Diamano Coura

About Us

History & community

Who We are

Diamano Coura is a not-for-profit community African arts organization with a cultural focus. Located at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in the City of Oakland, the Company is dedicated to preserving, educating, and appreciating traditional West African music, dance, theater, and culture through public benefit ventures. The mission of Diamano Coura is to provide global audiences access to the richness of indigenous African cultural tapestry through professional classes, performances, and the accurate depiction and perpetuation of African folklore indigenous Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Liberia, and Ivory Coast, whereby it can be understood and appreciated by all.

Our Mission

Diamano Coura is committed to partnering with other artists and community members to use the inherent power of the arts to break barriers that stagnate to open corridors that encourage social and economic development, while fostering health and spiritual health and well-being. Diamano Coura in the Senegalese Wolof language means “those who bring the message.”


Dr. Zakarya Diouf, PhD.

Naomi Washington

While the directors, Naomi and Zak, are respectively from Liberia and Senegal, Diamano Coura embodies generations of carefully trained male and female company dancers, actors, singers, musicians, stilt walkers, and visual artists. Diamano Coura has also performed extensively in major theater houses and universities in the United States, Canada, and Europe while also being invited to tour internationally:
In 1977, touring the West African countries of Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali;
In 1990-91, touring the Netherlands and Belgium. 

In 1993 Director Zak Diouf and Artistic Director Naomi Washington were invited to work with the San Francisco Ballet’s Val Carniporili in creating “Lambarena”, a collaboration of West African dance and European style ballet to the music of Johan Bach and traditional music of Gabon. This work premiered in San Francisco in 1993; New York, NY, in 1994; Salt Lake City, UT, in 1995; Seattle, WA, in 1996; West Palm Beach, FL, and Singapore in 1998. With the success of this creative, collaborative project, Naomi and Zak, on behalf of Diamano Coura, were invited to consult and choreograph for the Singapore Ballet in 1998 and in South Africa in 1999. Also a part of Diamano Coura’s community outreach and Creative Partnership Program, the company was invited to make the independent film, Follow Me Home, which was well received by other artists, film critics, and audiences. In its performance repertoire, Diamano Coura has regularly presented works at the Epcot Disney World in Florida, the Black Dance Experience, the Ethnic Dance Festival in San Francisco, the Bay Area Dance Series, the Houston Arts Festival, the Atlanta Black Dance Festival, the Olympic Cultural Festival and Collage de la Cultures Africaines in Oakland. Collage de la Cultures Africaines is a collaborative effort conceived and hosted by Diamano Coura, which brings together renowned artists, performing companies, and businesses from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world to celebrate music, dance, history, artwork, and cultures from countries of the African Diaspora.

Board of Directors

Cherese Brauer
Vice President
Aimee Fields
Kristen Graser, LM CPM
Veronica La Foucade
Dr. Elizabeth Grady, MD
Dr. Betty Robinson, PhD
Dr. Dawn Ferreiga, PhD
Jah Yee Woo

Advisory Board

Ms. Laurine Johnson


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To learn more about what Diamano Coura offers, please contact us.

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