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The Vow I’m Making

Last night I attended my first Village of Wisdom (VOW) Black Genius Workshop last night. Let me first state how much I LOVE that the acronym VOW affirms the work they are doing on behalf of black families and P.O.C. Each time I see it/say it (VOW) I am giving myself a call to action, a call to commit, a call to care.

Let me see if I can paint a picture of how the evening went. I arrived involuntarily late – 6:30 instead of 6pm. Shoot! A large VOW banner directs my eleven year-old son and I underground toward the administrative offices at Northgate Mall. We walk into a very large carpeted room were children of all ages are playing. My son immediately spies two of his friends from school. Phew! I’m thankful that there’s planned childcare. I follow the signs that lead to a conference room. A young man wearing a bright red t-shirt that reads “Black Genius” greets me at the door. I sign in and am instructed to take a brightly colored “Black Genius” folder and a small “Black Genius” notebook and pen. Well equipped to participate and take notes, I find a seat among the semi-circle of parents and mix of older and younger children who are busy with plates of sandwiches, bags of chips and crackers, cans of sparkling juice and water. I quickly sit down and tune into the conversation in progress. Parents are casually talking to one another about their children and offering affirmations about them. Wait! This is the icebreaker. I realize that I no longer need to rush- that VOW has been intentional about childcare, food, and the need for a buffer between self/family-care and the battles of work, traffic, and bills. I end up sitting next to a neighbor and friend and meet several other friendly-faced parents.

Shabu/Hope Family celebrating Grandma's 80th birthday

Shabu/Hope Family celebrating Grandma’s 80th birthday

The facilitator invites parents to wrap up their conversations and tune into the power point presentation. Her tone is warm and familiar. The rustling of children does not phase the facilitator nor causes her to raise her voice. To her, these ambient noises are the welcome sounds of strong families. Parents lean in making the space that more intimate. The facilitator talks slowly and deliberately. The conversation is engaging and interactive with ample opportunity for parents to ask questions and hear one another’s stories. My partner for one of the activities was a beautiful Muslim woman; she was a new mother. As she spoke about her talented and precocious son, her eyes sparkled and I drank in the wonderment of parenting for the first time in many years. She asked me about my homeschooling journey and we made plans to stay in touch. By the end of the workshop, I felt listened to, offered myself as a resource, and was fed by new ideas and information. The pace of the evening and activities allowed me to grasp VOW concepts and strategies without feeling overwhelmed or worried how would I ever remember or be able to implement all of this information.

With full receptivity and transparency VOW invited the parents – “the village” in the making – to be part of an evaluation of the workshop. An easel, flip chart and markers came alive as “the village” offered “pluses” and “deltas”, or “triangles” as one parent called them. The feeling in the room was one of instant community as if we’d all been working together for weeks, rather than meeting for the first time many of us. VOW provided a framework and a container for successful community building and we were invited to take these strategies home and “build” with our own families. That chlly November evening began with a list of numerous appearances I would make at different events between Durham and Raleigh, but I’m glad I made the vow to attend the Black Genius Workshop.

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SHABUTASO AT THE SHAKORI FESTIVAL

SATURDAY ON OCTOBER 8TH, SHABUTASO WILL BE DELIVERING ANOTHER DYNAMIC  PERFORMANCE OF AFRICAN DANCE AND DRUMMING AND AN AFRICAN DANCE WORKSHOP AT SHAKORI FESTIVAL IN PITTSBORO N.C. AT 2PM.

shabutaso2 JOIN US ON SATURDAY FOR THE FESTIVITY AND EXCITEMENT AS WE SHARE AND SUPPORT VENDORS AND ENJOY WONDERFUL MUSIC.  PLEASE CLICK ON EVENTS TO SEE OUR CALENDAR OF UP COMING PERFORMANCES.

 

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Opening for Paperhand Puppet Show

Paperhand’s 2016 summer show “The Beautiful Beast”

Paperhand’s 2016 summer show “The Beautiful Beast”

Saturday August 20th Shabutaso will be the opening act for Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s 2016 show “The Beautiful Beast”. Shabutaso is honored to kick off the night as an ambassador to one of the world’s oldest storytelling traditions, the griot or djeli tradition from West Africa. The Pre-show starts at 6:20pm at the magical Forest Theatre in Chapel Hill. This outdoor amphitheater is perfect for families and a great place to meet up with friends. There’s nothing more intriguing than to be out under the stars with hundreds of people watching the seemingly impossible evolve before your eyes. You can’t help but leave feeling hopeful about the world we live in.

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African Dance Classes!!!

                                         SHABUTASO AFRICAN DANCE CLASS!!!!!

Shabutaso is very excited to announce their Sunday evening Dance Classes!

Shabutaso is now providing African Dance Classes for the community every Sunday at 5pm to 6:15pm

tmoar-photo-1Dance classes will be located at the Terrerio Cultural Arts Center at 721 N. Mangum in Durham. Donations will be $8 for class. For more information please contact Yohance Bediako at (404) 484-6017

We at Shabutaso look forward to dancing with you this Sunday!

