The Ujamaa African Dancers and Drummers gave a smashing performance at the Colorado Black Arts Festival on July 19. The performance featured Fatu Lady Drummer as Musical Director, Cleopatra Jones as choreographer and local legends: Choreogapher Carmen Toure Lorenzo steppin out on the Douns, Stephan Cole Griffin, Senaku Reddick, Reuben Lorenzo, and Hip-Hop Master Deandre Carroll. The show opened with a tribute to Baba Adetunji Joda for twenty five years of teaching Yoruba dance and drum to the Denver Community. The group then proceeded to perform Kaki Lambe/Sonsornet, Mandiani with solos and a few improvisations. An excellent ending to a fun filled family packed weekend.
[vsw id="KEQ_Ld6jzTo" Source="youtube" width="425" height="344" autoplay="no"]
Fara Tolnowas born in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa. He spent his youth in the village of Kissidugu and Guinea’s capital city, Conakry. He started playing djembe at the age of nine and is a master of the Djembe, Dounnoun and various other instruments including bellaphone and flute. Fara spent nine years as the lead drummer for Les Merveilles (The Marvelous) de Guinea under the tutelage of West Africa’s most influential director and choreographer, Kemoko Sano.
The exchange of culture between West Africa and the United States and Europe is mutual. One of the greatest impact of western culture upon West Africa is the shift towards women playing traditional Drums of Power such as the djembe. The following clip shows a group of young women performing with their teacher on the djembe, a feat that would have resulted in severe repercussion for the women and the teacher as recent as 15 years ago. No doubt, the fact that women are the greatest seekers of African drum teachers in the United States and Europe is a prominent factor. There is significant income to made from women students. Significant income has also been made by students, many of whom are women, traveling to Africa to participate in drumming intensives. Many benefit from these intensives including those who provide housing, cook meals, escort and teach.
Odu means womb and Odu refers to any opening between Heaven and Earth or the visible and the invisible realms of existence. Odu Osa Meji
This is the essence of the matter: The creative power of women rests in the womb; her ability to open the door for the souls of the ancestors to move from the non-physical into physical existence. In this manner women have the Power to “uphold the world.” Death is mitigated by the guarantee of physical rebirth. The physical cycle of life becomes as fluid; eternal.