Siama & Dallas Johnson host lively interactive kids' programs, African singing classes and Songwriting classes

SIAMA'S CONGO MUSIC - a LIVELY, HANDS-ON AFRICAN MUSICAL EXPERIENCE

Siama plays his signature style of guitar and also traditional African instruments like balafon (marimba), mbira (thumb piano) and tongue drum while Dallas sings, plays shaker, narrates and encourages everyone to participate. 

This program begins with everyone greeting each other in African languages. Then we sing along to catchy songs in Kikongo, Lingala, English and sometimes Swahili while practicing fun African singing styles (like layering parts, call and response and yodeling) and hearing fun stories about Siama's childhood in rural Bas Congo. Every class ends with playing shakers and dancing.

It can be tailored to any age group (college, all-ages, infants and toddlers, early elementary, middle school, high school, sensory or lifelong learners)

Siama and Dallas present 200-300 of these programs every year (in libraries and schools, festivals and special events). They stay super busy in their home base of MN but have recently brought their program to NYC, New Orleans, Nashville, Birmingham, Wisconsin and South Dakota. In addition to independent work, they're on the COMPAS roster of Teaching Artists (like Young Audiences) and they teach dozens of elementary classes each year as Teaching Musicians for Classical MPR's Class Notes Artists program. In 2018 they earned World Music Pedagogy certificates from Smithsonian Folkways and their children's CD ("Land of Yangalele) received a Parents' Choice award. 

SONGWRITING Class 

Siama and Dallas have a spontaneous, playful approach to songwriting and they love inviting people into the process. Writing a song in community with other people is a really special way to explore what you have in common in order to find a way to express yourselves in one voice. This class can be designed with your group in mind - whether a series of 90-120 minute sessions or one quick, fun session - and it can culminate in a simple recording, a more professional recording or a live performance...all up to you.

Schools . Libraries  . Family Days . Special Events . Festivals . Conferences

Workshops . Theaters . Galleries . Nursing Homes . Health Facilities 

QUOTES & REFERENCES

Feedback from a MN Librarian: "Such a GREAT event!  Siama is an amazing musician and Dallas did such a fabulous job of helping kids understand what it is like to step off a plane in the heart of Africa for the first time. . . Loved the fact that they engaged the kids in singing and dancing.  These events that are interactive are so much more educational and impactful that those that are straight performances! A big, big, big thumbs up!"

ORDWAY CENTER for the PERFORMING ARTS 
Dayna Martinez,
Artistic Director - Int'l Children’s Festival​
“It’s truly inspiring to see Siama work with children. He not only shares his great musical talent, but also generously provides the opportunity to creatively express themselves through music.” 

MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE of ART
KATIE WILDFONG
, Family & Team Programs  
"Siama and Dallas put together a sensational show for people of all ages. Their music is unique, joyful, and utterly irresistible, and their love for both music and for people shows through in everything they do. Truly a delight to work with!" 

MACPHAIL CENTER for MUSIC
Ivory Doublette,
Early Childhood Music Department 
“I’ve never been to the Congo, but after having Siama perform for our Early Childhood concert series, I feel like I got the chance to live there! I am so grateful for the time and care they took to put together a program that would not only entertain but educate and engage our children and their families.” 
  
INTERMEDIA ARTS
Casey Patrick,
Americorp Promise Fellow
"Siama and Dallas provided a wonderfully engaging performance at our Family Art Day event. Children were encouraged to try out the instruments, play along and learn more about the history of different cultures and musical traditions. A perfect way to reach all ages!" 


 

COLLABORATIVE SONGWRITING WORKSHOPS
Siama and Dallas encourage participants through a series of brainstorming and freewriting exercises in order to compose songs on a chosen theme. The new songs can be incorporated into a performance, a recording or both.

This can be a transformative experience for:

  • people who'd like to experiment with a new form of self-expression
  • groups who'd like to increase their synergy with each other 
  • people interested in writing new music for a performance
Fees vary according to number of participants, location, number of sessions, etc.
Contact us to explore possibilities.

 

Dallas with creative young singers at Intermedia Arts' Family Art Day. 
(photo Chris Juhn)

Dallas with creative young singers at Intermedia Arts' Family Art Day. (photo Chris Juhn)

Generations of music-lovers jamming with Siama's Instrument Petting Zoo for Open Streets Downtown (presented by Hennepin Theatre Trust)

Generations of music-lovers jamming with Siama's Instrument Petting Zoo for Open Streets Downtown (presented by Hennepin Theatre Trust)

Siama & Dallas performing on Family Day during a mini residency at Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Siama & Dallas performing on Family Day during a mini residency at Minneapolis Institute of Arts.