For the past 25 years, the second Saturday in June, this year, June 9, has been hailed as a day to remember the ancestors. What is significant about this day is that throughout the world African ancestors are being revered simultaneously. In Pacific time zone, that means we are pouring at 9 AM sharp. In Central or Mountain time, 11 AM sharp and Atlantic or Eastern time zone it is 12 noon sharp!
In other parts of the world our morning will be their evening, but we’ll all be in the same day (smile). Though community is important, especially for African people, if you are not able to get to a gathering or cannot host one of your own or are on the move, stop at the designated time and pour libations on the roadside, if necessary. . . . Join us in spirit and at the least pour thanks from your heart then, now and forever more.
Tomorrow throughout the African Diaspora in the Americas and beyond, Pan African people lift the names of ancestors who made the journey across the Atlantic and those who died aboard those slave ships. We are joined in the studio by: Sisters Deborah Wright (Charleston, SC), Chadra Pittman Walke (Hampton, Virginia), Afua N’Diaye (Seattle, WA), Kefentse Chike (Detroit, MI), and Dr. ChenziRa Davis Kahina (Virgin Islands); Brothers Osei Terry Chandler (Charleston, SC) and Azikiwe Chandler (Charleston, SC); and host: Wanda Sabir (Oakland, CA).
Dr. ChenziRa Davis Kahina of the Per Ankh community organization is well known on St. Croix as “Dr. Chen” for her years of tirelessly promoting the spiritual and cultural connections between Caribbean and African people, heritage, exposing youth to traditional art, dance, healing and an alternative spiritual path.
Chadra Pittman Walke, of the Hampton, Virginia Remembrance describes herself as Mother, Anthropologist, Writer, Dancer, Advocate. Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Chadra holds a BA in Anthropology and minor in African American studies from George Mason University.
Chadra worked at the African Burial Ground Project as Public Educator and Media Coordinator and has been published under the American Anthropological Association.
Deborah Wright, of the Charleston, South Carolina Remembrance, is a native of South Carolina but was raised in New York. Deborah regards herself as a Pan Africanist and currently works at the Avery Research for African American History and Culture. In her spare times, she is an avid reader and designs African inspired jewelery.
Azikiwe Chandler. University of Notre Dame, B.A. Zik is a widely traveled educator and expedition leader from Charleston, South Carolina. He majored in Architecture at Notre Dame, where he received the Student Leader Award for outstanding contributions to the university. Upon graduating he joined AmeriCorps-NCCC, serving as a team leader in South Carolina and Denver and as a selection and placement officer in that organization’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. Zik subsequently spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bluefields, Nicaragua, where his focus was at-risk youth development. Visit www.AzikiweChandler.com
In the past 42 years, Afua N’Diaye has been an integral part of keeping cultural arts and entertainment vibrant in the Pacific Northwest and abroad. She is dedicated to the community and viewed as a leader of cultural arts. In 1986 she co-founded the Adefua African Music & Dance Company, a company that provides cultural entertainment to the general public. Moving on up in 1994 Adefua became non-profit while opening doors of culture and becoming known nationally for preserving our rich gregarious rhythms rooted in African tribal and Ancient court dances presenting traditional West African music, dancing and song to many bridging the gaps to our youth, then back to the workplace annually for 27 years employing hundreds of artist on stage.
The beat of the drum is a common thread across all cultures and provides a way in which people can embrace and appreciate African culture through education and performance. In 2002 she became a Washington State Certified therapeutic counselor and in 2002 she received her Certificate of Achievement in Teacher Education. These educational achievements allow her to offer a vessel for every k-12 grade student to experience Africa and utilize edutainment through music, song and dance. Visit www.planetafua.com or www.adefua.org
Wanda Sabir is CEO and co-founder of Maafa San Francisco Bay Area, hosts a bi-weekly radio show, is arts editor for the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper, and is a full-time college professor. Visit www.maafasfbayarea.com
We conclude with conversations with choreographers and leaders of ensembles performing at the 34th Annual Ethnic Jazz Festival: Shabnam (Middle Eastern Belly Dance Fusion), Pedro De Rompe y Raja Cultural Association (Afro-Peruvian), Julia Chigambe from Chinyakare Ensemble (Zimbabwean Traditional). Visit http://www.worldartswest.org/main/edf_index.asp
We close with a prerecorded interview with Vijay Iyer, his latest release: “Accelerando.” The artist was at home in New York when we spoke about his latest work with his trio featuring: Iyer on piano, Stephan Crump on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. Iyer will be here for the 14th Annual Headsburg Jazz Festival, June 1-10, 2012. Visit http://www.healdsburgjazzfestival.org/wordpress/
Music: “Spirit of the Dead” from Sankofa dir. Haile Gerima; Nawal’s “Hima,” Judith Sephuma’s “Le Tshephile Mang,” and “Tanzania” courtesy of Chinyakare Ensemble.
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