Theater
Felwine Sarr
and Étienne Minoungou
Traces – Speech to African Nations

NY Premiere

Wed, Sep 21 at 8:30pm
Abrons Arts Center



Based on the Senegalese academic, philosopher and poet Felwine Sarr, this lyrical text is captivatingly performed by Burkinabe actor Étienne Minoungou as an inspiring and imaginative storyteller speaking to his African brothers.

Infused with the cultural and historical experiences of the continent Traces is a way to bring Felwine Sarr’s philosophy to a younger African generation, emboldening them to build a new utopia. With uplifting accompaniment by musician Simon Winsé on the kora, the speech is an invitation to sow the seeds for a better future.

60 minutes
In French with English supertitles

Étienne Minoungou

Born in 1968 in Koupéla, Burkina Faso, Étienne Minoungou is an actor, author, director, playwright and cultural entrepreneur.

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    • His studies in sociology, theater and literature led him to work first as an instructor and an artist. As an actor, he has appeared in many plays, films and television series. His recent work includes Petit Frère by Léonor Serraille, presented at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2022. He founded the Falinga Company in Ouagadougou in 2000, and in 2002, he initiated the pan-African festival Les Récréâtrales. In December 2018, at the inauguration of the Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, Etienne Minoungou presented for the first time the show Traces – Speech to African Nations, a text by Felwine Sarr. He won the prize for best actor (2020-21 season) at the 58th Prize of the Syndicat des Professionnels de la Critique in France, for his performance in this show.

Simon Winsé

Simon Winsé is a multi-instrumentalist (Kora, N’Goni, Mouth Bow, Peul Flute) composer and singer.

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    • His musical universe is nourished by jazz fusion, blues, rock and traditional music of the San country in the northwest of Burkina Faso, where he is originally from. It is in his native village that Simon Winsé, as a child, learned to play the mouthbow. His inspirations are at the confluence of jazz, desert blues and rock. Resolutely turned towards interculturality and modernity, Winsé reveals his poetic writing with texts that resonate like philosophical tales. By resurrecting the heritage of the Samo culture, Winsé demonstrates that traditional African instruments and modern music are not antinomic.

Felwine Sarr

Felwine Sarr is a Senegalese academic, writer, and musician.

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    • Since 2020, he has taught contemporary African and diasporic philosophy at Duke University in North Carolina. His academic work focuses on the ecology of knowledge, contemporary African philosophy, economic policy, epistemology, economic anthropology, and the history of religious ideas. With Senegalese writers Boubacar Boris Diop and Nafissatou Dia, he is the co-founder of the Jimsaan publishing house. Felwine Sarr makes literature a vital necessity, a work of light and freedom. In 2022, he published Les lieux qu’habitent mes rêves, a meditative and initiatory novel.

  • Production Information
    • Produced by Théâtre de Namur
      Written by Felwine Sarr
      Directed by Étienne Minoungou
      Performed by Étienne Minoungou and Simon Winsé
      Outside Eye Aristide Tarnagda
      Lighting Design Rémy Brans
      Live Music Simon Winsé
      Excutive Producer and Touring La Charge du Rhinocéros
      Stage Manager Gaël Genette

      Co-produced by Festival Les Récréâtrales (Ouagadougou)
      With the support of Fondation Von-Brochowski-Sud-Nord (Berlin) and the Institut Français (Paris)

      Premiered at Musée des Civilisations noires, Dakar, on December 5, 2018
      Traces – Discours aux Nations Africaines is published by Éditions Actes Sud