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ZAWADI- Custom Kwanzaa Gifts

ZAWADI- Custom Kwanzaa Gifts    gourds                                                                                                          

Baby Djembes                                                                                                     Various sizes and colors                                                                                                 $50

Thumb pianos                                                                                                          Various sizes, shapes and colors                                                                                     $25 – $60

CDs                                                                                                                 TASUMA- kora and balaphon music by Teli Shabu featuring Mabinti Shabu                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evpTPPxOPQ4                                                                 $8

Gift Certificates                                                                                                                 Private Djembe or Thumb Piano Lessons                                                                                              $25

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Shabutaso performs at Cary Kwanzaa December 29th, 2015

21st ANNUAL KWANZAA CELEBRATION

Theme: “Developing and Encouraging Our Youth”

Tuesday, December 29, 2015, 11 a.m – 5:00 p.m.

Kwanzaa 2015Shabutaso Inc.: The Magic of African Rhythms and the North Carolina Association of Black storytellers perform at the 21st Annual Kwanzaa Celebration in Cary Tuesday, December 29, 2015

CARY, NC – The Ujima Group, Inc. in partnership with the Town of Cary will host its 21st Kwanzaa Celebration at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Avenue located in downtown Cary, NC..

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Developing and Encouraging Our Youth” and will feature a performance by The Magic of African Rhythm and the North Carolina Association of Black storytellers. In the tradition of every Kwanzaa celebration there will be a procession of the elders and the Harambee Circle.

The celebration includes fun for the whole family including food, vendor market and craft activities for children. Kwanzaa is a community cultural celebration that highlights African-American heritage and family through seven values – unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

There will be fun and activities for the entire family — young and old. Doors open at 11:00 am for the vendor marketplace and Children’s Village. The program and performance begins promptly at 3:00 p.m.

The Town of Cary co-sponsors the Kwanzaa Celebration through the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department with The Ujima Group, Inc., a non-profit 501© community based organization that promotes cultural diversity through educational programs and the arts. For more information, please call Lester Thomas, 919 380-7020,email:leslthm@aol.com or The Cultural Arts Program Specialist, (919) 462-3963 or visit the Town’s website at www.townofcary.org,

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Teli Shabu releases TASUMA

I’ve been wanting to be this bold for the past 20 years. Releasing an album has taken so long because I’m always thinking my music is not ready, not perfect enough, not finished. I woke up this morning realizing that my music does no one any good sitting on my hard drive. I want my music to heal people of whatever ails them. Music is vibration. Spirit is vibration. Music is a conduit though which the body can connect and absorb universal healing energy. Music is not words; it’s not signs; it’s the language of the soul; it’s another way of communicating.

Teli Shabu on Kora

Teli Shabu on Kora

Enjoy, share…and stay tuned for:

The Healing Power of Music Series– talks, testimonials, information, and healing concert.

New E.P. Release from Teli Shabu- TASUMA – Kora music feat. the beautiful and amazing Mabinti Shabu on Balafon.
TASUMA is available on Itunes, Spotify, Amazonmusic, Googleplay, Tidal, and Youtube.

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October 6-Week Talking Drum Workshop

unnamedLast Saturday (9/12/15) Shabutaso was invited by BUMP: The Triangle to participate in a 2-hour family workshop entitled Talking Drums: Telling Our Stories. Shabutaso’s high energy performance ensemble opened with Balankora their dynamic duo performance of acoustic griot instruments: balan and kora. After a brief welcome by Executive Director of BUMP, Dr. Georgiary Bledsoe,  Shabutaso’s versatile musicians Teli and Mabinti Shabu picked up talking drums and began chatting with one another in drum language. After several pitched exchanges, the conversation was directed to the audience. Wide-eyed children and adults listened but were unable to understand and respond at first. Over and over again the talking drums tapped out the same phrases. Finally, one brave soul put her hands together and clapped out a response. And she was right! Soon the entire audience was clapping their hands, locked into a “call and response” pattern with the talking drums. The audience was hooked by the interaction and now a growing curiosity. Unfortunately exposure is the extent of most African diasporic community music experiences. But because of the strong collaboration between BUMP and Shabutaso, Teli and Aya Shabu took workshop participants deeper on a talking drum journey to discover the drum’s construction and how the talking drum learned to speak. There were several hands-on demonstrations illustrating the stretching of goat hide and weaving of rope to make a drum. Families made their own BUMP model talking drums and also took home an original story written by author Valine Zeigler. The day ended with a fiery Magic of African Rhythms performance again by Shabutaso singers, dancers, and musicians. Carter Cue, Standford L. Warren Librarian, joined the artists on stage during the audience participation segment. No one could dare say they were still hungry at the end of such a full day, as vegan soul food was made available by Vegan Flava Cafe.

Talking Drums: Telling Our Stories” provided a sneak preview of BUMP’s 6-week youth workshop starting Oct 3. Families who attended this event received a discount on the 6-week youth workshop. More info on the Oct youth workshop is available at BUMP: The Triangle.

