BUCKHANNON, West Virginia – On Friday, Sept. 8, Yamil Conga will be performing from 6 to 7:30 p.m. as part of the Sankofa: Africa to Appalachia Exhibit. Conga will play drums and share the history of the African Caribbean influence on Appalachian music via the banjo and drum.

“In the 19th century, banjos were found in the American North, West, and South, and, of course, remained predominant in the Caribbean,” Conga said.  “Banjos became part of mento music in Jamaica, a forefather of reggae. It became part of calypso music in Trinidad and Tobago. It rang out in Haiti and throughout the rest of the Afro-Caribbean world. This influence changed the style of banjo playing throughout the United States.”

Conga is a native of Puerto Rico and a current resident of Nashville, Tennesee. Conga tours nationally and internationally and also visit colleges and universities, bringing educational lectures on the conga drum and salsa music. 

The exhibit Sankofa: Africa to Appalachia Exhibit, curated by WVWC’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Laurie Goux will remain in WVWC’s Sleeth Gallery through Sept. 22. 

The gallery is located in McCuskey Hall. Gallery hours vary. To see the exhibit, email gallery director Crystal Brown at brown.c@wvwc.edu

West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts and sciences college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan as one of its 2023 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan seventh in Best Value – Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 50 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, nursing and clinical mental health counseling; 20 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 50 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit wvwc.edu.