Black History Month program at Eastside Elementary in West Point

Friday, February 6, 2015

Dr. Bob led a group of drummers and dancers in a celebration of African musical heritage at Eastside Elementary School in West point on February 6th.  The program was given for over 250 kindergarten students and their teachers.  The drum ensemble consisted of Dr. Bob’s current jembe students: J.T. Doughty, Will Doughty, Bonnie Refro, Ada Fulgham, Lilly Fulgham, and J.C. Long.  Kayla Gilmore was the featured dancer for the fanga dance of welcome as popularized by Pearl Primus.  The program featured several drum pieces including the African-inspired fanga, kuku (originally played when women return from fishing), djole (played all over African to celebrate a harvest or a wedding), and kassa (originally a rhythm played during work in the fields for planting and harvesting).  The performers shared information about the instruments they played including the iron bell, shekere/rattle, jembe, dun-dun, and xylophone.  Other information shared included the meaning of the word “jembe,” the parts of the jembe, and the basic techniques and sounds of the jembe.  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!”  The program was arranged by Rebecca DeSantis, the music teacher at Eastside.  The assembly concluded with “Kye kye kule,” an exercise game from Ghana led by Dr. Bob and Ms. DeSantis.

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