Yanvalou Drum and Dance Ensemble is a folkloric group that performs the traditional music and dance of Africa as it exists today in Haiti and Brazil. The Ensemble is a student group at Wellesley college comprised of students, staff, and visiting artists, directed by Kera Washington '93 and advised by Professor Gerdes Fleurant. Yanvalou is not a religious organization, but a folkloric ensemble, which portrays or acts out parts of a ceremony. Instead, the members learn about these cultures and traditions through the music and dance.
Yanvalou is made of two halves: the drummers and the dancers. The drummers play a variety of instruments in both Haitian and Brazilian styles. Because of the difficulty in finding many of the Brazilian instruments, they often play Brazilian styles on similar Haitian instruments. Drummers learn rhythms both from their director, Kera Washington, and from visiting collaborators. Dancers learn brazilian dances from choreographer Jean Appolon and from visiting collaborators. Both ensembles come together to rehearse, plan performances, and make costumes.