The Office of Black Diasporan Culture hosted an African-Caribbean concert Friday night in the Lee Hall auditorium.
LaToya Davis-Craig, a show producer and office manager for the OBDC, said she wanted for the concert to “highlight aspects of different cultures of the African diaspora.” This aim was demonstrated throughout the show.
“Anybody feeling irie tonight? Everybody say irie,” said Olusegun Williams, the master of ceremonies. The show began with Williams discussing brief details of the show’s content.
The show consisted of cultural songs, dance and music from various ethnic regions such as West Africa, Central America, Haiti and the Bahamas.
The first performance was the Zydeco Hellraisers, which included Dwayne Dopsie, a Zydeco legend. Zydeco is a form of Creole music derived from community gatherings of Southwest Louisiana.
The band consisted of a bass guitar, drums, guitar, accordion and scrub board.
The accordion and scrub board are the most emphasized instruments of Zydeco.
In addition to the music, the Zydeco Hellraisers invited audience members onto the stage to showcase “La La,” a house dance.
Dromatala, an organization that focuses on the study of hand and stick drumming, was the second group to perform in the concert.
The drummers got the audience very active in the performance. An audience member even threw money on the stage.
The tempo of the music was upbeat and many audience members began to clap and make various sounds. The range of drums used during the performance included the jembe, the dunun and the talking drums.
The concert also had two dance performances. The Corazon Dancers performed salsa choreography and the Haitian Culture Club Dance Troupe performed Haiti Drum Dance.
West African traditions were greatly represented throughout the concert.
Prophecy Music Project is a group of artists that perform songs and music of the Yoruba tradition.
A trio of drummers exemplified family through the mother, the father, and the child drum.
Dromatala, in collaboration with S.P.I.R.I.T.S. S.O.A., performed the Chakaba.
This dance tradition is said to lure away evil spirits and consists of traditional drummers and a dancer on stilts.
The show ended with a grand finale performed by the Rhythm Rushers.
The Rhythm Rushers represent Bahamian traditions such as Junkanoo. Junkanoo is a national festival held annually in the Bahamas.
Performers wore vibrant self-styled costumes with large headpieces and plenty of glitter and feathers.
The performers began in the rear portion of the auditorium and danced through the aisles.
Many of the audience members stood up to participate in the dance movements. The Rhythm Rushers led the crowd out of the auditorium and outside into the cool air of the night.
The performers and the audience both continued to celebrate until the crowd began to lessen in size.
At the conclusion of the concert, Davis-Craig was satisfied with the production as well as the audience’s reaction to the last performance.
Williams said, “All performers focus to maintain African culture no matter where they reside.”
The African-Caribbean concert, in addition to the organizations that participated in the event, encourages the enrichment of the African-Caribbean culture.