Black History Month Program at Eastside Elementary School

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dr. Bob led his JEMBE DEN African Drum Ensemble in a celebration of African musical heritage at Eastside Elementary School in West Point on February 10th.  The program was given for over 250 kindergarten students and their teachers.  The drumming program consisted of the African-inspired welcome rhythm called fanga, kuku (originally played when women return from fishing), djole (played to celebrate a harvest or a wedding), kassa (played during work in the fields for planting and harvesting), madan (from Mali where it is played as a welcome during popular festivals, to celebrate prosperity, and at social gatherings, tiriba (now played in Guinea for celebrations such as weddings), luba (a teaching piece popularized by Toeknee Bailey), and dansa (played to welcome people for important meetings; the group learned this rhythm from Bassidi Kone).  The performers shared information about the instruments they played including the iron bell, shekere/rattle, jembe, dun-dun, and xylophone.  The ladies in the group gave a presentation on the udu musical clay pot of Nigeria.  Dr. Bob led the entire assembly in a call-and-response poem called “Toodle-loo! Toodle-lei!”  Selected students from Eastside joined the ensemble on stage to play drums and members of Jembe Den carried their drums into the audience to let all the students have the opportunity to play a jembe.  The program was arranged by Rebecca DeSantis, teacher at Eastside.

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