“Do not forget the strength of a people born away from home.” This is the meaning behind Kufere Ikemba Bandele. Kufere, the performing group of the Africa Diaspora Arts and Research Collective, Inc., is performing in the African Caribbean Concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium.
The concert, which kicks off International Awareness Week, is sponsored by the Center for Caribbean Culture, SGA and the International Programs Office. This is the 16th production of the concert.
The event features Orchesis Contemporary Dance Theatre, Haitian Cultural Club Dance Troupe, Tallahassee Bahamas Junkanoo Group and many more.
Jeanette George, 21, is performing an Afro-Bahamian Fire Dance. She said she performs in the concert because she enjoys sharing her culture and lifestyle with others.
“All I want to do is share what I know with others,” said the junior accounting student from Nassau, Bahamas.
“It’s important to me because it gives me and other Caribbean students an opportunity to display their talents.”
Jan DeCosmo is the producer of the event and also teaches Caribbean Religion and Culture. Her inspiration for initiating the first concert a decade ago, was none other than reggae artist Bob Marley.
“I fell in love with Caribbean music and branched out to…the African diaspora,” she said. “Every concert we have at least one special guest from the African diaspora.”
Every year DeCosmo requires her classes to write a paper about the concert.
“Every single paper starts with ‘I thought it was going to be bad because it was free’ or ‘I went because I had to go,'” she said.
“They always end up saying ‘I’m so glad you made me go. I didn’t know there was going to be so much energy, great music and dance.’ That’s why I do it.”
Orayne Samuels said that it is easier to accept different cultures than it was before.
“It’s good to see different types of black cultures and see how we’re [black people] diverse,” he said.
Samuels also said that seeing and hearing different types of music and dancing allows students to hear how music has transcended into what we hear today.
DeCosmo said she believes that part of the way to get a real education is to travel abroad. Among the places she takes students are Cuba, the Lafayette Music Festival and Junkanoo in the Bahamas.
“It [traveling] enriches your life so much and you learn things they don’t put in textbooks,” she said. “Find out about their roots and learn things they didn’t know about.”
For students who are unable to travel, the festival offers a cultural escape.
George said: “It will be something to remember.”
Danielle Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org