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Refugee Women's Drum Circle

Refugee Artists in San Diego, June 2018

The Center for World Music celebrates the inaugural season of Songs and Stories: Refugee Artists in San Diego, a CWM project that bridges the distance between San Diego’s refugee population and the general the public through the performing arts.

San Diego County is known as a relocation hub for those fleeing persecution and violence. Over the past year, CWM project volunteers and staff worked with local refugee communities to identify performers and artistic leaders. We then facilitated opportunities for these artists to creatively interface with the public, allowing audiences to become immersed in the traditions, journeys, and voices of those finding refuge in San Diego. Through creative arts the CWM aimed to share refugee experiences and contributions, reduce the social distance between San Diego public and its refugee communities, and encourage support of refugee communities.

During the month of June 2018, 49 musicians performed in three locations across the City of San Diego. The events, which drew large and enthusiastic audiences, were hosted by the San Diego Public Library system.

The Songs and Stories series opened on June 6 with Voices of Hope from Africa at the San Diego Central Library  The event featured Matrida Boazi, the Revelation Gospel Band, and Emmanuel Adamson, with the discussion led by Delores Fisher, musician and San Diego State University lecturer.

Revelation Gospel BandRevelation Gospel BandRevelation Gospel BandVoices of Hope Crowd DancingMatrida and Revelation Gospel BandMatrida Dancing with AudienceVoices of Hope Discussion

Here’s a short video of the Voices of Hope concert.

The next event was Musicians of the Middle East on June 16 at the Logan Heights Branch Library. Featured were Fouad Sawa and the Al-Salam Ensemble, along with Dlan Dary. The discussion was led by Dr. Alex Khalil, neurocomputational ethnomusicologist and project scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

Iraqi Refugee Al Salam EnsembleIragi Refugee Musicians AudienceIragi Refugee Al Salam Ensemble with Natasha KozailyIraqi Refugee Musician Fouad SawaSyrian Refugee Musician Dlan DarySyrian Refugee Musician Dlan Dary

See more of Musicians of the Middle East in this short video.

Culminating the series was Transformations Through Rhythm & Word on June 21 at the City Heights/Weingart Library and Performance Annex. The program featured storyteller Ari Honarvar, poet/songwriter Shadi Amini, and Shiffa: Refugee Women’s Drum Circle, lead by Dilkwaz Ahmed, Ari Honarvar, and Christine Stevens. The discussion was led by Vikas Srivastava, musician, author, and advocate of non-violence and social equity.

Refugee Storyteller Ari HonarvarRefugee Women's Drum CircleRefugee Women's Drum CircleRefugee Musicians ShadiRefugee Musicians Transformation DiscussionRefugee Women's Drum CircleRefugee Women's Drum Circle

KPBS aired a nice video on Transformations Through Rhythm & Word.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This project was also made possible with matching funds from the Peacemakers Fund and through a partnership with the San Diego Public Library system.

Financial support was provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

The CWM expresses sincere thanks to the San Diego Refugee Forum, the International Rescue Committee, Musical Ambassadors of Peace, UpBeat Drum Circles, License to Freedom, and San Diego Newcomers Support & Development Programs.

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Mbira

September is Mbira Month

Celebrating Mbira Month

Mbira Month is a 30-day, global celebration of a Zimbabwean traditional musical instrument called the mbira. Mbira Month provides an international platform for celebrating and sharing traditional spiritual aspects of Zimbabwean Shona culture with all humanity. As both a musical instrument and a type of classical music, mbira is a “telephone to the spirits” associated with centuries-old cultural practices and religious beliefs. It is a vehicle for communicating deep human spirituality, both inside modern Zimbabwe and around the contemporary world.  The Center for World Music celebrates Mbira Month by sponsoring and coordinating a series of events in San Diego and in Japan—lessons, meditations, public concerts, informal presentations, and an informal get-together for mbira players in Southern California. See events here.

