Summer ‘Taste of Africa’ event held at Chastain, Cardozo

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JANS – In Western culture, drumming is most often about entertainment. In Africa, drums hold a deeper, symbolic, and historical significance. They herald political and social events attending ceremonies of birth, death, and marriage.

The summer “A Taste of Africa” event held at Cardozo and Chastain Middle School featured Jackson Public Schools web manager Femi Oloko for an African drum performance on June 9, 2023. He shared his culture with scholars and staff by entertaining them with different African drums – djembe and African talking drum.

The djembe is one of West Africa’s best-known instruments. This goblet-shaped drum is traditionally carved from a single piece of African hardwood and topped with an animal skin as a drumhead.

The African talking drum is carved into an hourglass shape from a solid piece of Mahogany wood, and decorated with a carved motif. Two hand-selected goatskin heads are tuned with high-quality nylon rope. Traditionally, the talking drum is played beneath one arm, and held against the ribcage. The drum is then squeezed to “bend” the pitch while the other hand employs a curved striker.

“The performance was an inspiring and captivating addition to the theme, A Taste of Africa,” said Robbie Ferguson, Chastain Middle School’s summer school principal. The passion displayed was uncontainable. Scholars learned about different drums and their purposes. Scholars jumped at the opportunity to learn to dance to the beat of the drum. Many did want to actually experience beating the drum.

Cardozo A3 Summer Camp really enjoyed the drum performance and dancers. Oloko taught scholars the names of the drums and the different sounds they make. Many scholars clapped and cheered during the performance. The African experience was later solidified by a Taste of Moi Moi!

“Our scholars researched Moi Moi and discovered that it was made of different foods they eat each and every day,” said Erika Purnell, Cardozo Middle School’s summer school principal. “We greatly appreciate you taking time out of your day to share your culture with our scholars. We look forward to many more experiences with A Taste of Africa.”

Volunteer professional dancers were Niketa Pechan, Aquarius, Yewande Isikalu, and Destinee Hamilton.

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Summer ‘Taste of Africa’ event held at Chastain, Cardozo

By Jackson Advocate News Service
June 26, 2023