Sidi Mohamed Camara, popularly known as “Joh,” was born in Bamako, Mali in West Africa, and from the age of 5, trained in music and dance from his mother Fanta Kamissoko, a well-known Jali (Jalis, also known as Griots, are highly venerated in their traditional society as skilled oral historians who are not only singers, storytellers, and musicians, but also advisors and mediators). Camara has toured with companies Troupe Mande, Troupe Sewa, Troupe du District de Bamako, and Percussion Fabla throughout the Republic of Mali and West Africa, presenting hundreds of shows. He was chief choreographer for Troupe Mande and Troupe Sewa and led them to become among the most renowned and competitive companies in the world of West African dance and drumming.
Camara came to the U.S. in 1995 with the renowned guitarist Zani Diabate and Troupe Mande. He has taught and presented his work at universities across the country including Brown, Princeton, Brandeis, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Berklee School of Music, Boston University, Washington University, and Olympia (Washington State). He currently teaches in numerous Boston Public Schools and other public and private schools and community centers and collaborates with Boston Ballet, Boston Symphony Youth Orchestra and Choir, Upward Bound, Planet Aid, and others. Camara teaches traditional Mande culture, language, music, and dance as well as those of neighboring Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Senegal at various community centers and instructs a semester dance and drumming class at Boston University and Harvard University.