—Lewis Peterman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, School of Music and Dance, San Diego State University

Nomsa Burkhardt, Teaching the Traditional Music of the Zulu and Xhosa Peoples of South Africa

The Center for World Music would like to welcome back Nomsa Burkhardt to our family of outstanding teaching artists in residence, rejoining our World Music in the Schools program.

Update: Congratulations to Nomsa Burkhardt, Teaching Artist for the World Music in the Schools program, for winning a grant from Rising Arts Leaders San Diego to attend the Teaching Artist Institute.

Born in Soweto, Center for World Music distinguished teaching artist Nomsa Burkhardt is an extraordinary South African musician and dancer. She spent her formative years in KwaZulu, Natal, a region famous for its rich Zulu heritage and culture. There, she studied various traditional dance styles with master dancers, such as Indlamu, ukuQhobosha, and ukuSina. After immigrating to Philadelphia, she co-founded the African dance troupe HIMOSHA. Her artistic skills and passion for dance quickly propelled her into serving as both the director and lead choreographer for the troupe for seven years. She collaborated with well-known Philadelphia-based South African multi-instrumentalist and artist Mogauwane Mahloele at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, and at many universities and schools. She also performed and conducted workshops annually at the Philly Dance Africa Project. In 2000 she returned to South Africa to study with the accomplished ethnomusicologist Prof. Meki Nzewi at the University of Pretoria. Upon her return to the USA in 2004, she joined the Grammy-nominated South African band Sharon Katz & The Peace Train. As part of the Peace Train Project at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, Nomsa was instrumental in developing a teacher-training program that focused on South African history and conducted a series of educational performances. Nomsa has toured throughout the USA, South Africa, Israel, Italy, and Germany. She is the co-founder of IZINDE, an Afro-fusion band composed of performing artists from around the world.


RALSD LogoUnder the sponsorship of the Center for World Music, Nomsa was selected in September 2017 to participate in the Teaching Artist Institute, a professional development program offered by Arts for Learning San Diego, an affiliate of Young Audiences/Arts for Learning. For a working musician who collaborates with schools as a teaching artist, this program is of tremendous value. Nomsa was awarded a Virgil Yalong matching grant from Rising Arts Leaders San Diego to support her participation in the Teaching Artist Institute.


 

Nomsa Burkhardt at Garfield Elementary

Nomsa Burkhardt at Garfield Elementary

Nomsa is a distinguished teaching artist for Center for World Music’s NEA-funded hands-on schools program. Her student-centered curriculum exceeds California arts standards by bringing joy and heartfelt fun into San Diego classrooms, while addressing core learning outcomes. Through the study of the traditional music and dance of South Africa, Nomsa’s classes focus on the importance of history and culture in the creation of music, the use of musical instruments, and the expression of community unity and collaboration through the performing arts. Students learn the geographical origins of musical instruments, increasing their global awareness and providing them with a global context to the music and dance of Zulu and Xhosa cultures. Nomsa integrates the science of making musical instruments in her program, and her students enjoy a diversity of music-making through singing and games that involve stories and simple songs, enhancing the connections to other disciplines such as literacy and math.

World Music in the Schools and the children of San Diego are fortunate to have Nomsa Burkhardt spreading joy and understanding through the traditional music and dance of South Africa.

Maluju – Stop Xenophobia By Nomsa

Video of Nomsa teaching South African Zulu Music and Dance

Garit Imhoff, Musician and Storyteller

The Center for World Music would like to recognize Garit Imhoff for his years of dedication as an outstanding teaching artist in residence for the World Music in the Schools program.

