Last 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.