The tiny central African nation of Burundi, besieged by poverty and civil war for much of its history, has had reasons to hold its grand traditions close. Among those traditions, the country's specific style of drumming and dancing has taken hold as a kind of international calling card for the landlocked nation. Far from evoking images of strife and struggle, the Burundi rhythms and dances that have made their way into popular culture carry celebratory overtones.

Those rhythms will be on full display at 8 p.m. Saturday in the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts, when the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi perform on the CFA's Mainstage Theatre. In its first appearance in Buffalo, the troupe will demonstrate the ancient rhythms passed down across generations of Burundi men and put to use during grand royal ceremonies.

"In Burundi, drums are sacred and represent the powers of fertility and regeneration," according to a CFA release. "Through use of their drums and the ancient rituals that surround them, the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi channel the primal energy and creative spirit of African tradition."
Tickets are $13.50 to $26.50. Call 645-2787 or visit

Colin Dabkowski