Garit in the Garden

Garit Imhoff is a professional mbira player, teacher, and all-around performer, specializing in storytelling and movement. He is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and has participated in world music ensembles for over forty-five years. He has studied and performed traditional Zimbabwean music extensively, both in the United States and in Zimbabwe, and has studied the traditional music, puppetry, and cultures of Java and Bali in Indonesia. Mr. Imhoff learned and practiced Zimbabwean music under the tutelage of many great teachers including Ephat Mujuru, Jacob Mafuleni, Stella Chiweshe, Tute Chigamba, Irene Chigamba, and Musekiwa Chingodza.  As one of its cofounders, Mr. Imhoff is an active performing member of Zimbeat, a professional San Diego-based music ensemble that specializes in the traditional and popular music of Zimbabwe.  He is also a performing member of Kembang Sunda, a San Diego-based traditional west Javanese gamelan orchestra.

Zimbabwe DayIn 2013 Mr. Imhoff was awarded a grant through the Artist Outreach Project of the Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation–funding to support teaching children in Encinitas at the Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito. The Center for World Music partnered with the Picerne Foundation and Ticha Muzavazi, instrument builders and teacher of students with disabilities in Zimbabwe, to develop specially made small-sized Zimbabwean mbiras that could be easily played by young children. The resulting year-long project subsequently developed into Center for World Music classes in public and private primary schools throughout the County of San Diego.

Mbira Students

Combining storytelling, dance, and singing to engage his students, Mr. Imhoff has been using the small-sized mbiras to instruct San Diego K-12 children in the compelling traditions of Zimbabwe. His music classes in the schools are supported by grants from the California Arts Council, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the local San Diego community.

World Music Instrument: The Banjer, aka the Banjo

We continue our series of reports on the fascinating variety of world music instruments with an article by Curt Bouterse, Ph.D.

The banjo (its city name), or banjer (its traditional country name) is often thought of as a uniquely American musical instrument. And that is true, as far as it goes. But, like almost everything that wasn’t already here before the Europeans landed, its origins lie elsewhere. When Africans were brought to the New World as slaves, they brought the knowledge of a wide variety of instruments with a neck and a body covered with skin. While there were similar ancient instruments elsewhere in the world, it is clear that the African pattern, especially the akonting, from the area of Senegal and the Gambia—even its style of playing—was the inspiration for the evolution of the banjo. The most likely crucible for such development was the Caribbean: the earliest observers and extant examples come from there. One of the distinctive marks of the instrument was the short, high-pitched string played as an intermittent drone.

A painting, before 1790, is perhaps the earliest depiction of the instrument in the United States.

A painting, before 1790, is perhaps the earliest depiction of the instrument in the United States.

Early chroniclers in the United States included Thomas Jefferson, who characterized it as a distinctive instrument of the slaves in Virginia. Somewhere along the way European influences such as tuning pegs and a flat fingerboard were added. Probably for practical reasons, the usual gourd-bodied construction was superseded by a drum-like shell and transformed into its modern form; early 19th century instruments are clearly recognizable as the banjo as we now know it.

A genre painting by William Sidney Mount, 1856, showing its early modern form.

A genre painting by William Sidney Mount, 1856, showing the instrument in its early modern form.

Follow these links to see videos of musicians playing a modern gourd banjo & fiddle, the author playing a small gourd banjo of his own making, the akonting (the banjo’s most likely ancestor), and the ngoni, another West African instrument.

Curt Bouterse, Ph.D. is a member of the Center for World Music’s Advisory Board, and is a historical scholar, organologist, traditional musician, and instrument maker widely respected for his deep knowledge of Early and Medieval Music, World Music, and American Folk Music.

Mbira

World Music Instrument: The Karimba Mbira

We continue our series of reports on the fascinating variety of musical instruments that students in World Music in the Schools enjoy working with . . .

The mbira is a hand-held musical instrument that evolved in sub-Saharan Africa. In its many different forms, it is capable of producing both intimate singable melodies for meditation and vigorous percussive rhythms for dance. It can be used to delight and entertain, or it can be used to lend solemnity to religious ceremonies. Made from a small block of wood, with rows of tuned metal strips (lamellae) attached, the mbira naturally produces a subdued soft tone that can be amplified by placing it inside a large hollowed-out calabash gourd resonator (deze).

