Friday, April 10, 2015
Dr. Bob led his African drum and dance ensemble called Jembe Den for the International Fiesta. They played samba for the parade of flags and four African-inspired pieces for the opening ceremony: Kuku, Fanga, Bamboula, and Dibon. Dibon is a welcome rhythm from Eastern Guinea that Dr. Bob learned from Paschal Younge while studying in Ghana. Kuku was originally played in Guinea and Ivory Coast when women came back from fishing. The dance is now done for the end of harvest celebrations and all kinds of festivals including full moon celebrations. Fanga is associated with the welcome dance popularized by Pearl Primus and Babatunde Olatunji. Kayla Gilmore presented her version of the welcome dance for this year’s International Fiesta. Bamboula is a dance and rhythm associated with the Sunday afternoon festivities in Congo Square in New Orleans during the 1700s and early 1800s. The International Fiesta celebrates diverse cultures through authentic music, dance, food, and games. The World Neighbors Association (WNA) was formally organized in 1987 under the sponsorship of the MSU Office of International Programs. WNA flourished as an organization during the 1990s and initiated many international activities and cross-cultural opportunities. Two major activities that WNA originated under the leadership of Ruth and Armando de la Cruz have become annual traditions. These are the Thanksgiving Dinner for international students and the International Fiesta.