafon.  He attends Garrett Academy of Technology in North Charleston, SC.  Although a fulltime student, he still makes time to perform with Wona Womalan at events such as Charleston Southern University, MUSC International Festival, YMCA and Dr. Martin L. King Celebration at Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC.

Kamau Nesbit, Drummer

Kamau began drumming at five years of age.  During his drumming career, he has studied under Mamaday Keita, grand Master of the Djembe drum who is originally from Guinea, West Africa.  He has taught drum classes for children at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture and at Jenkins Orphanage Artist and Residence.  As well, Kamau has performed at numerous venues such as North Charleston Arts Festival, Piccolo Spoleto, Black History Program at Burke Performing Arts High School, College of Charleston Culture Fair, Charleston South University, and Florida African Dance Festival.


*Wona Womalan performance history can be furnished upon request


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