The mbira can be played as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble, with other mbiras or with drums (ngoma) or rattle shakers (hosho). When two mbiras are played together, each renders a different but complimentary interlocking musical part (kushaura or kutsinhira). As a native-trained teaching artist, I currently teach a solo mbira type from Zimbabwe—the karimba—in the San Diego K-12 public schools.

Garit Imhoff, World Music in the Schools Teaching Artist

See the mbira in action on YouTube. Also, San Diego students playing the Zimbabwean karimba.

View Teaching Artist Garit Imhoff in performance with Zimbeat on YouTube.

Afro-Cuban Drums

How Santería Seeped Into Latin Music

As part of “Beat Week,” National Public Radio does a segment on the connection between Santeria and Cuban music . . .

The sacred and the secular have shared a place in Cuban music going back to the 19th century — and, in fact, sacred music with roots in west Africa informs a lot of Cuban popular music.

Read (better, listen) to the story at NPR.org.

Cosmas Magaya

Cosmas Magaya on a mission to preserve African music.

Internationally renowned Zimbabwean mbira player Cosmas Magaya is in California for a Santa Cruz/Bay Area residency, which includes stops at Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, and California State University, Monterey Bay.

He realized [the mbira] represented more than an instrument to him: The mbira meant family and spirituality. His parents regularly invited mbira players to participate in religious ceremonies, as it’s commonly used in weddings, funerals and healing rituals among the Shona people.

 

Mbira Centre

Traditional Music in the Schools in Zimbabwe

From AllAfrica.com

“In its campaign to have traditional mbira integrated into the country’s education system, the Mbira Centre will today officially hand over to the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe and the EU delegation 50 mbiras and 50 mbira resonators commissioned for manufacture and distribution in The Mbira Centre’s “Mbira in Schools” Project.”

Music of Zimbabwe, June 14, 2014

CHILDREN’S WORLD MUSIC CONCERT SERIES

Music of Zimbabwe

Saturday, June 14, 2014 • 11:00am – 1:00pm

Seaport Village, San Diego, CA

Financial support provided in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture

Seaport Village 2014 Flyer

Events

Amadou Fall playing the kora, aka African harp

The Musical Legacy of an African Empire: Kora Music from Senegal

The Musical Legacy of an African Empire: Kora Music from Senegal

Amadou Fall

A native of Senegal, West Africa, Amadou Fall comes from a family of musicians. His father, Mamadou Fall, was a guitarist who performed with well-known Senegalese musicians.

The kora is a plucked, 21-stringed instrument made of fishing line, wood, a calabash gourd, and cow hide. It is the largest and most sophisticated member of a family of West African instruments known as harp lutes.

At the age of 10, Amadou befriended a community of griots, storytellers and oral historians who play the kora. He began visiting the griots regularly, learning from them the rudiments of playing the instrument. Having fallen in love with the kora, Amadou managed to build one from scratch. From that time forward he was self-taught.

Purchase Tickets

Amadou has been playing the kora now for some 20 years. He has performed extensively in Africa, including concerts with West African artists such as Baba Maal, Fatou Lowbe, Ibrahim Ba, Djembe Rhythm, Irene Tassembedo. His international tours have included visits to France, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and England, as well as Canada, Mexico,  and the United States. He has several albums to his credit, recorded with musicians from around the globe.

Amadou Fall playing the koraCurrently residing in Rancho Mirage, California, Amadou Fall works to bring people from all walks of life together in peace through his music.

Learn more about Amadou by visiting his website, Ame Kora.

Directions & Parking

For detailed directions to La Jolla Community Center via car or by MTS bus, please visit their location webpage. Street parking is available on Bonair. If you prefer, valet service will be offered on the curb in front of the Community Center.

 

Thanks to our 2019-20 Concert Series Sponsor!

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