The goal of BUMP Community Workshops is to affirm the cultural assets of youth in an environment of engaged community, and to celebrate African Diasporic musical heritage. Through activities designed for ALL ages, participants will learn from scholars, educators, performers and each other. Come. Learn. Share.

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte Welcomes Us Back

OUR SUMMER TRAVELS have taken the Shabus all along the East Coast: Cambridge (MA), Manhattan and D.C. We loved the Boston Salsa Festival, the ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty to Governor’s Island, and Woodlands serving up the best vegan food outside of Durham. However, the Smithsonian National Museum of History captured our attention for TWO full days. We were fascinated by aquatic animals that produce light in order to make their bodies “disappear”, the evolution of the Arctic polar bear from a forest brown bear, and the Human Origins exhibit (mind-blowing and a little scary). I am reminded of how many cool museum treasures North Carolina has. Durham’s Museum of Life and Science is right in our backyard and is our favorite; it is ever expanding. I’m looking forward to “losing” myself in the newly constructed HideAway Woods. While I can easily become a young child again bounding between exhibits, what must it be like to really be a kid again with so much information and fun at their finger tips.

Performance at S.W. Snowden School, Beaufort County, NCChildren’s Theatre of Charlotte is another one of those places teeming with childhood wonder. Every so often, I am bowled over by the realization that as professional artists we get be a part of creating childhood magic. 2009 was our first CTC performance and we returned a few years later to the welcoming “whoops” and “hollers” of  Mecklenburg County school children. This January 2016, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte welcomes us back to the stage for a exciting week of school shows and TWO public evening-length performances featuring new fiery choreography making it’s world premiere. We are so excited to work with new material, new artists, and long-time beloved musician-friends returning for just such an occasion.

I wonder, who will be having the most fun this time, the audience or the magicians on the stage?

 

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The Best Kwanzaa Yet

Teli runs kids' drum circle at KwanzaaFest 2014

Teli runs kids’ drum circle at KwanzaaFest 2014

“This was the best Kwanzaa season yet!” my husband Teli beamed after returning home from an evening at Holton Resource and Career Center. I too felt the totality of the holiday. The Magic of African Rhythm wore many hats during the week-long celebration.

Since moving to NC in 2003, the Hayti Heritage Center has remained my foundation of black culture in Durham, given its history.  I can’t imagine Kwanzaa without an event at the Hayti. It was an honor to step up as the organizer of their annual Hayti Heritage Kwanzaa celebration but mainly to serve my community and see the joy on their faces.

Known in the community as “Baba Teli”,  led the drummers and the procession of elders guided by Baba Chuck Davis at Holton’s Kwanzaa celebration. Unlike last year where both Teli and I performed while sick with the flu last Kwanzaa season, it was pure joy to watch Teli on stage this year. As the duo Balankora, Teli played kora and his sister Mabinti Shabu played  balaphon, both traditional griot instruments. Griots are the name for oral historians in Francophone Africa. But the highlight was when jazz trumpeter and arranger Al Strong invited Teli on stage, calling him “one of the baddest drummers I know”.

Teli putting head on a djembe

Teli putting head on a djembe

Every year, the seven-day Kwanzaa celebration culminates at the Durham Armory with KwanzaaFest hosted again by Baba Chuck Davis and The African American Dance Ensemble. Ezibu Muntu, a Virginia-based dance and drum ensemble, raised the roof off the armory this year. Their ranks have swelled with new hungry young drummers powering the dancers’ feet. Teli and I were in our glory. This time not as organizers or performers, but as a vendors. Teli had just released Balankora’s first album, not quite an EP, just three songs, but potent enough to call it “One Dose”. Our son Delacey was invaluable help that final day arranging our business cards, cds and a listening station. The Magic of African Rhythm also had an assortment of different shaped and sized mbiras for sale. Mbiras are commonly known as thumb pianos. Teli hand-makes these music boxes and has even customized them for child-sized hands as well because anyone can make these instruments sing.

My friends’ mother from California has been celebrating Kwanzaa for over 30 years. She shared with us the first traditions of families coming over to one another’s homes and sharing a feast (karamu). Our cohort of seven or so families have been honoring this part of Kwanzaa’s tradition for the past five years. Each family hosts a night and it’s accompanying Nguzo Saba, or Kwanzaa Principle. Ujima [Collective Works and Responsibility] was our night. We crowded around the kinara lit with flaming candles as we sang “Oh, oh oh. Joy has come to the earth today. Let’s celebrate. Our heritage. Our togetherness.”

Mabinti practicing balaphon for Kwanzaa

Mabinti practicing balaphon for Kwanzaa

“This was the best Kwanzaa season yet!” I agreed  with Teli and thought about the fullness of our lives this past year. As a family we had completed a 10 week no- sugar candida diet. As a couple we had fasted during the Winter Solstice. My yoga practice has been disciplined and I have more peace in my life as a result. And Teli was still riding the high from his 2013-2014 Emerging Artist Grant Award. We closed out 2014 with a lot to be thankful for.