Junkanoo Enchants Audience

Bright colors, exotic costumes and powerful drums excited the audience during Tuesday night’s African-Caribbean concert in Lee Hall.

“It was very upbeat and cultural,” said David Johnson, 20, a third-year pre-med student. “It was good seeing the different cultural aspects on stage.”

The show started off with the ‘Drum Call’ by the TutuOla. It was a moving, fast-paced performance that got the crowd hyped for the remainder of the show.

“Ain’t We All International,” by FAMU alum Avis Simmons was the first poem of the night. She spoke of the ties that brought the audience together in culture and race.

The TutuOla was one of the major performances of the night. During each performance, the group told a different story about the cultures it represented. Performers staged mini-battles. They also drew the crowd into the excitement. At one point, an audience member ran to the stage and tossed money at the performers.

FAMU’s Voices Poetry also performed. Their message: although people come from different places and speak in different tongues, everyone is connected.

“African people are spread out to more cultures than I thought,” said Johnson.

Performers focused on educating audience members as well as entertaining them.

Lashaundra Crometer brought her children to the concert to expose them to different African and Caribbean cultures.

“We don’t come every year but we came to learn,” said Crometer. Her daughter, Divine, said she loved the whole show and she could not pick a favorite performance. “All of it was great to watch,” said Divine.

The dancers of Simply Panamá had the most elaborate costumes. Each time they were on stage they had large, fan-like dresses that held the audience’s attention. The dances they performed were symbolic to the Panamanian culture.

“The Rooster and the Hen” was a courtship performance between a man and woman where the beautiful skirt of the woman flutters to attract the attention of the man. He eventually catches the skirt, which completes the dance. The final selection was ‘Soli’ performed by the TutuOla. It was the celebration of boys becoming men through the process of initiation. When the piece was over, they received the first standing ovation of the night. Usually, only men perform “Soli,” but women dance to it in celebration of newly initiated men.

Prahkeet Rahm, a graduate of Florida State, was one of the dancers. She has been dancing in traditional West African performances for the last 17 years.

“I don’t hear anything but the drums when I get on stage,” Rahm said.

The show-stopper was when the FAMU Rhythm Rushers Junkanoo Band came out. They brought members of FAMU’s Marching “100” to perform alongside them. The entire crowd was on their feet the moment the Junkanoo band came down the aisles.

But the show didn’t end there. When the Junkanoo was done inside the audience followed them outside for an encore presentation in front of Lee Hall. 

“It was the perfect way to end the show,” said Rahm