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In the spring of 2007, students at Kent Center School had the opportunity to take a musical journey through the African Diaspora with the group Sankofa Kuumba.  This was the culminating event in a two-year emphasis on dance sponsored by ArtsAlive.



Members of Sankofa Kuumba shared with students some cultural values from African communities, such as respect for elders.  They demonstrated drumming and dancing.  Students learned about some of the stops along the journey as Africans were removed from their homes to places in Europe, Trinidad and the United States.

Several classes prepared for the presentation in advance.  For example, the kindergarten students learned a song about the continents.  Click here if you would like to hear their song.
The Continents Song

Students in French classes visited web sites from francophone countries in Africa and learned about the tradition of the griot, a professional oral historian.  They learned about various instruments used in traditional African music, about the origins of their names, and listened to clips of musicians playing.  Cassandra, a fifth grader, did these sketches of the beautiful stringed instrument, the kora, and of the percussion instrument known as the skekere.
During the performance, students were actively involved in call and response chants, in keeping rhythm to the drum beat, and in dancing to the energizing music.  Even teachers participated in one dance to the delight of the students.

After the presentation, students in several classes wrote thank you notes to ArtsAlive or to the performers from Sankofa Kuumba.  Here is the letter from Mrs. Hurlbutt’s class.