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Women Djembe Drummers

Grandmother of the Drum: Edwina Lee Tyler

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Grandmother's of the Drum

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The year was 1993.  I arrived in a small Central Michigan Town after driving two days in the rain.  I had caught a cold and was feeling quite sick.  After a long wait in line, I made it through the check-in process at the Michigan’s Women’s Music Festival.   This was my first Mich Fest experience.  A kindly soul hauled my gear and helped me set up my tent.  Fever and sniffles aside, I feel into a deep and seemingly dreamless sleep.  My mission to go to Michigan for the festival was clear.  There were black women drumming there and I wanted to meet them.

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Sonsonet: A Dance for Female Circumcision

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Female Circumcision

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A contemporary choreography  of Sonsornet presented for the song.  More traditional arrangement below.

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Magic & Ritual Abuse: Female Circumcision in Central and Western African

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Female Circumcision
They said Odu must make sacrifice. She said she would not make ebo  ( an offering) because the ebo was already made. The offering for woman to receive power was made in the presence of Olodumare. They said she must not become overconfident in joy because she is capable of using these powers for a very long time. The world will not be able to destroy that which she has in her hands. The world will not know the root of her power. Odu refused to make the sacrifice. Odu departed without making ebo. Osa Meji

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African Women Djembefola

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.

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The Drum is a Woman!

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. 

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