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Tamangoh, an artist on a tap-step homeward journey

Tamangoh during one of his tap-dance shows.   -  
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Republic of the Congo

If tap dance is still alive and kicking in the jazz world today, it's thanks in part to one man: Tamangoh.

This internationally-renowned dancer and choreographer has made it his mission to perpetuate tap dance, while asserting its African origins through his show Kongo Square.

Invited to Loango for the 10th anniversary of the Soul Power Kongo festival, as part of the 60th anniversary of collaboration between the Congo and the European Union, the winner of the Master of American African Dance Awards held a workshop to pass on to the younger generation of black artists this page of history that links them all.

"For black people who lived in the United States during slavery, it was a way of continuing to express themselves because they were forbidden to play their drums. It was a way of asserting their right to speak, since we all know that in Africa the drum is a way of communicating between peoples. And so, with tap dancing, they reproduced the rhythms of their ancestors with their feet," explains Sylvie Mavoungou Bayonne of Matombi production.

It all began here on the Loango slave route, the exit point for millions of slaves. At this very moment, a historical walk is taking place with all the actors of the festival. A moment of recollection for Tamangoh, whose name evokes Kongo Square, once a slave market and epicentre of diversity in African artistic expression, before tonight's big show.

"I think the slave path is everywhere in the world, wherever Africa has gone. When I come here, the only thing that goes through my mind is to express myself in tap dance", said the artist. 

Tamangoh helps to perpetuate and enrich this tradition, while bringing its own artistic touch to this dynamic and almost timeless art form.

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