Aly Tatchol Camara pulled out his dundun and banged out a beat from his homeland, helping 800 runners “jump in the fire” and race up the East Rock hill to raise money for immigrants and refugees.
Camara, of Guinea, kept the rhythm Sunday during the 6th annual Run for Refugees 5K, a fundraiser for East Rock’s Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS).
The race left from Orange Street outside Wilbur Cross High School and wound up the hill towards East Rock.
Camara (pictured) brought out two dunduns, traditional West African drums, and took a seat on the guard rail on the side of Farnam Drive, waiting for runners to make it up, then down, the last stretch of incline. With two drumsticks, he banged out a “sinte” rhythm traditional to his homeland.
He said sinte is played in Guinea to accompany dancers who “jump in the fire.” The beat urges dancers not to stop, he said.
“You’ve got to keep goin’, keep goin’,” he said. “If you stop, your feet are going to burn.”
Guinea, who works with IRIS to help new arrivals settle in New Haven, was one of dozens of immigrants who attended Sunday’s event.
The race drew strong representation from Fair Haven School, which hosts the city’s “newcomer center” for refugee and immigrant students.
Some 30 students, staff and family members from Fair Haven School joined the race, complete with I ♥ Fair Haven T-Shirts and face paint, to raise money to support the 100-plus “newcomers” at their school.
Photographers Jeffrey Kerekes and Chris Randall brought team coverage of the race. Click here for more of their photos.